How would you play a small pair from the blinds when a tough, aggressive opponent raises the button?


With this week’s hand I’m returning again to the 2015 World Series of Poker and the final table of the $5,000 no-limit hold’em event.


At the time this hand occurred there were seven players left and I had chipped up to a comfortable stack of more than 100 big blinds — about 3.2 million when the blinds were 15,000/30,000. In the hand my opponent is feared, tough player Jonathan Jaffe

It folded around to Jaffe who raised from the button and I looked down at the powerful {2-Hearts}{2-Diamonds} in the small blind. As I talk about below, this would appear to be a spot where I might just call and set mine, although I’d prefer to reraise and apply pressure. Also if the player in the big blind is decent (which he was in this case), I think three-betting or folding are the best options with my playable hands.

However, I know Jaffe is a loose-aggressive player who is unafraid to play big pots, and not necessarily a great opponent against whom to tangle.

In any case I did reraise to 215,000 — as I say in the video, I wish I had reraised larger — the big blind folded, and Jaffe called.

The flop came {K-Clubs}{J-Clubs}{5-Spades} — obviously bad for me — and I had to decide how to approach playing my deuces postflop from out of position.

Take a look and see how I approached it in this situation, and what happened:

Would you three-bet this hand preflop and continuation bet one time and then give up? Would you just call and see a flop? Or would you fold and wait for a better spot?