Poker Quiz! A♠Q♦ vs a Check-Raise, What Do You Do Here?
DECISION POINT: You are in a Tournament with blinds at 800/1600 and a 1600 big blind ante. The action folds to a Middle Position player who limps. You raise from the Cutoff to 6000 with A♠Q♦, the SB calls as does the MP2 player. The flop is A♣T♦6♥. Your opponents check, you bet 7800, the Small Blind check-raises to 20600, and MP2 folds.
Action is on you, what do you do here?
PRO ANSWER: In general, we would continue against this check-raise from the Small Blind in a heads up pot. Given that we bet around 35% pot in a spot where we will often c-bet with a high frequency, the Small Blind could be check-raising with a number of hands that we have beat. The relatively low SPR (stack to pot ratio) of approximately 3.5 is an argument for continuing as well.
However, the presence of another opponent on the flop makes this situation worse for us, since it should narrow the Small Blind's check-raising range. That fact makes this spot much closer than it appears at first glance. Many opponents only check-raise a very narrow range with a third player still in the hand.
Whether or not to continue with AQ comes down to how many semi-bluff check-raises are in the Small Blind's range. Their semi-bluff check-raising range could consist of gutshots and backdoor draws such as KQ suited, KJs, QJs, 89s or 78s. If their range contains only value hands such as AT, A6s, 66, TT, AQ+, then we have a clear fold.
Continued below ...
Given that MP2 checked the flop and we bet ~ 35% pot in a high c-bet frequency spot, we should include a number of those type of semi-bluff combos in the Small Blinds' range as a default.
Against an opponent that rarely or never check-raises as a semi-bluff in a multiway pot, we can get away from our AQ. Facing opponents that are capable of check-raising here with gutshots and backdoor draws, we should continue with AQ.
As a default, we should assume our opponents are capable of bluffing some of the time here, so continuing with AQ will be a profitable play. Since there are so few chips left to play and Villain can often turn lots of equity, we should often reraise all-in on the flop instead of calling, even though calling would also be profitable.
Moving all-in is the best play.
How would you play it?
Share your answer in the comments below!
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