Playing from the Mississippi straddle, bottom set, value-betting the river
Preflop: It’s a $5-$5-$10 game with a Mississippi straddle. You ($4,100) are dealt the A 4 3 3 on the button straddle. Both blinds fold. A middle-position, tough player ($2,500) limps in. The cutoff ($500) limps in.
1. You should:
Action: You check.
Flop ($40): K 7 3. The first player checks. The cutoff bets $40.
2. You should:
Action: You call, and the middle-position player calls.
Turn ($160): 9. Both opponents check.
3. You should:
Action: You bet $160, and both opponents call.
River ($640): J. Both opponents check.
4. You should:
b. Bet $100-$150
c. Bet $300-$400
d. Bet $500-$640
Grades and Analysis
1. a (10), b (0). You have a very speculative hand that wants to see a cheap flop. Take it.
2. a (2), b (10), c (0). Bottom set is a small-pot hand. That said, you have too much hand to fold for one bet from a player in a steal position (the cutoff). Meanwhile, raising is incorrect, as you are likely to draw action only from hands from which you don’t necessarily want a lot of action (top or middle set, or the inside wrap).
3. a (0), b (10). The coast is clear to bet your hand. Neither opponent appears to have much; if you get check-raised by the middle-position player, you get check-raised.
4. a (8), b (5), c (10), d (2). Checking and showing down on a board with two possible straights on it is OK. However, it is unlikely that either opponent has a straight, given that both players have checked the river, and that the straight draws available on the flop did not hit. On the other hand, it is unlikely that both opponents were drawing to the inside wrap; therefore, it is likely that one of them has something to call you with if you bet.
The next question is how much to bet. A token bet of $100-$150 might do the trick, but you can probably do better. Conveniently, the cutoff has only about $290 left. That said, a bet in the $300-$400 range would be about half the pot, which is both enough to cover the cutoff and about the right size to look like a follow-through bet if the other player has something.
A big bet in the $500-$640 range isn’t necessarily wrong, but it might be a little too much for a thin value-bet.
In the actual hand, I bet $300. The middle-position player folded, but the cutoff called all in, and my set of threes was good.
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