Playing QQ on a threatening board
I was playing in a short handed $1/2 NL holdem when the following hand came up. I had only played a few hands and didn't have a good read of any of my opponents yet.
My question is how to proceed on the river? My two main options were check-call or bet-fold.
Thanks for a great site!
$1/2 Texas Hold'em (No Limit)
Seat 2: Me ($212)
Seat 3: MikeG ($322)
Seat 5: KingIke ($225)
Seat 1: claus345 ($177)
claus345 post SB $1
Me post BB $2
** Deal **
*** Pre-flop ***
KingIke Raise to $8
Me Raise to $28
KingIke Call $28
*** Flop(Board): *** : [9s,Th,Kd]
Me Bet $35
KingIke Call $35
*** Turn(Board): *** : [9s,Th,Kd,9c]
*** River(Board): *** : [9s,Th,Kd,9c,Ks]
Our expert assessment
Glad to hear that you like our site. That's quite an interesting situation you are facing in this hand.
I agree that your two best options probably are check-call or bet-fold on the river. Let's break it down.
Your opponent can call your flop bet with a wide variety of hands, but his check on the turn narrows it down quite a bit.
You're in a real tough spot on the turn. You don't know much about his hand and your position makes it hard. There are many possible holdings that will have you beat. By checking the turn you keep the pot down, but you also give away the initiative. The question is what you do if your opponent makes a substantial bet here?
With a hand like QJ or Kx he would most likely bet the turn when you check. It's also a decent spot to bluff when you show weakness by checking. But your opponent's check on the turn makes things look much brighter and it's possible to make a qualified guess of his holdings.
To call the flop and check the turn makes me believe that he holds something like AT or JJ. He could also be sitting on a hand like 78s or AQ, but that's less likely. So back to your original question: how should you act on the river?
Last card doesn't change much
My first thought was that you should check-call. But after thinking it through I don't believe that's your best option. There are very few hands your opponent will value bet with that you can beat and the chance to induce a bluff seems slim. The last card doesn't really change that much and if your opponent was going to bluff it would probably have happened on the turn.
Your best bet
In my opinion your best option is to bet-fold. There is a good chance that you will get called by hands like JJ Tx and even Ax. So you are betting for value. If you get raised you have a pretty sure fold. You need to be up against a real good opponent in order to get re-raised in this spot on a pure bluff.
A real interesting hand, I'm curious to hear how it played out in the end.