A♠A♦ Facing a Flop Raise, what do you do here?

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DECISION POINT:
​​In a live $2-5 game you raise to $15 from Under the Gun with A♠A♦. It folds to the Cutoff who is the only caller. You bet $35 on the 9♠4♦2♥ flop and Villain raises to $135. Action is on you, what do you do here?

PRO ANSWER: We are dealt pocket aces UTG in a $2-5 cash game. We make a standard raise to $15 and are called by the CO. The flop is 9s-4d-2h. This is a dry, non dynamic flop so a smaller bet sizing of around 1/3 pot would be ideal. That sizing would allow us to maximize value against our opponent’s entire range. 

In this spot, however, we decide to size up our bet to $35, which is nearly full pot. When we choose this bet size, many of the hands we would like the CO to continue against us with cannot call. This leaves them with more strong hands against our range when they continue.

Villain's raise to $135 makes this a tricky spot for us. They certainly could have some sets in their range, as well as over pairs and bluffs. It is unlikely they have two pair unless they made a fairly loose call with 42s preflop.

Continued below...

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As a general rule, we rarely want to be folding when we are in the top 25% of our perceived range in a situation. If we are folding more frequently than that we are potentially exploitable by our opponents. Pocket aces is definitely in the top 25% of our range here, so against an unknown and/or tough opponent we cannot fold.

If we had any specific information that our opponent was not capable of bluffing in this spot and wouldn’t raise overpairs for value, then perhaps we could make an exploitative fold. Reraising would allow our opponent to easily get away from all their bluffs and potentially even fold some of their over pairs, so keeping their range as wide as possible and navigating to a cheap showdown is best.

Calling is the best play.

What would you do here?
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