Call or Fold? Jonathan Little Has Top Pair But Faces River Aggression

Call or Fold? Jonathan Little Turns Top Pair But Faces River Aggression
  • An opponent who seems confident and competent causes concern with his river bet.

Today's hand comes from early in a $2,000 buy-in no-limit hold'em tournament. It ends with a close river decision. Tell me what you think:

With a stack of 20,000 and the blinds 50/100, it folded to me on the button where I raised to 300 with {A-Spades}{4-Hearts}. The small blind called the raise, and the flop came {Q-Clubs}{8-Clubs}{2-Diamonds}.

The small blind was confident-seeming player in his 20s with a big beard who was a little splashy and aggressive, but not too crazy. As I discuss in the video below, I assumed he would have a reasonable preflop calling range from the small blind, which meant this flop would probably be good for him. That's why when he checked, I just checked behind, assuming he likely wouldn't just fold for a single bet.

The turn was the {A-Clubs} to give me a pair of aces, but this time the small blind led for 600, nearly a flop-sized bet. I called the bet, although I didn't like the situation very much as I expected he'd probably blast the river.

Indeed, after my call the pot was 1,900, and once the {Q-Diamonds} fell on the river my opponent bet 1,100. What would you do at this point? Watch below to hear me talk through the hand and see how things turned out.

How would you have played this river — would you have called or folded?

Jonathan Little is a professional poker player and author with over $6,700,000 in live tournament earnings. He writes a weekly educational blog and hosts a podcast at You can follow him on Twitter @JonathanLittle.

What do you think?

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