Playing Trips Like a Chicken in a $5,000 WSOP Event


  • @JonathanLittle rivers trips in this WSOP hand, but can’t find it in him to bet a three-spade board.

  • Consider what you would have done after rivering trips in this hand from a $5,000 WSOP event.

Here’s another hand from this summer’s $5,000 six-handed no-limit hold’em World Series of Poker event, this one coming from a little bit deeper in the tournament. As the title suggests, I end up making a decent hand in this one, but chose a cautious route on the river. What would you have done?

The blinds were 1,000/2,000 with a 300 ante and I’d built up a stack of close to 140,000 to begin the hand.

A tight-aggressive player with about 80,000 to start opened for 4,200 from the hijack seat. It folded to me in the big blind where I was dealt {Q-Hearts}{9-Hearts}, a nice suited two-gapper with which I was glad to defend with a call.

The flop came {J-Spades}{9-Clubs}{6-Spades} to give me middle pair, and I check-called a continuation bet of 4,000, making the pot just over 20,000. In the video below I talk about what I don’t think there’s much reason to check-raise here, although I also explore reasons why some might choose to do so.

The turn was the {2-Diamonds}, a good card for me, and we both checked. Then the river brought the {9-Spades}, giving me trips while also putting a third spade on the board.

I checked, though I’m not sure I should have. Take a look at the hand and see how things ended up playing out in this one:

Would you have bet this river? And if so, would you then have called a raise? (Looking back, that would have been a fun spot to be in!)

Jonathan Little is a professional poker player and author with over $6,500,000 in live tournament earnings. He writes a weekly educational blog and hosts a podcast at You can follow him on Twitter @JonathanLittle.

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