A♦J♣ on the Flop, what do you do here?

AJ on the Flop-optimized.gif


DECISION POINT:
In a Cash Game, it folds to the Cutoff who raises. The Button folds and you reraise from the Small Blind with A♦J♣. The Big Blind folds and the Cutoff calls. The Flop comes J♠7♥7♣. You bet and the Cutoff raises. Action is on you, what do you do here?

PRO ANSWER: In this situation we must make a decision on the flop in this 3-bet pot. We should know whether we are calling down to keep our opponent’s range wide or if we're just folding our hand at the earliest possible moment. As a general rule in poker we are going to save many chips by exiting hands that aren't getting to showdown (and aren't getting proper odds to draw when behind) as early as possible.

There aren't many scenarios where we would be comfortable getting $520 effective stacks in postflop in a $60 pot with just one pair. Technically it's two pair, but both of us have the pair of sevens. The only way we would consider calling down here is if we read our opponent as capable of getting all of their chips in with a much worse hand here or if they are bluffing a VERY large percentage of the time.

We have no reason to believe that this player’s bluff frequency is abnormally high and it is unlikely they will raise for value with any worse hands that ours. That means we are likely beat and the deeper stacks in this hand dictate caution in these spots.

Continued below...

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These decisions add up a lot over the long run. A good win rate at 1/2 is around $20/hr, and calling $70 on this flop if we are only continuing on the turn if a jack hits is the equivalent of undoing around 3.5 hrs of hard work at the table!

Against a player with an unusually high bluffing frequency in these spots, we could call with the intention of taking our hand to showdown. However, with no evidence that our opponent is bluffing too often in similar situations, we should exercise discipline and not continue in this spot.

Folding is the best play.

What would you do here?
Share your answer in the comments below!