A♠K♣ vs a Preflop Raise and Reraise, what do you do here?

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DECISION POINT: In a Tournament where blinds are 15/30, an Early Position player raises and a Middle Position player reraises. It folds around to you in the Big Blind with A♠K♣ and action is on you. What do you do here?

PRO ANSWER: We are dealt AKo in the Big Blind in the early stages of a tournament at 15/30 blinds. The UTG player raises 4 BBs to 120, UTG+1 folds and MP1 reraises to 270, or 9 BBs total. It folds around to us and we’re faced with a tough decision. Calling here seems out of the question as it would be a very large percentage of our stack and UTG is priced in to call (or perhaps even reraise). Taking this to a flop vs 2 opponents out of position seems like a recipe for disaster.

After taking these factors into account we can eliminate calling and narrow our choices to reraising or folding. The UTG player is likely to have an Early Position raising range, something like any pair, AJ+, some suited broadway cards, and perhaps even some suited Ax hands. While UTG’s range is somewhat narrow, AKo is still well ahead of it.

What about MP1? Without any player specific knowledge we have to assume they are a reasonable player, and may have a range that includes JJ+/AK/AQs. Perhaps MP1 would include a few bluffs as well like A4s/A5s. If MP1 is super tight and never bluffs we are slightly behind their overall range.

Continued below...

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Part of the strength of AK comes from the fact that it is an excellent semi-bluffing hand. AK is rarely truly “behind” any holding as it has roughly 30% equity even against KK. MP1 may even fold a hands like JJ, which is ahead of our AK.

We rarely behind with AK, there are over 400 chips in the middle and we have the ability to generate significant fold equity (our shove would be around 5x MP1s raise). These factors make moving all-in our best option.

If we had player specific information that MP1 was only capable of making this raise with KK/AA then we could find a fold. We could also sometimes fold here if the stacks were 100BB deep or greater and we were facing narrow ranges.

Moving all-in is the best play.

What would you do here?
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