Flopped Top Pair with A♠K♥, what do you do here?

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In a live $1-3 game with a $6 Under The Gun straddle you raise to $25 from UTG+1 with A♠K♥. The UTG+2 player reraises to $60 and you are the only caller. The flops comes K♠T♦5♠ and you check. Your opponent bets $25 and action is on you. What do you do here?

PRO ANSWER: In a $1-3 cash game with a straddle Under The Gun, we are first to act with AKo. We make a standard raise to $25, the player to our immediate left reraises to $60 and it folds back to us. In some lower stakes games with more common opponents we may be able to have a strong enough read on our opponent to know they are only raising AA/KK here.

Calling and raising are both viable options against tougher opponents who can be reraising with a mixed or polarized strategy, and we should be doing each some portion of the time. In this situation we elect to just call and we’re off to the flop.

The flop is KsTh5s. Being out of position with a stack to pot ratio (SPR) or under 2, we are never folding postflop once we hit top pair/top kicker. It is now a matter of what is the best strategy to employ to get the money in.

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If our opponent is using some sort of mixed/polarized 3-betting strategy their range probably looks something like QQ+/AK/A5s/A4s. Given that range, even though this flop looks quite coordinated it’s highly unlikely they have a hand like QJs (if QJs is in their range we should have reraised preflop). We also have the As making it extremely unlikely our opponent has a flush draw.

When Villain has AA/KK we are dominated, and when they have AK we are highly unlikely to get them to fold. Our strategy should then focus on how we make the most money against hands like QQ/A5s/A4s.

Since most of those hands are quite weak on this board it makes the most sense to check and call down to keep their range as wide as possible. Doing so gives them the opportunity to bluff off their chips with their bluffs and pot commit themselves with hands like QQ, and the occasional JJ.

Calling is the best play.

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