A♠K♦ Facing a Preflop All-In, what do you do here?
DECISION POINT: In a live $2-5 game two Early Position Players and a Middle Position player limp into the pot. It folds to you on the Button with A♠K♦ and you raise to $30. Both UTG players call and MP2 raises all-in to $380. Action is on you, what do you do here?
PRO ANSWER: In a $2-5 cash game the action starts with two Early Position limpers as well as a limp from Middle Position. It folds to us on the Button with AKo. Our hand is well ahead of the likely limping ranges and we want to make sure to put our opponents to meaningful decisions when we raise. If the standard raise at the table is $15 then the preferred raise sizing should include $5 for each limper, so $30 is appropriate here.
The two Early Position players call our raise and the Middle Position player moves all-in for $380. Now we have a decision to make. First, we need to put our opponent on a hand range. What hands would MP2 limp behind two limpers with, and then move all-in after being raised?
This would seem to signal strength, but do we think most players limp with AA/KK in this spot and risk seeing a multiway flop? Preflop calls usually encourage other preflop calls so unless it is a very active table where players could anticipate often being raised, the most likely scenario for our opponent when they call is that several other players call and they have to see a multiway pot with a big pocket pair. That is something most players try and avoid.
Typically, when a player overcalls and then reraises like this it often signals indecision and lack of discipline in our opponent. This player's range preflop includes hands that want to see the flop passively. Once the pot has been raised and it’s too expensive to call and see a flop, they convince themselves that we could just be raising the Button with any two cards. The result is our opponent turning a hand like a medium pocket pair or suited ace into a semi-bluff, since those hands do reasonably well in all-in situations.
Against an opponent with this approach our AK is quite a bit ahead of their hand range, and there is significant dead money in the pot. The combination of our equity versus our opponent's hand range and the price that we are getting from the pot is a very compelling reason to stay in this hand.
Given both Early Position players have a fair amount of money left in stacks we don’t really want to encourage them to call as well. If our opponent had a premium hand it’s unlikely they would have just limped preflop then call our raise. Isolating the Middle Position player here makes a lot of sense.
Moving all-in is the best play.
What would you do here?
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