Late stage single table Tourney - 5 handed - hand 1

Strategy & Advice by ShadowPoker Posted

5 handed $2,560 / $1,280 - paying 3 spots

SB $377,280 - playing tight
BB $70,800 - playing loose aggressive - all in a lot
Hero button $82,320

Pre flop

action folds to Hero with QTc

normally this is a raise, howe ever BB has been going all in almost every hand, so the point here is to get in cheaply if possible. If BB goes all in, its an easy fold with minimal loss.

Hero limps - SB completes - BB checks

POT - $7,680

Flop - 9d6s4s

Folds to hero, here has no hand and its a somewhat scary board.
what should hero do?

1 - should hero fold? No, that doesn't make any sense as its a free turn

2 - should hero bet? Hero could take a stab at it as nobody has shown any interest but hero would loose free turn card and either of the other two could bluff raise with any two cards (especially BB). drawing hands are not going to fold here, so its probably better to wait until the turn, see if their hands hit and if not decide if a bet there is a good idea

3 - should hero check? No danger here, gets to see the next card free which could give him the best hand or a draw to a straight. letting them check again on the turn would also give hero more information about the strength of their hands.

seems like a check is the best choice here (make sure to mix up your play, there are different ways to make sure you do this without depending upon your memory)

Hero checks

Turn - Jh (9d6s4sJh)

doesn't complete any draws and its folded to Hero.

1 - should hero fold? no same reasoning as flop

2 - should hero bet? betting is starting to make sense, no one has shown any interest on two streets, they are probably very weak or have a flush draw - possibly a straight draw. its possible hero could take it down with a small bet, you also have some value here with the straight draw.

3 - should her check? checking here is very passive, it tells them that you weren't slow playing and have nothing as well, opening them up to a bluff on the river. since you don't have a hand, that's not a good thing.

looks like a good betting spot, the J can be used as a bluff card as well. so how much of a bet?

the pot is $7,680, stack sizes are much higher, hero is just looking to make a small stab here to take it down cheaply. if somebody is slow playing they won't get much, if they have a draw, they are going to call even if you bet large. seems like a smaller bet is whats needed here, anyone calling is basically screaming they have a drawing hand / weak hand

Hero bets min, $2,560 - 1/3 bet only has to win 25% of the time here

SB calls and the BB folds

River - 2c ($12,800) - (9d6s4sJh2c)

hands that would have called that the 2c would have helped? X2 / x2, 35, and 22. no other hands are helped. any of these are in the range of potential hands SB could have.

SB checks

Unless SB is playing some very strange slow play, this card missed his hand, more likely he was on a flush draw, had to over cards or very weak pair. he is either opening you check behind or is slow playing a big hand.

Hero has Q high and has shown the only aggression in the hand.

1) fold? - ridiculous unless you want to hide the hands you are playing for image
2) check? - weak, will loose the majority of the time to a bigger high card or weak made hand
3) bet?
i) are there weaker hands that will call? - only if they want to see your hand
ii) are there stronger hands that will fold? - absolutely, any higher cards, weak pairs
looks like a toss up, usually being the aggressor is the better choice as it gives your opponent a chance to make a mistake.

how much to bet?

1/4 pot? missed hands may fold here
1/2 pot? weak made hands may fold here
3/4 pot? mid pairs may fold here (remember hero represented a weak J)
pot? no different than 3/4 pot raise

two final questions
1) what will SB think hero has based on the betting so far? - probably a weak J or a middle pair
2) what will hero do if SB raises his bet? two options, fold or reraise, folding is probably best bet, the pot is small and not worth a reraise bluff.

What should Hero do? If betting, how much?

Will post results after some responses.

Last Edited:


  1. I tried posting a response a couple days ago, but apparently that didn't work.

    I hate your limp; I think it is a huge mistake and is going to cost you a lot of value in the long run. You have an above-average hand against 2 blinds that can literally have any 2 cards. Your stack is still above 30 big blinds and you didn't post that there are antes. So, raise and take the lead in the hand. If you make it 7,500 to go, then you can get folds from a lot of weaker cards and you get to play the hand in position. You say that the big blind had been shoving almost every hand. So, what? When you raise, he doesn't know that you have Q-10 suited, you could have AA. And if he has been shoving "almost every hand" then Q-10 suited is well above his range -- it's actually a 60-40 favorite against a random hand. So, if you raise and he shoves, you snap call him. If he wakes up with a big hand, then too bad in that particular spot; but, you still made the correct play strategically and that is what will make you a winning player in the long run. On the other hand, if you raise and the tight player in the small blind calls, then you have gotten information on his hand -- namely that it's pretty strong (probably a lot stronger than Q-10, since he is tight). And if you raise to 7,500 and fold, you still have a playable stack of about 25 big blinds.

    Besides, as played, you limped for 2,560, then bet 2,560 on the turn. Now, on the river you are thinking about bluffing something like 6,000 as a bluff with just Q high against a big stack who you have said is a tight player. In other words, you risked more taking this line than if you raised to 7,500 preflop and decided to fold to a shove or if you shut down after being called by the tight player in the small blind. In addition, by just limping, betting the turn and bluffing the river, the only chance you have to win is if your opponent folds. If you raised preflop you can win if they both fold, or you can actually flop a hand, or you can win if they check to you on the flop, you C-bet and then they fold.

    On Flop
    Since you showed no strength preflop and your opponents could literally have any 2 cards, I think a check is fine.

    On Turn
    Your bet is too small. You are correct they are probably very weak or have a draw. Also remember some "weak" hands actually beat you right now, like K-2 offsuit. So, you are trying to accomplish 2 things with a bet on the turn
    1) Get "weak" hands that beat you to fold
    2) Give a straight draw or flush draw the wrong odds to call and chase their draw.

    Betting the minimum will likely accomplish #1 but does not give draw the wrong odds. They are going to hit a straight about 1 time in 4 and a flush about 30% of the time. You gave them 4 to 1 odds to call, so they are getting the right price to chase the draws.

    If you bet 4,000 and they call, then you gave them the wrong price and they made a mistake even if they get lucky and hit their draw. The reason is that if you keep giving opponents the wrong odds to chase and they do, then they don't win enough when they get lucky and hit their draws to make up for the money that they lose when they miss. So, in the long run you win more than you lose.

    On River
    Don't bet.
    You've said he is a tight player, but this tight player called your bet on the turn. That indicates some strength, especially on a draw heavy board. But, because you bet too small on the turn, a good tight player could still be chasing draws. So, at this point we are guessing, does he have a pair or was he chasing a draw?

    If he had a draw, then you beat any of his hands, except a flush draw with an ace or king of spades -- and honestly I think a lot of those hands would have bet out on the flop. If he had a pair on the turn, then he liked his hand enough to call you even when there were a lot of draws possible. Now, the river missed all though draws (except 3-5). At this point, I have to think he really likes his hand. Plus, he has a big stack and can "afford" a call. So, I think you are going to get called a very high percentage of the time. In other words, you are going to get folds mostly from hands that you beat and calls mostly from hands that beat you. So, betting is a recipe for going broke.

    There were chances to be aggressive in this hand (preflop and on turn) but as played you missed both of those chances. So, check and move on to the next hand.


  2. @Dap Poker great analysis dap!

    Hero bet $5,120 and the SB folded. Hero put SB on a high chance of folding here and in case he did have a hand he kept it a smaller bet.

  3. @ShadowPoker - it sounds like you had fairly good reads on those opponents. In a case like that, then you can and should utilize that information. But, just be careful that you are only doing that when you are really comfortable with how those opponents play.