In the Big Blind with A♣K♣, what do you do here?

In the Big Blind with AK - optmzd.gif


DECISION POINT:
In a live $2-5 game the Under the Gun player raises to $15 and it folds around to you in the Big Blind. You raise to $60 with A♣K♣ and your opponent calls. The flops comes J♠7♥T♠ and action is on you. What do you do here?

PRO ANSWER: We are playing in a cash game with a 3 big blind ($15) standard raise. The Under the Gun player opens to 3BBs and it folds around to us with AcKc. This is a hand that we are definitely going to want to have in our default preflop reraising range.

In games with players who open very tight in early position we could potentially make an exploitative adjustment and just call with this hand, but against reasonable early position opening ranges this is a very standard spot to reraise preflop. We decide to do just that and make it 4x their opening raise, $60 (12 big blinds).

The flop is Js7hTs. This is a very poor flop for our hand and our range. While we are reraising hands like JJ/TT a small percentage of the time preflop (the optimal strategy is a mixed one where we are reraising JJ/TT around 25% of the time) our opponent should be almost always raising these hands in early position and calling our reraise with them.

Continued below...

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This means that our opponent has a huge advantage here in that they show up with JJ/TT much more frequently than we do. They could potentially even have 98s and JTs whereas we rarely do.

While we can and do frequently have overpairs in this spot, our range on this flop is capped by the fact that we rarely have a hand stronger than one pair. We generally do not want to build a big pot in this spot when our opponent is the one most likely to have all the hands that are happy to play for all the chips.

Because of this we are stuck in a spot where we are checking with our entire range. It can sometimes feel bad to make a big raise with a premium hand preflop and then check the flop. However, we are out of position against a player whose range is doing far better in this spot than ours and absent any sort of player specific reads we are forced to regularly check in this particular spot.

Checking is the best play.

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


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