Jonathan Little Hand of the Week: An Unavoidable Cooler on the River?

jonathan little unavoidable cooler

3 minutes

Last Updated: November 5, 2023

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For this week, we have another big pot caused by a pretty brutal river card. The hand in question comes from the Lodge Card Club in Austin, Texas, and features two regulars in the game – JWIN and Hai.

Blinds are $25/50, and the $100 straddle is on, but both players start with deep stacks, so plenty of room for some big action.

Hai is the first to act, and he limps in from UTG+1 with J9. JWIN is the next to act, and he looks down at QJ and decides to raise it up to $400.

I like this play. Whenever you have a strong hand and face a limp, you want to raise. First of all, you’ll dominate a large part of their limping range, and secondly, even if you get re-raised, you can still call with some of your hands and play the hand in position.

The action folds around back to Hai, who makes the call.

The Flop

The flop is a good one for JWIN, as it comes QJ2, giving him the top two pair. Hai plays in flow and checks.

JWIN puts out a continuation bet of $300, and I think he could have gone for a bigger sizing here. Many of the hands in his opponent’s limp-calling range will be middling suited connectors, which will often connect with this board in some way.

I believe all hands that do connect and will continue here will do so for a larger sizing as well, and given they are both deep-stacked, a bigger flop bet is probably in order.

You don’t want to go super-big, either, as you want to keep hands like an Ace-high backdoor flush draw around.

The Turn

The dealer burns and turns 2, removing any potential backdoor flush draws from the picture. After Hai checks, JWIN bets once again, this time for $900.

The question here is, what types of hands will your opponent continue with? Will they call with a gutshot, for example? Will they continue with any smaller pairs they peeled with on the flop?

jonathan little a cooler hand

Both of these are unlikely, so I would probably just size up and go for a bigger turn bet. Our bet is targeting a queen or a jack, and I don’t think these hands are ever folding if we bet out for two-thirds of the pot.

At the same time, you don’t want to give them really good odds with open-ended straight draws, so there are certainly a few arguments in favor of betting bigger on this street.

The River

The final card is a brutal one, as it comes J, giving both players a full house, but JWIN’s is just a bit better.

JWIN goes for another relatively small bet of $1.5K. At this point, what you need to figure out is how much a lone queen will reasonably call.

It is probably more than $1,500, as there is $3.4K in the pot before the bet. At the same time, the advantage of a smaller bet is that if your opponent does have a full house with that last jack, they’re almost guaranteed to go for a raise.

This isn’t necessarily the case if you go for the max value and bet for something around the size of the pot.

Sure enough, Hai does go for a raise and makes it to $4.5K. JWIN wastes no time moving all in for a total of almost $13,000.

This is a tricky spot, and although it seems like an unavoidable cooler, it’s worth thinking about. Would JWIN really move all in on this river with just a jack?

At this point, he’s most likely to just call with hands like AJ and JT, exactly because he could run into a type of hand he’s holding.

So, when you rip it all in here, you’re basically saying to your opponent – “I don’t care if you have a jack.” And, if they can figure that out, folding is actually a reasonable option.

What option does Hai land on in the end? Can he find the fold in this sick spot? Check out the video above to see the conclusion and a surprise announcement about one of the players featured in this entertaining hand!

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