Bet-Sizing and Value Betting After Flopping a Full House

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This week’s educational poker hand comes from a $2,000 buy-in side event — a turbo NL tournament. In this one I flop a huge hand, giving us an opportunity to talk about bet-sizing and value betting.

The blinds were 500/1,000 with a 100 ante, and at the table I had a big stack of around 65,000. It folded to me in the hijack seat where I was dealt {2-Spades}{2-Diamonds} and I raised to 2,500. The player in the big blind — a tight-aggressive player — had about 22,000 to start the hand and he called, bringing the pot to 6,400.

The flop then came {9-Diamonds}{9-Spades}{2-Hearts} — a full house for me! My opponent checked, and I had to think about how to proceed. I ended up betting small — just 2,000 — hoping to encourage my opponent to stick around. My opponent called.

The turn was the {K-Clubs} and my opponent checked again, and this time I bet 3,500 or about one-third of the pot, again betting relatively small as I continued to try to extract value. My opponent called again, pushing the pot up to 17,400 and leaving him with a little less than 14,000 behind.

The river was the {4-Diamonds} and he checked one more time. The question for me at this point was whether to bet small again for value or perhaps shove and try to win his entire stack. Take a look to see what I decided to do and what happened:

Kind of a twist ending to this one, which means in addition to the other concepts covered we get a chance to think about how to handle it when facing such “cooler” spots.

How do you approach hands like this? Do you usually slow play in situations like this or do you try to stack your opponent? And if your full house happens to lose, how do you react?

Jonathan Little is a professional poker player and author with over $6,300,000 in live tournament earnings. He writes a weekly educational blog and hosts a podcast at JonathanLittlePoker.com. You can follow him on Twitter @JonathanLittle.