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Keeping the pot small with Top Pair

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  • Keeping the pot small with Top Pair

    Hello folks!

    As I delve deeper into Poker knowledge, many questions arise and I find myself unsure of how to answer them. I'm playing micro stakes thanks to the PSO Bankroll Builder promotion. I'm proud to say that I've tripled up my starting $8.00, not so proud to admit I gave a few "bad beats" in the process, like going all in with AKs against KK and A3o (yes, there was a donk on the table, which is why I 4-bet shoved expecting the 3-better, who was a reg but would also be 3-betting light because the donk was raising every pot, to fold). He called and I flopped THE NUTS. Took home about 7 dollars worth of profit for the suckout.

    Anyway, I am having trouble keeping the pot small with top pair at these stakes. Players seem willing to get all their chips in the middle once they flop top pair with even a middle kicker like KJ on a K32 board. This leads to the problem that if I have AK on that board, I can't tell the difference from the times when they have hands like KQ, KJ and even KT and the times when they have a set of 3s or 2s. It's one of those situations you guys talk about: way ahead or way behind. Do I check top pair in these situations to keep the pot small or do I bet for value and risk getting all or most of my chips in the middle by the river? I know I could and should bet small, but if I bet and get raised (which they WILL DO with Top Pair), do I fold what is possibly the best hand?

    Another situation that has gotten me thinking is almost the same on a wet board. I'm supposed to protect my top pair by betting big in case my opponents are drawing. But let's suppose that the villain calls me even though the odds aren't in his favor (which in micro stakes is 99% of the time). Even if the next card is a blank, they'll call another pot-sized bet on the turn, if you've ever played the small stakes, you know this. The thing is that they'll make the same move with sets too. If I don't bet, I'm giving a free card, and if I do, I'm bloating the pot with a marginal hand. What's the solution here?

    Thanks again!

  • #2
    At those stakes how often does top pair with a strong kicker win at showdown?

    Poker is situational. Cards matter only at showdown. When a lot of hands go to the end you need to have the goods.

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    • #3
      Originally posted by TrumpinJoe View Post
      At those stakes how often does top pair with a strong kicker win at showdown?

      Poker is situational. Cards matter only at showdown. When a lot of hands go to the end you need to have the goods.
      It's more complex than that, I realize, but it does win at least half the time. They call with a lot of marginal hands. There's no easy answer for this, I guess I'll have to get Poker Tracker to know whether my opponent is likely to bet with air or call with worse.

      Thanks!

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