Jonathan Little Hand of the Week: Brad Owen Faces Big River Bet
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Today, we’ll be looking at a hand that took place in $5/$10 streets, a game I used to grind a lot in Las Vegas back in the day.
Our hero is none other than Brand Owen, one of the best-known poker vloggers out there. Brad gets himself in a bit of a tricky river spot, trying to follow his gut instinct.
The action starts with Brad picking up 10♠10♦ UTG and making a standard raise of $30. He picks up only one caller in the small blind, a player he’s got a bit of a history with, which influences the rest of this poker hand.
The flop comes K♠8♠4♣. The small blind checks, and Owen decides to check back instead of firing a continuation bet.
This is a very good strategy in this particular spot. If you decide to bet, it can be hard to figure out how a stubborn player may react. By checking back, you allow the opponent to bet on the turn and the river, and you have easy calls, keeping all of their bluffs in.
The dealer peels 5♦ on the turn, and the small blind checks again. At this point, Brad feels it’s safe to start betting for value and fires for $40.
Once your opponent checks again on the turn, it’s safe to assume they don’t have a very good hand. If they had a king, for example, they’d want to get value from under-pairs, draws, and random ace highs that you want to stick around with.
However, the small blind comes up with a surprising play as he check-raises to $170. Owen explains that, at this point, he has a feeling that the player is just trying to go after him. So, how do you react in this scenario, given the available information?
The biggest question you have to answer is: how confident are you that this player is coming after you? Most players don’t try insane bluffs for no reason. Some, however, do tend to have a bit of a chip on their shoulder and want to show you who’s the boss.
If you believe you’re up against the player who you think will drastically over-bluff the turn with all sorts of hands, you can go into the calling mode and let them blast away.
The final card is J♣, which doesn’t change much unless the opponent had a flush draw containing a jack.
Even if he has a jack that he spikes on the river, would he bet it? Some players certainly would, so it’s another situation where you need to be fairly confident about what type of a player they are.
The small blind bombs it, betting $400 into the $410 pot, putting Brad to the ultimate test. Now, generally speaking, when players bet huge on the river, they usually have it.
That said, Owen does have a bit of a read on this player, and he is suspicious. So, does he end up trusting his instincts and making the call? Check out the video above to find out!
Jonathan Little is a two-time WPT champion with more than $7 million in live tournament winnings and best-selling author of multiple poker strategy books. If you want to learn from the best and increase your edge at the tables, make sure to get your FREE 3-day pass and check his training site at pokercoaching.com