How do you play top pair?

    • noz03
      Joined: 07.03.2012 Posts: 129
      I was reviewing my stats and realised I am loosing soo much money on top pair, usually because I keep ending up all in against fish sets or something better...

      Usual situation is I bet preflop with ak,

      Flop comes k37 against a 60vp fish so I bet 3/4 and get called, of course... hes loose, I wanted a call anyway!
      queen comes so I bet again 3/4 on the turn, and get called.
      river is a jack so again bet the river, then he shoves over me what little he had left. and shows 33............

      This or somethign similar to this keep happening to me, should I not be value betting my tptk hands? What can I do to protect myself against this? Yesterday I was down 200bb on single pair hands (pt3 stats)
  • 9 replies
    • noz03
      Joined: 07.03.2012 Posts: 129
      Heres another one, only 1 player in I didnt think I needed to worry too much about the diamonds but was that wrong?

      888 Poker - $0.02 NL - Holdem - 9 players
      Hand converted by PokerTracker 3

      BTN: $1.94
      SB: $4.79
      BB: $0.83
      UTG: $4.08
      UTG+1: $2.00
      MP: $2.02
      Hero (MP+1): $2.41
      LP: $0.50
      CO: $0.85

      SB posts SB $0.01, BB posts BB $0.02, LP posts DB $0.02

      Pre Flop: ($0.05) Hero has A:heart: T:heart:

      fold, fold, fold, Hero raises to $0.06, fold, CO calls $0.06, fold, fold, fold

      Flop: ($0.17, 2 players) J:diamond: 6:diamond: A:diamond:
      Hero bets $0.12, CO calls $0.12

      Turn: ($0.41, 2 players) K:spade:
      Hero bets $0.41, CO raises to $0.67, Hero calls $0.26

      River: ($1.75, 2 players) 8:diamond:

      Hero shows A:heart: T:heart: (One Pair, Aces) (Pre 64%, Flop 4%, Turn 0%)
      CO shows 2:diamond: 4:diamond: (Flush, Ace High) (Pre 36%, Flop 96%, Turn 100%)
      CO wins $1.65
    • Krisstef
      Joined: 20.10.2011 Posts: 23

      You should read the pot-control articles here on pokerstrategy they are quite good. As everyone will probably tell you big pots are for big hands and small pots are for small hands. 1-pair type of hands are surely not "big hands". You should try and play a little pot control so you are not forced to play top pair for stacks on the river. In position try out a line like: Cbet flop, check back turn, bet river, or call if he donks.

      Its gonna keep the pot a lot smaller. Out of position playing pot control is quite difficult you need to be either betting small like 1/2 pot or less, or checking and hoping for a check back.

      On the AT hand:

      You hardly beat anything. On the turn you have 3 diamonds and 3 to a straight on board, many 2-pair possibilities, sets... etc. Even though the other guy is short stacked you should not want to play for stacks with top pair T kicker in my opinion.

      Read some more articles bro.


    • zumpar
      Joined: 05.02.2012 Posts: 1,185
      well, it pretty much depends on a board texture and your opponent.

      playing these TPTK situations is quite easy in position, you can control the size of the pot.

      for example, if u hold A :club: K :heart:
      on K :club: 3:diamond: 4:spade: board in position, then i bet the flop, if a blank hits, i check behind on the turn to keep pot smaller + induce a bluff on the river.
      if a blank hits on a river, i bet for value/call a donkbet. If i get check-raised, i fold ofc.
      another option is to barrel the flop+turn, check behind on the river - i mostly do this if draws are possible on the flop.

      if ur OOP, just as Krisstef said, its hard to do the pot control

      well, you definitely have to cbet and
      if the board texture doesnt change, i usually either 3 barrel (something like 50% of the pot), or bet the flop, bet the turn and check/fold the river. Against very loose players/calling stations i sometimes even put a small (value/defensive bet) on the river..

      for example flop 70% of the pot, turn 70% of the pot, river 35% of the pot.

      really depends mostly on your opponent, but remember
      1) its always easier to play In position
      2) TPTK is just a pair, no need to go crazy with it

      EDIT: the AT hand, i just cbet and check/fold the river
    • noz03
      Joined: 07.03.2012 Posts: 129
      What about if there are 3 or 4 players in the pot? to bet 70%, twice is already a lot. Youre right though I need to read much more about post flop play, Ive mostly been playing tournaments before so its a lot more preflop than post.
    • needagun
      Joined: 21.04.2011 Posts: 47
      the microstakes fish

      i like your 3barrleing on this flop, you are getting called by ANY king and a lot of pocket pairs, they are not folding QQ or JJ, if the check raise was large you could fold but if he only had very little behind i guess you have to call with 15 to 1 pot odds - i also think you should have put him all in if a slight overbet was all it took
      of course you could just check one street, i can't come up with any logic to decide if you should check one steert or bet all the way, both seem fine but vs true fish you are missing value for sure if you check

      about the multi way pots, unfortunately the fish also never fold their top pairs here, and you can't be quite sure what to make of your hand as they could always be overplaying top pair weak kicker or even middle pair

      for example i can tell you a pot that made me laugh:

      just open and calling pre flop, 3 ppl, flop comes xxJ, i think the board might have been paired but i can't remember to be honest

      i have AJ, check check and i cbet, first guy raises 2nd guy calls and i'm thinking like, oh god i hope they are not doing this with a jack, and i fold

      they checked it down to the river and at that point i wanted my AJ back :)

      the guy who check raised had air the guy who called the check raise in a multi way pot had 44 (1 pair, no set)

      stuff like that happens a lot
    • William340
      Joined: 10.02.2012 Posts: 170
      agree w/ needagun.
      I need to find a way to stop laying down my winners and calling w/ my losers.
      I let myself get pushed out by middle pair when I have TPGK, but when I make a stand, they flopped a set.
    • DailyDollarPro
      Joined: 11.07.2011 Posts: 145
      In multi way pots, the chances of your top pair being beat are much higher, so you need to play with more caution.


      Hero: A:spade: K:diamond: in mid position.

      fold, Hero raises to $0.30, fold, Co calls $0.30, 2 folds, BB calls $0.20.

      Flop ($0.95): K:heart: 9:diamond: 4:club:

      BB checks, Hero bets $0.65, Co calls $0.65, BB calls $0.65.

      Turn ($2.90): J:diamond:

      BB checks, Hero....

      When both players call on the flop, it is likely that they both have a made hand as there are no draws. The pot is getting quite big now as well so a turn bet will need to be quite big here ($1.50 - $1.90). Your problem is that unless both players are complete fish, they should fold all hands that you beat to a bet on the turn. If you bet here and one of them calls or raises, it is likely that you will be beat by a slow played set, or a turned two pair (JJ is possible as well). What you should do here is check and then:

      1) call if the Co bets and the BB folds. We would then likely check fold the river as the Co should not bet anything worse for value. Depending on your read you might even fold here if the Co is quite a tight player.

      2) fold If the Co bets and the BB calls. You would need a strong read on both opponents to call here as you just cant take any heat on the river.

      3) Bet the river and fold to a raise if all players check on the turn.

      Taking this line in a multi way pot reduces your risk as you only ever pay a flop and turn bet, saving a (large) river sized bet when you are beat, but still winning a reasonable pot when you are good at showdown. You are unlikely to ever be bluffed in this spot at micro stakes so the fact that you end up folding a descent amount of the time is not a leak.
    • needagun
      Joined: 21.04.2011 Posts: 47
      i am definitely not saying you should go crazy with TPTK in a multi way pot, just that sometimes it might be good so don't be in a huge hurry to fold it

      however in that pot i mentioned i would probably do the same thing right now unless it was against the same 2 people
    • noz03
      Joined: 07.03.2012 Posts: 129
      Thx for some great posts, especially daily that was a great example i will definitely take into my game. Yeah my biggeest leak is over playing tptk. Yesterday I started checking turns or betting half pot instead of 3/4, even folding them in some cases and noticed a huge improvement!

      Any other advice, examples, etc. on post flop play are much appreciated!