A♥K♣ on the Turn, what do you do here?
DECISION POINT: In a live $1-3 game, a Middle Position player raises to $10. It folds to you on the Button with A♥K♣ and you reraise to $30. Both Blinds fold and MP2 calls. Villain checks the K♥T♣9♥ flop, you bet $40 and get a call. On the J♣ turn Villain bets $80 and action is on you. What do you do here?
PRO ANSWER: In a $1-3 cash game we are dealt AKo on the Button. It folds to MP2 who raises to $10 and it then folds around to us. We have a hand that is well ahead of MP2’s likely opening hand range and our hand plays best heads up as the preflop aggressor making this a great spot for us to raise. We make it $30 and it folds around to the original raiser who just calls.
The flop is KhTc9h and our opponent checks to us. This is a very coordinated flop and it's helpful that we have the Ah in our hand for the back door flush draw. Our hand is too strong to check here, but this is a flop that hits many hands in our opponent’s range and a lot of scary turn cards are out there (any Q, J, or heart). Even though this board is a bit scary, we are heads up in position and have a significant range advantage which makes betting warranted. We choose a sizing of $40 which seems reasonable considering all those factors. Our opponent flat calls and we get to see a turn card.
The Jc turn happens to be one of the scarier cards we can see. Our opponent bets out $80 into a $143 pot. This is a spot where it is very important for us to consider relative hand strength.
Though we started the hand with one of the top 5 preflop hands in No-Limit Hold’em, our hand on the turn is just one pair on a super coordinated board. Our opponent is very unlikely to be betting worse hands for value here which reduces our AK to being a 4 out draw to a straight and a bluff catcher. With the pot being $223 and us having to call $80 we are getting roughly 3:1 pot odds, which means our AK must be good a little over 25% of the time to justify calling here.
If we were against a tricky/aggressive opponent they could possibly turn this into a heart bluff often enough to justify calling here (although our Ah blocks a lot of the significant heart draws they can have). However, against most players they simply are not bluffing in this particular situation often enough to justify calling.
Folding is the best play.
How would you play it?
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