A♠K♦ vs an All-in Check-Raise, what do you do here?

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DECISION POINT: In a live $2-5 game an Early Position player min-raises to $10. The UTG+1 player, Middle Position player, and the Hijack call. You raise to $75 from the Button with A♠K♦. The UTG+1 player calls and everyone else folds. Villain check-raises all-in for $480 on the A♦T♦5♦ flop. Action is on you, what do you do here?

PRO ANSWER: In a $2/$5 cash game we are dealt AKo on the Button. UTG raises to $10, UTG+1 calls, MP2 calls, the Hijack calls, and it is folded around to us. Even though the initial aggressor raised in early position, AKo is still likely ahead of their range and plays extremely poorly in multiway pots. Since AKo plays poorly in multiway pots we can rule calling out and since we are ahead of our opponent’s overall range we generally should raise. A typical raise in this situation would be to $30 however we have to account for the 3 callers.

If we made it $30 the other players would likely call. In this situation we should add in an additional $30 to account for opponent calls. When thinning the field we should err on the side of raising too much rather than too little. If we make raise too small and UTG calls, that could induce other players to call and we will end up playing a multiway pot anyway and with a very inflated pot. We decide to make it $75 which seems very reasonable. UTG folds, UTG+1 calls and the other players fold and we end up heads up as preferred.

The flop is AdTd5d. This is a monster flop for us. We have top pair, top kicker, and a nut flush draw. While our opponent does sometimes call both raises with suited connectors that flop flushes and pairs that potentially flopped sets here, even in the worst case scenarios we often have 9+ outs. At other times we are ahead of hands like AJ with the Jd or QT with the Qd where we are just in a VERY dominant position.

Continued below...

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Our opponent checks to us. We could be justified to bet quite small (around $50-$60) with our entire range in position on a monotone board like this. This flop in general is much better for us than for Villain. We decide to bet $80, just under half pot, which is also quite reasonable and our opponent check-raises all-in for $480. The pot is now $747 and we have to call $400 more.

We are getting almost 2:1. Even when we are behind we often have at least 7 outs (when they flop a flush) which gives us roughly 28% equity. If we knew they ONLY did this with flushes we could potentially fold, but given the low stack to pot ratio (SPR) their range should include a lot more Ax hands and pair + diamond hands that we are absolutely crushing. Our hand is just too strong versus their entire range to fold here.

Calling is the best play.

What would you do here?
Share your answer in the comments below!

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