You are playing preflop with pocket Kings and after a 3bet, your opponent calls. The flop falls A-4-7. The smile on your face breaks. And you have solid reasons for no being happy.

First of all, Ax type hands are often in the range of your opponents, especially in a 3bet pot; hands like AK, AQ, AJ are going to easily win the hand. Moreover, as well as the combos said before, also QQ JJ TT are in range of your opponent and it means that it will be hard to get much value out of the hand.

It doesn’t mean, anyway, that you cannot win a big pot, so let’s see how to extract the most out of that situation.

Cbet or not cbet?

Generally speaking, either in a 3bet pot or in a single raised pot, with KK on a flop like A-T-6 you might want to cbet as you’d do with any other strong hand (AA, TT) or any bluff (44). The fact that an Ace hit the board does not mean automatically that your opponent has a top pair that gets you beaten.

It’s part of the human’s mind think about the worst scenario, especially if you are in period of downswing, but there’ still value to extract by this hand, because among the Ax type of hands, your opponent will pay you off with JJ Tx

Pot control

Cbetting on the flop has also another goal, which is control the size of the pot. If you are out of position and you check rather than betting, your opponent could decide to bet a size you are not comfortable calling, given the situation.

Taking initiative helps to prevent this scenario and allows you to be more conservative on the next streets. If you get called on the flop, you might decide to check on the turn, trying to keep the pot small. In most of the cases, your opponent even with a top pair good kicker hand will not want to boost too much a slippery pot.

On the river either are going to extract a bit of value by betting a small size or either we are paying off your opponent’s bet for the showdown.

Second pair is not a bad hand, but for a correct decision on the turn and the river you have to have at least a bit of knowledge of your opponent’s tendencies and style; the more he tends to be aggressive, the more value you can get by hands like JJ or KT.

If instead he’s pretty conservative and makes bets mostly for value, it might be a good spot to fold your strong hand and move onto the next spot.