K♠Q♠ Facing a C-Bet, what do you do here?
DECISION POINT: In a Tournament where blinds are 1,000/2,000 with a 2,000 big blind ante a Middle Position player raises to 6,000. Action folds around to you in the Big Blind with K♠Q♠ and you call. You check the Q♣2♥4♥ flop and Villain bets 6,000. Action is back on you, what do you do here?
PRO ANSWER: We are playing in the later stages of a tournament with 1,000/2,000 blinds and a 2,000 big blind ante at a 8 handed table. We are dealt K♠Q♠ in the Big Blind. The Under the Gun player folds and MP1 opens to 6,000 chips. King Queen Suited is a hand that we can utilize a mixed strategy of both calling and 3-betting against a middle position opening range. Our frequency would be 3-bet around 25% of the time and call the other 75%. In this instance we do elect to call.
The flop is Q♣2♥4♥. As a general rule when defending in the Big Blind vs a single opponent we should be checking our entire range to the preflop raiser. We do check here and the Middle Position player continuation bets 6,000 chips and action is on us.
This is a spot where many players are tempted to check-raise to protect their hand with two hearts on the board. The Middle Position player likely has a fair amount of suited cards in their overall range. However, the postflop stack to pot ratio (SPR) is over 15 here, and combinations containing two hearts makes up a fairly small percentage of Villain's overall range.
If we were to get all the chips in on the flop it is extremely unlikely that we would have the best hand with stacks this deep. If we check-raise and are called, we often will face a tough spot on many turn cards with a bloated pot out of position.
If the stacks were significantly shorter here check-raising would be a much more often taken line. At this stack depth, check-raising is less favored compared to calling.
This particular board is relatively dry aside from the flush draw so our opponent should be continuation betting nearly their entire range, which is an argument for calling as well. By just calling with our hand we give our opponents the opportunity to continue bluffing on future streets with the worst hand. Check-raising lets our opponents simply fold their bluffs and allows them to mostly continue with a range that either beats or has significant equity against us while they are in position.
Protecting your hand can be a viable strategy in certain situations, but with a top pair hand with no redraws over 100 big blinds deep we are much better off taking a bluff catching line.
Calling is the best play.
How would you play it?
Share your answer in the comments below!
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