A♠A♦ vs an Aggressive River Bet, what do you do here?

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DECISION POINT:
In a live $1-2 game it folds to the Button who raises to $6. You reraise from the Small Blind with A♠A♦ to $24, the Big Blind Folds and the Button calls. You c-bet the Q♠4♥7♣ flop and get called. You check the Q♦ turn, Villain bets and you call. On the 2♥ river you check and Villain bets $80. Action is on you, what do you do here?

PRO ANSWER: Preflop it is folded around to the Button who makes a 3x raise and we raise to $24 which is 4x their raise. Since we are both deep stacked and out of position our raise makes a lot of sense here, otherwise our opponent can call our raise with a very wide range and we aren’t putting them to a meaningful decision. The Button calls and we see a flop.

The flop is the extremely dry and non-dynamic Q♠4♥7♣. This is a great spot for us to continuation bet with our entire range as we have a massive range advantage. It will be difficult for our opponent to continue when they don’t connect with this flop, and most of their range doesn’t connect. Given the texture of the flop, we could size our c-bet down to $20 or so, but we choose to use a half pot sizing of $25 which is quite reasonable.

On the Qd turn, it is likely that we are either way ahead or way behind. When our opponent doesn’t have a queen, every hand in their range except 65s is drawing to two outs. When we are behind we are almost always drawing to two outs (sometimes 4 when our opponent has 44/77). In situations where we are either way ahead or way behind typically the best strategy is to get to a controlled showdown and keep our opponent’s range as wide as possible.

We could value bet here however we end up in a very precarious spot when our opponent raises. In this particular spot, Small Blind vs Button, we can reasonably expect our opponent to have floated the flop with a very wide range. Checking here is a great option both to keep Villain’s raise wide and induce bets out of many hands that would float, some of which (for instance, back door flush draws) are drawing dead at this point.

Continued below…

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We check and Villain bets a little under half the pot, making this is a great situation for us as our opponent has a very wide range and we easily have one of the best hands in our entire range at this point. There is no reason to raise here as we want to keep our opponent’s range as wide as possible.

On the 2h river we check and Villain bets $80 into a $190 pot. This is a somewhat scary move as our opponent is unlikely to make this sort of bet as a bluff, and they could potentially be value betting JJ/TT/99/88 and sometimes even A7s.

There is also the chance they’re running a pure bluff off the flop float or a bluff with 65s. So even though this bet is somewhat scary, we have one of the best possible hands in our range, we’re getting favorable pot odds, and our opponent has enough bluffs and value bets with worse hands in their range to easily justify calling here.

We will lose to Qx or better some percentage of the time. However, if we fold AA here, we would be folding almost 100% of the hands in our range, which would make us very exploitable

Calling is the best play.

How would you play it?
Share your answer in the comments below!