A♥K♥ Preflop Facing Two All-Ins, what do you do here?

Facing Two All-ins Preflop with AK-optmzd.gif

In the middle stages of a Tournament with 200/400 blinds and a 400 big blind ante, the UTG player folds and MP1 limps. You raise to 1,200 from MP2 with A♥K♥ and both the Hijack and Cutoff fold. The Button goes all-in for 4,450, both Blinds fold, and MP1 reraises to 25,000 putting you all-in. Action is on you, what do you do here?

PRO ANSWER: We are playing the middle stages of a tournament with 200/400 blinds and a 400 big blind ante and are dealt A♥K♥ in MP2. It folds to MP1 with 25,400 chips who open limps. We are well ahead of a MP1 open limping range, and while our hand does play reasonably well multiway, it is far too strong to not raise with here.

We decide to raise to 1,200 chips. A slightly larger raise size is recommended in this spot to put MP1 to a more meaningful decision preflop since our opponent will be getting tremendous pot odds with a smaller raise size. It then folds around to the Button who moves all-in.

The Button has a fairly short stack to begin the hand of 4,450 chips, or around 11 big blinds. It is quite unlikely the Button expects everyone to fold since we will be getting a great price to call if MP1 folds. Because of this, they likely have a range of hands they think is stronger than what we would isolate a middle position limper with. It folds around to the original middle position limper who also moves all-in.

Continued below...

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In this particular spot there is a huge incentive for MP1 to force us out of the pot and get to play heads up with dead money in the middle versus the Button’s range. Since MP1 has to show down the best hand to win they won’t be doing this with a very wide range. However, all of the hands that will hold up well in all-in situations such as small to mid pairs, broadway cards, and some Ax combos, could easily be in their shoving range.

We started the hand with ~35 big blinds and are up against a Button who is short enough that they need to take some risks with their stack and a MP1 open limper who could easily have hands like 66 or AQ here giving us a lot of equity versus their entire range.

If we had 60+ BBs here perhaps we could consider passing on this spot and looking for others, but with our stack we have to be willing to take +EV spots even if it risks our tournament. We don't have any compelling reads on MP1 to indicate this default assessment is not accurate.

Our hand is just too strong here and has too much equity against both of the potential ranges we are up against.

Calling is the best play.

How would you play it?
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