Can my opponent be overplaying something

You should always consider what your opponent may be overplaying when you get raised and hold a strong hand. 

One of th...

Posted Oct 05, 2015


Bart Hanson BW2

Bart Hanson

Owner and Lead Pro

You should always consider what your opponent may be overplaying when you get raised and hold a strong hand. 

One of the more interesting spots that you can get into when playing No Limit Holdem is when you have what you think is a strong hand, especially on the turn, facing a raise. I have trained myself in these situations to always firstly think when I may be scared of the nuts, "What other hand can my opponent be overplaying"? 

On one of's podcasts, Crush Live Call-ins, which streams live on the CrushLivePoker channel on Twitch, every Monday at 7:45PM ET, I had a caller discuss a hand in which he flopped bottom set out of the big blind. This was a $5-5 NL game with a $300-$500 buy in but the stacks in this particular hand were fairly deep. It got limped around three ways preflop and my student checked in the small blind with 4 4, $1200 deep. The BB, with $1400, decided to raise to $30, and all of the limpers called, over $1k effective. The hero in the hand also called and they all saw the pot four ways. The board came out 8 5 4 giving the hero in the hand bottom set. The hero checked, as did the BB and it got checked around. The turn was the K, completing the rainbow. Now the hero came out and bet $75. The preflop raiser folded as did the player next to act and the second limper raised to $190. The action got back around to the hero and he was confused as to what to do.

Even holding bottom set here, there are three specific hands that beat him—higher sets and a flopped straight. If I was in his position and got raised on the turn the first thing that would pop into my head would be “Can my opponent be overplaying something”? Here, we can assume a reasonable range preflop because of the limp and the call of $30 by the villain. The only hands that we are really ahead of here are kings up and AK, neither of which are likely. Remember, the villain in the hand limped then called so a hand like K8, or K6 suited is highly unlikely, and specifically with K8 the player most likely would have bet the flop when the preflop raiser checked to him. It is possible that he could have AK but again he was the second limper in the hand preflop and has to have at least some frequency of raising before the flop with that holding. So when you look at the possibilities of overplaying the only hand that could make sense is AK. More often than not the hero is beaten.

But that is not to say that the hero cannot call the turn raise. Obviously we have equity with implied odds vs the most likely slowplayed hand on the flop, which is a straight. But to three-bet the turn to get it in would be a drastic overplay. So, the hero called. The river brought out a T and the hero checked once again. This time the villain in the hand absolutely bombed the river to the tune of $400. Even though that bet sizing only represents 75% of the pot, in live poker, and at this level the more absolute size of the bet is relevant—and here it is big. There just are not enough hands that our opponents would overplay here as there is almost no possibility that he would go for this sizing with AK at the end. He must have pocket 5s, pocket 8s or 67. In this spot we need to make a tough fold. Unfortunately for the hero he called down and was shown 67s.

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