Maxamizing value when you back into a hand

Often times you should bet or raise large when you back into a hand that you perceive to be the nuts.We all know that ba...

Posted Apr 06, 2015


Bart Hanson BW2

Bart Hanson

Owner and Lead Pro

Often times you should bet or raise large when you back into a hand that you perceive to be the nuts.

We all know that backdoor draws are very profitable in no limit holdem. Especially if you have been the preflop raiser it can sometimes be difficult for your opponent to see when you make a strong, backdoor hand, especially after continuation betting the flop and then checking the turn.

One of the best situations you can have happen to you is backing into a set that is lower than top pair on the river or backing into a straight. Backing into a flush is valuable too but most opponents will see a three flush on the board and if you raise their river bet large they may think twice about calling with a hand like top pair. However if you run into something else strong and they bet on the river you can really pound them and almost always expect them to call.

This type of situation occurred to me recently while playing at the Commerce Casino’s $5-10 NL game. The action got folded to me on the button and I raised to $35 with 7 7. The small blind in the hand had been playing rather loose preflop but had been making some impressive thin value bets on rivers. He called, as well as the big blind. We all had about $1700 and saw a J 2 3 flop. The action got checked to me and I decided to make a protection/value bet of $55. The small blind called rather quickly and the big blind got out of the way. The turn was the 9, completing the rainbow and the small blind checked once again. I thought that this spot was kind of close as I likely would not get a J to fold and did not want a hand like a smaller pocket pair, or ace hi to fold, especially if this opponent was capable of bluffing the river. You could certainly make the case for betting here sometimes but I decided to check. The river brought in the beautiful 7, giving me a very hidden set and my opponent bet $165. I took a look at the board and analyzed the situation. There was literally no way that I could not have had the best hand as I thought that this player would definitely reraise with pocket jacks or pocket nines preflop. I also thought that if I raised the river large my hand would be confusing to my opponent as I would be representing an extremely thin range—maybe even just 77.

I have seen other players make big sizing mistakes in similar situations to this only raising to maybe $375 to ensure a call. However, in this case, I thought that I should raise a very large amount and made it $600. My opponent thought for about 20-30 seconds and called with J 9. After he tabled the hand I had wished that I had moved all-in. There was no way I could have known that he had top two pair but I doubt seriously that he would have found a fold with any jack.

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