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

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DECISION POINT: Blinds are 5/10 in a 7-handed turbo tournament, it folds to you in Hijack and you raise with A♣K♠. The Cutoff calls and everyone else folds. You c-bet the K♣Q♠5♦ flop and the Cutoff raises. Action is on you, what do you do here?

PRO ANSWER: It folds to us in the Hijack with AKo during the early levels of a fast-structured Tournament with 5/10 blinds. We make a standard raise to 40 and are flat called by the Cutoff. We are heads up to the flop of KcQs5d and make a continuation bet of 40 into a 95 pot. Typically on a more coordinated board like this our continuation bet should be closer to 70% of the pot size, but given how shallow the stacks currently are this c-bet sizing is effective enough to get the job done.

Villain minimum raises to 80 and action is back on us. There are two critical factors to consider at this point in the hand that are somewhat conflicting with one another:

  1. Villain makes a minimum raise. Since our opponent has to think it’s extremely unlikely we will fold to such a small raise in this spot, they are unlikely to be bluffing which is a sign of strength.
  2. The Stack to Pot ratio (SPR) at the start of the flop was just over 2.

The reason SPR is important in this situation is because the shallower the stacks are, the bigger a mistake we are making by folding our equity and giving up our share of the pot (since it represents a much larger portion of our stack). The deeper the stacks are, the bigger mistake we are making when we put too many additional chips in with the worst of it since our current equity in the pot represents a much smaller portion of our overall stack.

Continued below...

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Typically in a heads up pot with a SPR of less than 3, top pair is far too strong to fold given its equity versus any reasonable range at this stack depth. Even though Villain is likely to have a hand they think is ahead on this flop, with a hand as strong as top pair + top kicker and stacks this shallow our equity versus their range is too high to fold.

If we’re not folding then we must either move all-in or call. The difference in equity between these two decisions is likely to be quite close, however given the pot size in relation to our stack we would be quite happy if our opponent folded their hand here.

Moving all-in is the best play.

What would you do here?
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