This overpair paid off and I was able to scoop a monster pot

This overpair paid off and I was able to scoop a monster pot

October 10, 2017 3:00 AM


Sometimes the cards will surprise you. Hopefully, it’s a pleasant surprise.

Playing limit hold’em at my local casino, it was a full table as I looked down at Jc-Js in the hole – pocket jacks. I consider that an almost made hand – one that could win without further improvement. I put the emphasis on “almost.”

In this case, with several opponents in the hand and five up-cards to come, the odds favor the likelihood one or more will connect with a higher pair – Aces, Kings, or Queens – rather than me making a set. In brief, my J-J was quite vulnerable. Undoubtedly, most poker players are well aware of this; and the best strategy in this case is to raise preflop in the hope of thinning the field. Fewer opponents staying to see the flop can help you to win that pot.

So, I raised from my middle position and got to see the flop, along with four opponents. Although I did not catch a set of Jacks, it soon turned out to be a very interesting flop: 10d-8c-2c. At that point, my pocket Jacks may well have still been in the lead. After two players checked to me, I bet out, and was called by three opponents. Now came the turn: 7s.

In addition to my overpair to the board, now I also had a draw to an inside straight. I opened the betting once again. Two opponents called to see the river with me. But then the big blind (BB) raised. He had check-raised! He was not an especially deceptive player, so I respected his raise at that point, suggesting he had caught a strong hand. He very well could hold two-pair or a set. If he held pocket 7’s as I suspected, his set of 7’s easily crushed my pocket Jacks.

Closing my eyes, I thought about the situation: In all, including the chance of catching a set of Jacks or completing my inside straight draw, I had six outs. I did not consider pairing one of the four cards on the board, since he might already have a set or two-pair that included one or two of them. With just the river card to come, the card odds were about 7-to-1 against me. Looking at the pot, it was readily apparent the implied pot odds were much higher than the cost to call his raise. (That is often labelled a “positive expectation.”)

The river – ah, the river. Thanks to the “poker gods,” it was the 9h. What a nice surprise for me! I studied my hand to be sure. I had top end of the straight. Very nice! Unaware of my good fortune, the BB bet out on the river. On purpose, I hesitated, studied my hole cards, and looked at him – as if trying to decide how to respond. Then, as if undecided, I raised him. He was obviously taken by surprise. After a short pause, probably thinking I was bluffing, he quickly re-raised me.

I stopped to ponder the situation: With no pair on the board, a full-house was not possible. With only two suited cards on the board, a flush was not possible. And, the way the hand had played out, I was quite certain he did not have a J-Q in the hole, which would have given him a higher straight than mine. I was almost certain the BB held a set of 7’s or two-pair. So I boldly re-raised him again.

This time he just called. I turned up my Jack-high straight. He showed his pocket 7’s. That gave him a set – second-best to my Jack-high straight. And I was so pleased to scoop a monster pot. I had rivered him. What a great feeling! I loved it. Actually, although the BB might disagree with me, it wasn’t a bad beat for him because I had enough outs to make it a reasonable call to see the river.

You never know what card will fall; you could get a nice surprise. Guess I was just very lucky.