A♦A♣ vs a Check-Raise, what do you do here?
DECISION POINT: In a live $2-5 game an Early Position player raises to $20. Both Middle Position players fold and you reraise from Hijack to $65 with A♦A♣. It folds back around to UTG+1 who calls. The flop comes 2♠6♦9♥ and UTG+1 checks. You bet $50 and your opponent raises to $150. Action is on you, what do you do here?
PRO ANSWER: In a $2-5 cash game we are dealt pocket aces in the Hijack seat. UTG folds and UTG+1 raises to $20. It folds to us and we have a decision to make. Since we have the best preflop hand in poker, we are ahead of our opponent’s opening hand range and we would rather not get multiple callers. With that in mind a raise is in order.
Villain is starting with 80 big blinds and there is no compelling reason to make a bigger raise than the standard 3 times the total raise amount. We decide to make it a little larger than 3x and raise to $65 which slightly larger that the default sizing however not large enough to be a major factor. Everyone else folds and UTG+1 calls.
The flop is 2s6d9h which is one of the better flops for us that doesn’t contain an ace. Our opponent checks and this is an excellent spot for us to bet. Given how dry the board is and how big of a range advantage we have here, we want to bet on the smaller side with our entire range.
In a 3-bet pot preflop we have such an advantage on this flop that we could easily justify betting 25-33% of the pot with our entire range. We opt to go a little larger than that and make it $50 and our opponent check raises to $150.
At this point with a stack to pot ratio (SPR) of around 3 on the flop, an overpair is WAY too strong to consider folding. Our opponent’s range definitely contains a lot of TT-QQ, A9s, and the occasional 87s or even 54s. There could be the occasional bluff in there as well with 99/66/22. We are well ahead of their overall range so we need to consider the best way to get to showdown here.
If we shove, our opponent will likely fold all of their bluffs and maybe even some of their weaker value hands like A9s or TT.
Calling here allows our opponent to continue their bluff on the turn or even think some of the weaker value hands in their range could still be good. In addition, our opponent has few outs against us when we are ahead. If we had a smaller over pair, an argument could be made for shoving, but not with AA.
Calling is the best play.
How would you play it?
Share your answer in the comments below!
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