K♥Q♥ in the Small Blind, what do you do here?

KQ in the Small Blind-optmzd.gif


DECISION POINT:
In a Tournament where blinds are 400/800 with a 100 ante it folds to the Hijack who moves all-in for 3,826 (5BBs). The Cutoff calls, the Button folds, and action is on you in the Small Blind with K♥Q♥ (and a 19BB stack). What do you do here?

PRO ANSWER: We are playing in the middle stages of a multi-table tournament. The blinds are 400/800 with a 100 ante. We are dealt KhQh in the Small Blind. Action folds around to the Hijack who shoves all-in for 3,826 chips, or roughly 5 big blinds. The Cutoff calls the Hijack's shove and action folds around to us.

This is a very interesting spot because our KQs is certainly ahead of the Hijack’s 5 big blind shoving range, but interacts with the Cutoff’s calling range uniquely. The Cutoff likely calls with hands including medium to big pocket pairs, some Ax hands, and a lot of suited broadway type hands. Our hand is right in the middle of that range.

If we raise, we potentially isolate a player with a wide range and get to play a ~17BB pot as a significant equity favorite. However, when we do reraise to isolate and the Cutoff calls us, we are likely behind and often out of the tournament. When we decide just call the Hijack's shove as well and see a flop our hand plays well multiway.

In addition, players are less incentivized to bet into a dry side pot as a bluff, since they have to show down for the main pot with the original raiser no matter what. If they are theoretically bluffing less often that allows us to realize our equity more frequently.

Continued below...

Digital Training Events 300x250.png


Running this through a simulator the decision is very close. Flatting here has a positive expectation of 0.34 big blinds profit, while isolation raising has a positive expectation of 0.33 big blinds profit. One surprising result of this simulation is that we are calling here with nearly 18% of hands and only isolation raising our biggest hands, in this case 99+, AQ+ and KJs.

The lesson here is that in theory we should be only raising big hands for value and mostly calling hands that play reasonably well multiway and interact with our opponent’s ranges well (like suited broadway hands and pocket pairs).

If are playing against an opponent we observed to have a large range gap in this spot by flatting too many hands here and folding to shoves to often, then we should start making exploitative adjustments to isolation raise much more frequently.

Without that specific read, we should include KQs in our wider calling range and keep a tight isolation raising range. By calling, we let the dry side pot help protect our equity in the hand.

Calling is the best play.

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


THE WPT GTO TRAINER
The Fastest Way to Learn GTO Strategy

The WPT GTO Trainer allows you to Play and Train against True GTO Opponents and get real-time Feedback and Analysis on Your Actions.

Choose from Cash Game and Tournament scenarios (including Small Stakes cash games) and receive immediate feedback on YOUR play compared to GTO including EV (expected value) Loss, Percentage Played, and the Ideal Action.

Click the button below and play the WPT GTO Trainer for free....


Join LearnWPT.com for just $5 your First Month of Membership and play through hundreds of solved hands per hour (anytime, anywhere, and as many hands as you want) on the WPT GTO Trainer!