Poker strategy with Jonathan Little: Get no value on the turn


Jonathan Small If you want to improve your poker skills and learn how to dominate the games, check out Jonathan Little’s elite training site at

I was recently told of a hand by a serious recreational poker player that illustrates some key mistakes many players make on a regular basis.

In a $2-$5 no-limit hold’em cash game, our Hero raised to $30 from his $200 effective stack with AHeart dress jHeart dress.

While I’m fine with raising AHeart dress jHeart dress, Hero should use a smaller reroll size. When he makes $30 with his relatively small $200 stack, unless opponents are extreme calling stations, he will be called mostly by better hands than his own, as well as hands that have a strong probability of improving to the best hand. flop.

If he raises smaller, he can be called by many smaller hands that he dominates. Realize that just because many players in small and medium-stakes games raise big doesn’t mean you have to.

The small blind, known to be a calling station, called. The flop was ASuit in spades 4Heart dress 3Club dress. His opponent checked and Hero bet $50 from his $170 stack into the $65 pot.

I despise this bet size because again, unless the opponent is a call station, he will fold most of his marginal hands, which are the exact hands Hero wants to keep in the pot. Instead, Hero should bet roughly $20, which will result in opponent calling with many more junky hands who are nearly losing a draw against Hero’s top pair. Realize that even if the opponent is a call station, he won’t call a $50 bet with trash like KJ.

The opponent called. The turn was the JClub dress and both players checked.

This is an interesting point because the pot has grown to $165 and Hero has only $120 left in his stack. Since his opponent called Hero’s big flop bet, it’s reasonable to assume that his range is mostly decent aces. In that case, Hero should go all-in to get value from those hands before the board gets much scarier, like when the river is five, two or third clubs.

Betting small is also an option if Hero thinks the opponent will call with a small bet with all sorts of junk, like K-4.

The only time the check makes sense is if Hero thinks his opponent’s range is extremely weak because he rarely folds the flop with a reasonable hand, but that’s probably not the case due to the large bet on the flop.

The river was 2Heart dress. His opponent put Hero all-in for $120.

While the deuce is a decently bad card for Hero because he now loses to all hands containing a five, he should probably call against the loose and flashy opponent.

It’s important to realize that Hero should have relatively few fives in his range, meaning his best hands are sets and two pair. If Hero folds top two pair in this situation, he folds almost every hand he may have. If you’re up against someone who folds almost all of his range to a river bet, all you have to do is bet all of your possible hands, winning the pot almost every time.

The hero called and lost to his opponent’s 5Suit in spades 5Heart dressa straight on the river.

While Hero was likely going to lose this hand, he would have gotten a lot more money into the pot as a substantial favorite by betting the turn. ♠

Jonathan Little is a two-timer WPT champion with over $7 million in live tournament earnings, best-selling author of 15 poker educational books and 2019 GPI extension Poker Personality of the Year. If you want to boost your poker skills and learn how to crush games, check out his training site at

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