A♥K♠ vs All-In on the Flop, what do you do here?

AK vs Flop All-In-updated.gif

DECISION POINT: It folds to you in the Cut-Off with A♥K♠. You raise, and the Button and Big Blind call. The flop comes 5♣4♠2♠, and the Big Blind moves All-In for a little more than a pot-sized bet. Action is on you, what do you do?

PRO ANSWER: We make a standard preflop raise with AK and are called in two spots, one by a very short stack. On a 5c 4s 2s board, the short stack moves all in for a little over the size of the pot.

There are several things to consider when deciding the best course of action. First, if the short stack had a really strong hand here, wouldn’t they be more likely to check to the preflop raiser? The fact that they led with a shove rather than a check means it is unlikely they have a very strong hand. They may or may not be bluffing but they definitely feel their hand is vulnerable. So hands like medium pocket pairs and a lot of Ax hands here are easily in their range as well as flush draws.

Given that it’s very likely that even when we are behind our aces, kings, and wheel draw are all live giving us 10 outs twice here (we even have a backdoor flush draw to the king I’m not factoring in here). That gives us a roughly 38% chance here of making our hand by the river and the pot is laying us roughly 2 to 1.

So even if we are behind, as long as all 10 of our outs are clean, we have the right price to continue here. The fact that we are sometimes ahead of our opponent here is merely a bonus. So the next question is do we just call the bet or raise?

If the short stack’s shove had been a bit smaller we would be much more likely to make a small isolation raise here, but given that it’s slightly larger than the size of the pot we think that the Button is unlikely to come along and if we make an isolation raise and they continue, it puts us in a very awkward spot given the pot size and the stack sizes.

Calling is the best play in this situation.

What would you do here?
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