A♣K♣ in a Multiway Flop, what do you do here?

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DECISION POINT:
In the middle stages of a Tournament with 150/300 blinds and a 30 ante, the MP2 player raises to 660 and you reraise to 1,950 with A♣K♣ from the Hijack. The Cutoff and Button both fold, the Small Blind calls, the Big Blind folds and the original raiser in MP2 calls. The flop comes 3♥5♠5♥ and the Small Blind and MP2 player check. Action is on you, what do you do here?

PRO ANSWER: We are playing the middle stages of a multi-table tournament with 150/300 blinds with a 30 ante at a 6 handed table. We are dealt A♣K♣ in the Hijack seat. The first player to act raises to 660 and action is on us.

If the standard raise size at this table is this small MP2 should be opening a fairly wide range of hands given this risk vs reward on their raise. With this raise size you’re risking 660 to win 600 when you open. So even without one of the best five starting hands in poker we should be 3-betting here wider than we would if the blinds were 50/100 with an opening raise to 300.

AKs is extremely strong in this spot and it is far ahead of MP2’s opening range, so we reraise to 1,950. Action folds to the Small Blind who flat calls. The Big Blind folds, the original raiser calls and we’re off to the flop.

The flop is 3♥5♠5♥ and both players check to us. This flop is better for our range than our opponents as no one is likely to have a 5 in their hand and we should have all the bigger over pairs that aren’t likely to be in our opponent’s range. That being said there are a couple of factors really working against us here.

Continued below...

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First, the Small Blind is representing a very narrow, condensed range when they cold call the preflop 3-bet here. This means that while they are unlikely to have AA/KK here, the Small Blind's range is often narrowed to something like TT-QQ/AK/AQs as they called a raise and a reraise without closing the action. Since we block many of their AK/AQs hands the Small Blind is very likely to have a significant overpair in this spot.

Second, the stack to pot ratio (SPR) here is around 2. This means even if we make a relatively small continuation bet like 2,100 and get called by a single player the pot will be 10,500 on the turn with an effective stack of 10,150. We are unlikely to be able to leverage our stack into generating folds against hands like TT that are in our opponent’s range.

If the stacks were much deeper and we could use our stack to apply leverage vs hands like TT/JJ in this spot then a continuation bet along with a multi-street bluff on certain runouts would make a lot of sense. However, with a relatively low SPR, against multiple opponents with narrow ranges that are unlikely to both fold this flop a continuation bet, a c-bet is unlikely to accomplish much other than moving more of our chips into one of our opponent’s stacks.

This is a very sharp contrast from the AK hand discussed a few weeks ago, where we had AK in the Small Blind vs a single opponent in a 3-bet pot with much deeper stacks and much wider ranges where we continuation bet on a similar flop.

Checking is the best play.

How would you play it?
Share your answer in the comments below!


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