5♣5♦ on the Flop, what do you do here?
DECISION POINT: In a Tournament where blinds are 500/1,000 with a 1,000 Big Blind Ante the Under the Gun player folds and you raise to 2,500 from Early Position with 5♣5♦. The Button is the only caller. The flop comes 9♦8♥T♣ and action is on you, what do you do here?
PRO ANSWER: We are playing the middle stages of a tournament with a 50BB effective stack size and a 1BB big blind ante. It is folded to us UTG+1 and we raise to 2,500 with pocket fives. This is a fairly standard open at an unknown table given these stack sizes. Action folds around to the Button who flat calls. The Blinds fold and we’re off to the flop.
The flop is 9d8hTc and action is on us. One of the first things we want to analyze on the flop is who has the range advantage and who has the nut advantage. In this spot our opening range is slightly narrower than the Button and includes more overpairs. That said, the Button's range can include 76s and it is very unlikely that our range does.
Our opponent may reraise with pocket tens preflop, however they still have slightly more nutted hands than we do. While we have a slight range advantage, our opponent likely has a slight nut advantage on this particular board.
Next we want to evaluate if our hand would benefit from equity denial. While we could potentially get a hand like pocket sixes to fold here, we benefit most by getting folds from hands in our opponent’s range that contain overcards and at least a gutshot draw such as hands like KJs/AQs.
Against good players we are unlikely to get these hands to fold with just a single bet. Aside from a five or perhaps an ace we can represent on the turn, there are very few good cards for us to turn barrel here.
Since we are out of position and at a slight nut disadvantage, we are unlikely to get folds through aggression and deny equity to the overcard plus gutshot combos in our opponent's range. We are also unlikely to be able to fire again on many of the turn cards with any degree of confidence, so this is a spot where we can just check.
Against an opponent who plays extremely fit or fold or would call with a much wider range than is standard preflop, we could make a case for a different line. It feels bad to open in early position and then just check the flop, however this is one of the spots where doing so against a tough player makes sense.
Checking is the best play.
How would you play it?
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