Missed the Flop with A♠K♥, what do you do here?

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DECISION POINT:
In a Tournament you raise preflop with A♠K♥ and get two callers. Do you check or bet on this J♦7♦10♠ flop?

PRO ANSWER: When deciding whether or not to continuation bet on the flop after raising preflop, you should analyze a few factors. First, you should consider whether or not you have a hand strong enough to take to showdown as well as your hand’s chance of improving on future streets.

In this case, we currently have just ace high, but have some outs to improve to a straight (4 queens) or top pair (any ace or king). Given this board, we should heavily discount the top pair outs as well as the queen of diamonds, since we shouldn’t be willing to put in significant chips on those cards. Overall, we don’t hold a strong hand or draw in this situation.

Continued below...

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Given that you don’t have a strong hand or draw, how likely are you to win this pot uncontested if we continuation bet? Factors that influence the chance of bluffing successfully include number of opponents, board texture and position. In this case, you are out of position facing multiple opponents on a highly coordinated (easy to hit) board. This makes betting as a bluff unprofitable.

Since you don’t have a good hand, a good draw or the ability to profitably bluff, you should not continuation bet in this spot. You should simply check and be willing to fold to any standard bet.

Checking is the best play.

What would you do here?
Share your answer in the comments below!