2♠2♥ vs a Raise, what do you do here?

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DECISION POINT:
In a $2-5 No Limit Hold’em Cash Game, it folds to the player in the Cutoff seat who raises to $20. What do you do with pocket deuces?

PRO ANSWER: Most players default to calling too often against late position raises with pocket pairs. If our plan for this hand is to call hoping to hit a set and folding on the flop when we don’t, then a preflop call will not be profitable.

We will not hit our set the vast majority of the time. In addition, our opponent’s hand range from the Cutoff seat is quite wide, which means they are unlikely to have a strong hand with which to pay us off even when we do hit a set.

If we choose to call in this spot, we must float the flop when we don’t hit our set. Floating is calling on the flop with the intention of betting on the turn when our opponent checks to us. However, there are much better hands to float flops with than 22. We will not turn additional equity often enough to warrant floating with small pocket pairs on the flop.

We will often win this pot preflop or with a continuation bet on the flop due our opponent's wide hand range.

Continued below...

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If this raise had come from an early position player, then calling preflop with 22 becomes more profitable. In that case, our implied odds on flopping a set increase due to our opponent’s narrower hand range.

At the same time, reraising would be unprofitable against that narrow hand range. Reraising is the most profitable overall line against the Cutoff player's wide opening hand range.

Reraising is the best play.

What would you do here?
Share your answer in the comments below!


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