A♥K♥ vs a Preflop 3-Bet, what do you do here?

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DECISION POINT:
In a Tournament where blinds are 200/400, it folds to you in Middle Position and you raise to 1,600 with A♥K♥. The MP2 player calls and the Small Blind 3-Bets to 6,000. The Big Blind folds and action is on you. What do you do here?

PRO ANSWER: It is folds to us preflop with AKs in Middle Position and we raise to 1,600 chips. This raise is likely too large, unless there is a very unusual table dynamic. Generally, we can open raise to 3 big blinds or less in tournaments, but sometimes higher when larger amounts are necessary to thin the field.

We are called by the Middle Position player to our left and it folds around to the Small Blind who reraises to 6,000. The Big Blind folds and the action is on us.

The Small Blind vs a Middle Position opener and caller likely has a fairly strong range. Something like TT+/AQ+ and possibly a few bluffs like A5s/A4s for balance. Versus this range we have roughly 53.8% equity. Calling here presents many problems for us.

  • First, we miss with AK on a vast majority of flops
  • Second, if we call the pot is going to be at least 14k and possible closer to 19k if the player behind us calls. That will be a SPR of ≈ 1.5 making postflop play fairly tricky and the cost of sometimes folding the best hand very high.

Continued below…

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Ace King suited preflop is a great semi-bluffing hand since it has significant equity versus just about any reasonable range, and situations where we can move all-in and create significant fold equity are great spots with this hand.

Given the amount of chips in the pot, the amount of fold equity we can generate, and our equity versus our opponents range, this is a great spot to move all in preflop.

Moving all-in is the best play.

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