Playing Tight Multiway is a Winning Approach

Look for hands that have good backdoor properties when calling next to act multiway against a preflop continuation bettor and you must play tighter in all situations when there are multiple opponents left to act.

Posted Oct 17, 2021


Bart Hanson BW2

Bart Hanson

Owner and Lead Pro

You will often find yourself in multiway scenarios at the mid to low stakes levels of live No Limit Hold'em. When we’re up against multiple hands it can sometimes be difficult to navigate, post flop, especially for players that do not have a lot of experience. In this article we’ll look at a hand played by a Crush Live Poker member and see if he made the right decisions multiway with a medium strength holding.

Before we dive into deeper analysis, let's take a quick look at how the hand played out..

Hand Breakdown: $2/$5 No Limit

UTG raises to $20, Hero calls in the LJ with A 9 SB and BB call.

The flop is 5 9 7 ($80).

UTG bets $60, Hero calls. SB and BB fold.

The turn is the J ($200).

UTG bets $170, Hero calls.

The river is the 5 ($540).

UTG shoves all in for $350 effective.

Preflop Dynamics and Analysis:

The game is described by our Hero as pretty splashy with lots of multiway pots and marginal preflop holdings. The Under the Gun (UTG) player (our Villain in this hand) had just sat down at the table, looked at his cards then raised to $20. Hero has A 9 in the (LJ) and calls. A 3-bet would work well here with a suited ace, and some players might opt to either 3-bet or fold this hand against an UTG open. Folding is the nitty option, but if you think you have an edge over the field (or at least the UTG opener) either a call or a 3-bet is acceptable. The blinds call as well and we’re off to see a four-way flop.

Flop Analysis:

Hero flops top pair, top kicker on 9 7 5 ($80) and faces a large 3/4 pot c-bet from the UTG preflop raiser. This large c-bet really doesn’t really make any sense, as this board is bad for any standard UTG opening range. Assuming that this player isn’t aware of how his range should be continuing on this board, we can guess that this large c-bet is a pretty clear indication of strength. UTG can have all overpairs, some sets and nut/second nut flush draws and he’s really telegraphing his strength with an unorthodox c-bet sizing.

Although we do have top pair, top kicker we have no backdoor draws to make a stronger hand on future streets, and any ten through king will turn our top pair into second pair. We also have to consider that Villain is betting 3/4 pot into 3 opponents, all of whom have strong ranges on this flop texture. When facing aggression in multiway scenarios we have to be very tight with our continuing range, because betting large into 3 opponents signals a lot of strength. Hero has a close decision here, and it’s hard to fault calling a c-bet with top pair, but in this specific scenario a fold might be a slightly better decision. Nevertheless, Hero makes the call and we’re off to see a turn card heads-up.

Turn Analysis:

The turn is the J ($200) and UTG fires again for $170. This is a strange bet from Villain, he could have a hand like a K T that picked up additional equity, but he’s mainly weighted towards value given the fact that bet big into three players on the flop and is now betting almost full pot on the turn. When we’re facing aggression with a marginal made hand like second pair, we have to start thinking about what parts of our range we want to fold out. Our sets will obviously continue, as will any two pair (J9s) or straight combos (68s, T8s) we might have. We can have some straight draws and flush draws that have now hit a jack, so we can continue with those as well. This gives us a lot of hands to call with, we really don’t need to defend every 9x hand here to a near full pot turn bet. Given the fact that T9 and 98 make better calls than A9, Hero should probably be folding this turn.

River Analysis:

There is a common misconception that when you call the turn and the river is a brick you have to call a bet again, since the board texture hasn’t changed. The river is the 5 ($540), which is a relative brick, and Villain shoves all in for $350 effective. The problem with this line of thinking what is that you aren’t considering all of the information available. You have to take the betting patterns into account as well--what is Villain representing here when he triple barrels?

If you had prior information on the Villain that led you to believe he was polarized, you could make a hero call given the fact that you’re getting 3 to 1 and the flush draw bricked. His betting action doesn’t make a ton of sense with overpairs so we really just have to evaluate this river with the available information. What started as a hand that the Hero should have folded on the flop or turn has led to a very precarious situation. However, the Hero does end up making the call and the Villain turns over 8 8 for the semi-bluff and Hero scoops the pot.


While the Hero ended up being correct in this hand, the question remains whether he should have folded sooner, given the level of aggression the Villain showed multiway across multiple streets. We have better 9x holdings like 98 and T8 that can improve to a straight to call with here and A9 is simply not a strong to call these large bet sizes across to the river.

You should tighten up your calling range multiway since the strength marginal value hands go way down when facing multiple opponents. Villain shouldn’t be betting 3/4 pot on the flop to begin with and doing so with three other opponents in the hand is a bold display of strength. Be cautious in multiway scenarios and remember that you don’t always have to call top pair just because it’s top pair.

If you enjoyed this hand analysis and would like to listen to the full clip from the Call-In Show, you can check it out on the Crush Live Poker YouTube Channel by clicking on the link here.

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