Jonathan Little Hand of the Week: How to Play Backdoor Quads

Jonathan Little playing backdoor quads

3 minutes

Last Updated: November 5, 2023

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The hand I’ll be breaking down today is quite a fun one. It’s a tournament hand from the €100,000 partypoker Millions event, and it’s a situation that you don’t get to see very often.

The heroes of today’s hand are Nick Petrangelo, one of the best MTT players around, and Jake Schindler, another tournament crusher with impressive results.

The hand begins with Nick raising it up to 3.5 big blinds from the button with Ah Ks, sitting on a stack of around 80 big blinds.

Jake in the big blind decides to call the raise with Qs 8h, which is certainly reasonable.

The Flop

The dealer peels Ac 8h 6c on the flop, and Jake checks to Petrangelo. For Nick, this is a very standard continuation bet, where he can go for the medium to big sizing.

When you do flop a big hand in a situation where you can easily get called by many worse hands, you want to extract as much value as possible.

That’s exactly what Nick does, betting 240,000 into the 340,000 pot. Jake makes a very standard call here, so there is not much to discuss.

Jake Schindler backdoor quads

Player images courtesy of PokerGO

The Turn

The turn card is a fun one as it comes 8d, improving Schindler to trips. And interestingly enough, this is a spot where I believe where Jake should lead out a lot of the time.

This is the spot where he has a lot of eights in his range, while Nick has very few, so the nut advantage shifts.

Not surprisingly, Jake does lead out for 575,000, a sizing that allows him to jam the river if Nick calls, turning Nick’s Ace-King into a bluff-catcher.

As played, there is very little point in raising on the turn if you’re Petrangelo. Against eights, you’ll be in horrible shape, and if your opponent has a draw, you want to give them a chance to bet on the river when they miss to pick them off.

Nick does make the call, bringing the pot to almost two million, so the effective stack is just over the size of the pot.

The River

The river comes the final eight, giving Jake Schindler quad eights. So, he rivers the absolute nuts, but how should he play to get the maximum value?

Will checking induce a bluff from Nick? Will betting get Nick to hero call with hands worse than an ace? And, finally, does an ace ever fold to a river jam here? What do you think?

Jonathan Little Petrangelo vs Schindler

I believe you only have two options here:

  • Check to induce bluffs (against good players) from hands like busted straight draws with no showdown value
  • Shove

A lot of people make the mistake of betting small here. This is the spot where you want to be super-polarized, so you can jam with all of your eights, but also a variety of busted draws.

Sure enough, Jake does move all in for 2.4 million, and it’s by far the superior play. When you check the river here, you can expect even aces to check behind sometime, as Jake won’t just have give-ups in his range when he checks.

So, Nick still has to be cautious on this river, even if he has a very strong hand.

As played, Jake shoves, and Petrangelo is faced with a decision for his tournament life. To find out how the hand ends and if Nick was able to get away from this cooler, watch the video above!

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