A♠A♥ vs an Overbet on the River, what do you do here?

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In a live $1-3 game you raise from Cutoff to $20 with A♠A♥ after the Middle Position players limp, and only MP2 calls. You c-bet the Q♣8♦3♥ flop and get called. The Q♠ turn gets checked down. Villain leads out $80 on the 5♦ river and action is on you. What do you do here?

PRO ANSWER: We’ve played our hand very standard up until this point by raising preflop over a limper to isolate their wide hand range with our premium hand and continuation betting half the pot on a fairly dry flop (we could potentially bet even smaller here if we wanted).

When the top card Queen pairs, we check behind with one pair on this dry board both to induce potential bluffs on the river and possibly get our opponent to call a value bet with a hand like 98s or even 66 or something similar after they check to us on the river.

On the river, our opponent somewhat surprisingly bets into us for a fairly large amount ($80 into a $97 pot). By making a somewhat sizable bet, Villain is representing a fairly polarized range of Qx/33/88 and some missed draws with hands including J9s/JT/T9s. Villain could perhaps be turning a hand like 44 into a bluff as well, although typically most medium strength hands that check-call the flop are fairly content to try and get to a cheap showdown.

Continued below…

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Needing to call $80 to win $177 with pocket aces seems like an easy decision, but when we break it down there just aren’t many potential bluffs in our opponent’s range on this board texture. How loose Villain limped preflop with off suit combinations of hands like JT/T9 will often significantly impact their potential bluffing frequency.

If we had any sort of significant bet sizing tell here or reads on our opponent that their bluff frequency is low we may be able to find a fold here. Many low stakes cash game players would bet smaller with 8x type hands here and bigger with big hands/bluffs, and a low bluff frequency can be quite common in more passive games. Since we don’t have any reads, by default our hand is just too strong to fold in this situation.

Calling is the best play.

How would you play it?
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