My local poker room was jammed on a Friday afternoon in summer. Under the gun at a full $4-8 Hold'Em table, Fred peeked and saw [Qh]-[Qc]. He raised, making it $8 to go. Five players folded; the Cutoff and the Button called; the Small Blind folded; the Big Blind called.
The dealer flopped [Kh]-[7c]-[2s]. Fred led the betting with $4, figuring that if anyone had a Set, Two Pairs, or Kings, then she would raise and he would fold. None raised; two called; the Big Blind folded.
The dealer burned and turned the a5. Although it was possible that someone had an inside Straight draw or a Flush draw, Fred thought those unlikely. Maybe his hand was best. He again led the betting. Both called the $8 bet.
The dealer burned and turned the for this tableau, [Kh]-[7c]-[2s]-[5h]-[Jc]. Fred observed that a Straight and a Flush weren't possible. No one else had raised pre- Flop, so he discounted pocket Aces or Kings, and Big Slick, leaving a Set, Two Pairs, or Kings as dangers. Fred led the betting with $8; the Cutoff folded; the Button raised. Fred paid him off. The Button showed down dK-dJ, and Fred mucked his $36 Queens. "What had he done wrong?" he asked.
We retired to a quiet area where Fred bought adult beverages. Your early position, pre-Flop raise was good, I told him, because you likely narrowed the field. Instead of the usual five or more hopeful players paying to see the Flop, you had only three opponents.
When you hold the 'Sorry Sisters,' I told Fred, you want neither an Ace nor a King on the Flop, a 59% chance, as given by C(42,3)/C(50,3). You were a bit unlucky that an overcard flopped.
Still, a King on the Flop was better than an Ace, I told him. At low-limit Hold'Em most everyone plays Ace-Any starts; fewer play King-Any starts. However, they will call two bets cold with starting hands like [Kd]-[2d], [Kh]-[Js], and even [Jc]-[Th]. Even without overcards, a suited, connected, or paired Flop like [8h]-[Js]-[Ts], or [Kh]-[Td]-[Ts], would leave your Queens drawing slim. Fred nodded.
Your post-Flop bet was okay, I said, because you represented top Set, pocket Aces, or Big Slick. Your first mistake was your plan to fold if raised. Even without Kings, an advanced player might raise to test your strength, to slow you down, and/or to obtain a 'free' card on the Turn. My action would depend on who raised.
Your next mistake was lead betting on the Turn. Although you hate giving them a free card, they both smooth-called your post-Flop bet with that King on the tableau. You should assign them hands like Big Slick, a weak King, or possibly [Ah]-[7h]. With Kings being likely, I would have checked the Turn and then mucked if an opponent showed strength.
I too would have checked the River. If the Cutoff bet and the Button called (or raised), then I would have folded, because the Cutoff might have been bluffing, but not the Button. If the Cutoff checked and the Button bet, then I would fold, call, or raise, based on my read of the Button.
"Even heads-up pocket pairs are a coin toss against two overcards, plus it's rare to get heads-up before the Flop at limit Hold'Em," I said. "With overcards on the tableau, bad position, and two or more opponents, rather than lead bet, I look for reasons to muck."