Flopped Top Pair with K♦J♦, what do you do here?
DECISION POINT: In a $2-5 game it folds to the Cutoff who open raises to $15. You call from the Button with K♦J♦ and both Blinds fold. The flop comes 8♣2♣K♥ and your opponent bets $15 into the $37 pot. Action is on you, what do you do here?
PRO ANSWER: We are playing in a $2-5 cash game and are dealt KdJd on the Button. It folds around to the Cutoff who opens to $15. Both reraising and calling preflop with this hand are reasonable plays. Good players often implement a mixed strategy where they sometimes raise and sometimes call with this hand on the Button. Using mixed strategies makes us much tougher to play against.
You can randomize between reraising and calling by using a the second hand on a watch or by using specific suits. In this case, we decide to call and the Blinds fold. The flop is 8c2cKh. We flopped top pair with a decent kicker on a very disconnected two tone board. Our opponent bets $15 into the $37 pot.
This is a spot where players often vastly overestimate how many flush draws their opponents have and want to raise to “protect their hand”. In this spot on a king high disconnected board, our opponent has a significant range advantage. Though our specific hand is quite strong here, on average our opponent is going to have a much stronger hand than we have when evaluating both of our entire ranges.
With a significant range advantage our opponent is quite likely to bet nearly their entire range, and are correct in doing so. When we raise here against our opponent's wide opening range we allow them to correctly fold many hands they may decide to bluff with again on the turn if we call, as well as a lot of hands like JJ/TT that may pay off a bet on a future street but are unlikely to call a raise.
Many players raise in this spot because they’re afraid of letting their opponent draw to an inexpensive flush. However, when evaluating our opponent’s overall range it includes very few flush draws in relation to all the possible hands they have to this point. Our hand benefits more by allowing our opponent to bluff across multiple streets and potentially allowing them to think a worse made hand is worth calling with on a future street.
In the long run, just calling here versus strong players is a much more profitable play.
Calling is the correct play.
How would you play it?
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In a Cash Game with 100 big blind stacks, the Cutoff seat open raises to 3BBs and you call from the Button.
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