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Slowplay top set on a dry board?

I usually don’t slowplay but when I flop top set on a dry board, I beleive it’s one of the few occasions where I should slowplay because blocking most of the opponent’s top pair combos, I think it’s very hard to get a call from weaker hands on a dry board. However, I got screwed recently twice by slowplaying my top set on the flop. I just want to hear opinions on this. Is my thought process wrong or should I just take it as a variance. Here are two hands I played recently:

Hand #1

I raise to $15 in 1/3nl pre w/ QQ and the BT calls me.

Flop: Q73 with one heart.
I block most QXs. Since villain didn’t 3bet me pre, it is very unlikely he has KK/AA. So if I bet here, I think he is going to just fold.
So I check, villain checks.

Turn: Q73T with two hearts
I bet $20. Villain calls.

River: Q73T2 with three hearts
I checked. He bets $60. I call and he shows A5hh.

Hand #2
1/3NL. MP opens to $15. I make it $45 w/ KK from the BT. MP calls.

Flop: K26r
Villain checks.
I check back, giving him a free card so he will pick up some sort of draw (or hopefully a set) on turn.

Turn: K269
Villain checks.
I bet smallish, $50, so I could get a call from a weak pair or a gutter ball.
Villain calls.

River: K269Q
Villain goes all in for $180.
It’s a huge bet, but I make the call, hoping he has a weaker set, KQ somehow, or a bluff.
Unfortunately for me, villain tables JT.

Did I just got unlucky or am I just playing my top set poorly? Should I just fast play my top set on dry board in general?


  • EarlyCuyler Posts: 10Subscriber
    I hardly ever slow play sets. Got to get stacks in with these hands and when you check the flop that's next to impossible. I would bet in the 1st hand the guy calls anyway on the flop. In the 2nd hand your river decision would have been moot had you bet the flop. Money would have been in on the turn and he would have called as a 4-1 dog. Especially in a game like 1/3, it's just full speed ahead the vast majority of the time. At least for me. When they fold it sucks, but the big pots offset that.
  • CycleV Posts: 1,103Subscriber
    On a Qxx flop, I'd bet just cuz when V's want to think they're good or have outs, they'll put us on AK and peel pretty light. Mid-PP, even some Ax won't fold to what looks like a standard c-bet. Second hand just sucks, but I'm never avoiding it either.

    Basicaly these two hands fall into the "shit happens" category. I wouldn't sweat em.
  • EarlyCuyler Posts: 10Subscriber
    CycleV said:
    Second hand just sucks, but I'm never avoiding it either.
    After thinking about it further as well, we underrepped our hand a lot in this hand. So we may have induced some wacky river stuff from V.
  • RagingOwlRagingOwl Posts: 172Member
    Think about what you're asking for here. Hand 1, you checked the flop because it was unlikely that Villain had anything that would pay you. But you're also hoping that the undercard-Ten on the turn gave him enough of a hand to pay off two streets.

    Does not compute.
  • FuzzypupFuzzypup Posts: 2,442Subscriber
    #1 Bet something. Anything. Many players at this limit will call a small bet to see if they pick up a draw on the turn. AK is possible for his hand. Also think about what hand are you ever checking this flop as the preflop raiser? None. You are betting pretty much 100% of the time on this dry board SOMETHING. So what are you checking? As played turn I'd bomb it. Either he has something or he has nothing. Once he calls I bet the river. Again he has nothing or he has something. He is very likely checking all hands on the river except ones that beat you but he will call a bet with hands you beat.

    #2 This hand you can slowplay because you have checking hands in your range like QQ and JJ normally. But again I would bet at least normal OTT if not large because you will get one call at least so make your money now from QQ, JJ or other pairs. AQ isn't going to improve often enough. Look at the combos. He can have QQ, JJ, 99 and right there there are almost as many combos of that as AQ who isn't calling. Now AQ has to catch their 14% card. So when you math this out you are betting small for no reason. bet large on the turn. If he has 99 he is probably sandbagging and now you get max value. If he has QQ or JJ he will call at least one bet but not 2. Or call this bet and a small one on the river. So is it better to get a large bet here and a small one on the river or 2 small ones? Ok so what if you had QQ in this spot? I'd still bet large on the turn. (A) you get called by the same underpair range... (B) you can safely check the river behind if he has a K. (C) if you bomb and he XRes you can fold because your XF, BOMB turn range is polarized but balanced. He isn't bluffing when he XRes. But if you bet small your QQ and get XRed now you have to question yourself... is he overplaying JJ? Is he bluffing? And you call which now costs more than just bombing it. Same thing if you have air but there is something else at play now. Say you have AQ here and XF, bomb turn..... what is calling? Same range as when you have KK or QQ. What is folding..... Now in this case you get the other AQ to fold... you get 88 to fold, you get 77 to fold which is what you want!!!! While with QQ or KK they aren't calling shit anyways... otherwise dude this was just bad luck. River call is fine he can easily have a set of QQs as well as JTs. 3 vs 4 combos. He made a bad call OTT.

    Note - Understand why you are betting, what you are targeting, and what is folding is paramount to squeezing out value and forcing folds at the right time. And in different spots a larger bet saves you money later in the hand or forces your opponent to play predictable which increases the accuracy of your information. Even a better player when faces with a polarizing play will play carefully. Only at very high levels will that same player realize you yourself are polarized, range you, and possibly make his own play with air.

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