Raising Top Pairs For Value

Have you ever raised a top pair for value on the flop? Without going all-in?

If you just answered, "no," then you have a big problem.

It’s unlikely you raise on flops as a bluff enough because, well, almost no one does. That means almost any thinking opponent will be able to understand that when you raise postflop, you likely have two pair or greater. This allows even mediocre players to make some sickening folds versus your value hands.

You need to raise with more bluffs, but we’ve discussed that before. Today, we’re going to discuss muddying up your value range. While this concept isn’t too difficult to understand, it confounds enough ABC players to make it worth it.

One great occasion to raise a top pair is when you are in the big blind.

If a guy raises your big blind, and is extremely tough postflop, then perhaps you don’t want to threebet with AQo.

It’s almost always more profitable to threebet there preflop, by the way, but many of you just flat there for some reason. So, if you’re going to do that, you should at least learn how to do it properly.

When you flat with that ace or AJo, and the board comes ace high, please checkraise.

Your opponent is often continuation betting every single A-x, because no one can fold a suited ace these days. And none of them have any idea how to fold a top pair.

Many of them seem to have the same logic on these rainbow boards. "He’d only checkraise a set or two pair here, and he might have slowplayed those, so I have to call!"

And if there’s a flush draw, they’re never folding. Because, you know, they have the top pair, you see. And you could have a flush draw.

Never mind how few combinations that actually is. (Every flush draw combination you can think of is exactly one combo, while KQ would be sixteen combos, for instance.)

They will just fixate on the flush draw, see that they have top pair, know they don’t like folding top pair, and call.

Now you got them. You have them by the balls.

You’ll also stop the KK, QQ, JJ, and other combos from pot controlling. You’ll stop the weaker aces from checking back. It’s glorious.

I cannot tell you how many players I have busted with this tactic. Guys who are wildly better than I am still lose to this play.

They just can’t see anyone doing this with top pair.

Do you run into a better pair or two pair sometimes? Yes. Such is life. Sometimes you swing and miss.

What should you do if they threebet you on the flop? Nine times out of ten it’s a good hand. You can fold, accept the fact you’re getting bluffed sometimes, and still make a ton of money. Generally, if you’re playing a guy good enough to threebet bluff there, then you’re in the wrong game.

You can also enact this play in position if you cold call on the button or cutoff. You should almost never do that with a solid big card combination, because people do call out of position when you threebet so much now, but if you are worried about their fourbetting range and want to call…then here’s a fun gambit.

Once you show them your fastplayed top pair, this opens the door for you to make small raise bluffs in the future.

Isn’t poker glorious?

Good luck to you. 

Don't Miss these ACR News Stories


Join the most trusted US poker site since 2001 and get a 100% bonus on your first deposit, up to $1,000 !



Stay up to date on the latest poker news through social media. Join us at Facebook/americascardroomeu and follow us @ACR_POKER on Twitter. We invite you to share ideas and reactions.