Facing a Raise with A♥A♠, what do you do here?
DECISION POINT: In a $2-5 cash game with 100BB stacks the Button opens to $15 and you raise to $60 from the Big Blind with A♥A♠. The Button calls and the flop comes 8♠A♣Q♥. You bet $30 and Villain raises to $130. Action is on you, what do you do here?
PRO ANSWER: We are dealt A♥A♠ in the Big Blind in a 100BB deep cash game. Action folds to the Button who makes a standard raise to $15 and we reraise to $60. The Button calls and we’re off to see the flop.
We hit the flop hard with top set on the 8♠A♣Q♥ board. With $122 in the pot and $440 effective stack, there is some potential consideration for slow playing. If we take a closer look at this flop and how it interacts with both ranges we'll see that it interacts with the Button’s range somewhat frequently. This spot is really close.
If we use a solver and choose 3 possible actions of checking, betting $30, and betting $90, betting $30 is preferred 54% of the time and checking is preferred 46% of the time. If the flop is slightly less coordinated, checking will become favored at a higher frequency.
Adding hands like top set and top two pair that block a significant portion of our opponent’s big hands into our checking range can help protect the times we want to check in a similar spot with hands such as pocket tens. We elect to bet $30 in this instance and our opponent raises to $130.
This is a spot where many players lose patience and are tempted to just go all-in, especially given they have the best possible hand at the moment and their opponent is raised. Defaulting to all-in in these spots leaves a lot of potential money on the table. Opponents who are aggressive will be raising with some bluffs, and when we just go all-in here we let all those hands off the hook.
Sometimes our opponent does have draws in their range and if we just call some of those draws may get there when they would have otherwise folded to our raise. However those instances make up a very small overall percentage of their range. Even if the opponent is raising with a hand like JTs has 8 outs that could hit on the turn, we still have 10 outs to a full house (or quads) on the river.
Good opponents will usually just call here with JTs because they often have to fold if they get shoved on. As the in position player the opponent has a ton of float equity when they miss, meaning it is more likely against solid opponents that they are raising here with around 4 outs at best when they have draws.
Unlike our flop decisions, the recommended actions by the solver are not even close and calling here is by far the best play. When our opponent has a huge hand like 88/A8s we usually get all the chips no matter what, so keeping bluffs in their range here allows us to maximize our overall profit versus their entire range.
Calling is the best play.
How would you play it?
Share your answer in the comments below!
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