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Going For Max Value With A Full House

Another hand quiz and another full house hand courtesy of a crazy flop! Filling up on the flop is certainly ideal when playing in a tournament, but what must you keep in mind to ensure you get full value?

Scenario: You are eight-handed in a $5,000 buy-in online tournament with 350-700 blinds. You are the table’s big stack with 104,434 chips. The under-the-gun player raises to 1,540 out of their 12,182 stack. It folds around to you on the button with K-K.

Playing Pocket Kings Preflop

In this spot, a three-bet would induce the initial raiser to fold out all of their junk, which you want to keep in the pot. While your pocket kings will get outdrawn some portion of the time (especially when an ace flops), a three-bet will usually force your opponent to play well. Calling with hands like pocket aces and kings protects your calling range and allows you to call with a slightly wider range of speculative hands in the future such as K-9 suited or 10-8 suited. 

Action: You elect to call and everyone else folds. The flop comes A-A-K and your opponent checks.

Flop Analysis

The Pot: 4,130
The Board: A-A-K
Effective Stack: 146 Big Blinds Effective

Playing The Flop With A Full House

Thinking about what your opponent is likely to have on this board, they either have an ace that will pay you off no matter what or an unlikely king that you can get value from on the turn and river. Underpairs like Q-Q, 8-8, or 4-4 will likely call a flop bet, but then fold to bets on the turn or river. While not the recommended decision, a bet in this spot should be on the small side as it will encourage the opposing player to call with worse hands such as K-Q and 9-9. That said, when you are not concerned with being outdrawn, it is almost always best to check with your nut hands because you really want to keep your opponent in the pot.

Action: You check. The turn is the 5 and your opponent bets 2,055 (42% pot).

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Turn Analysis

The Pot: 6,185
The Board: A-A-K-5
Effective Stack: 146 Big Blinds Effective

Navigating The Turn With Your Full House

Many players make the mistake of going all-in even though it does not make strategic sense. The ideal play is to keep your opponent in the pot with their flush draws and pairs that will fold to a shove. If your opponent has an ace, they will get all-in by the river, so you should not be concerned with them. Calling keeps your opponent in the pot and gives them a chance to play for the rest of their chips on the river if they feel inclined.

Action: You call. The river is the 3 and your opponent bets 5,160 (57% pot).

River Analysis

The Pot: 10,295
The Board: A-A-K-5-3
Effective Stack: 135 Big Blinds Effective

Going For Value With Your Full House

This is an easy decision because you lose to almost nothing. While you can’t beat pocket A-A, A-K, A-5 suited, and A-3 suited, there are substantially more hands in your opponent’s range that you do beat with your full house. The time has come to put your opponent all-in and make them play for the rest of their chips.

Conclusion: You go all-in. Your opponent quickly calls with A-J, giving you a nice pot.

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