A♠Q♠ vs the Button, what do you do here?

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In a $1-2 game action folds to you in the Cutoff seat and you raise to $10 with A♠Q♠. The Button reraises to $30, both Blinds fold, and you call. You check the Q♣5♥T♠ flop and the Button bets $16. Action is on you, what do you do here?

PRO ANSWER: We are playing in a $1-2 cash game with 100 BB effective stacks and are dealt AsQs in the Cutoff seat. It folds around to us and we open to $10, which is the standard open at this table, and our opponent raises to $30. It folds back to us and we elect to call.

The flop is Qc5hTs and we flop top pair with top kicker and a backdoor flush draw. When we are out of position as the preflop caller we are going to check to the preflop raiser nearly 100% of the time. While there are some extremely rare instances where it can make sense to lead we should be checking in this spot as a default. We do check and our opponent bets $16 into a $63 pot.

Folding is not a consideration in this spot so we have to decide between calling or raising. This is a fairly coordinated board but our hand actually doesn’t benefit that much from protection here.

Continued below...

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We have an ace which means if our opponent does have KJ we have a blocker to them making the straight. Over cards are also less of a concern because a hand like AK only has 3 outs here instead of 6.

Having a queen in our hand actually makes it harder to get value here versus lesser hands with a check-raise as well. Our opponent will have very few Qx hands in their range given there are only two queens left in the deck which means when we do check-raise and get action it is more likely to be a hand like KK.

So our hand is much too strong to fold, but it doesn’t benefit that much from protection and is unlikely to get much action from worse hands if we were to check-raise. Given all that information we can rule out both folding and raising.

Calling has the added benefit of keeping our opponent's hand range as wide as possible, allowing them to sometimes bluff on future streets with hands that have little to no equity against ours.

Calling is the best play.

How would you play it?
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