Slow Playing Pocket Queens on a Scary Board

Slow Playing Pocket Queens on a Scary Board

With the blinds 75/150, I was on the button with a stack of 18,000 when I raised to 400 after being dealt {q-Diamonds}{q-Spades}. The small blind who had about 21,000 to start three-bet to 1,200 and the big blind folded.

My hand was certainly big enough to four-bet, though here I chose just to call and the flop came {6-Hearts}{5-Hearts}{2-Clubs}.

My opponent led with a small bet of 1,050 (a little over 40 percent of the pot), and I just called, bringing the pot to 4,650.

The turn brought the {3-Diamonds}, making the board even more coordinated although in truth there weren't many hands containing a four my opponent could have here. He checked this time, I bet 1,600, and my opponent called, making the pot 7,850.

The river was the {8-Hearts}, putting a third heart on the board, and the small blind checked again. As I discuss below, I want to value bet here, but need to decide what would be the best size to bet in order to get my opponent to call with a hand I beat.

Listen to my analysis of the situation below and see how things played out:

As I explain, this is a spot where betting small makes sense, as bigger bets are only going to be called by hands that beat us. As it happens, I did bet a little bigger than I probably should have, and it turned out I was beat, although I still think it was a decent spot to go for value. How would you have played that river after the small blind checked?

Jonathan Little is a professional poker player and author with over $6,700,000 in live tournament earnings. He writes a weekly educational blog and hosts a podcast at You can follow him on Twitter @JonathanLittle.

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