Poker Quiz! J♦J♠ Preflop Facing a 3-Bet, What Do You Do?


DECISION POINT: You are in an online multi-table Tournament where blinds are 500/1,000 with a 100 standard ante and have a 18BB stack. First to act in the UTG seat you look down at J♦J♠ and raise to 2,100. A Middle Position player (with 20BBs) 3-bets to 3,200, the rest of the table folds and action is on you.

What do you do here?

PRO ANSWER: We are in the middle stages of an online tournament with blinds at 500/1,000 and a 100 ante. We raise Under the Gun to 2,100 with pocket jacks and the MP1 player reraises to 3,200. Action folds back to us.

Hands like JJ and TT play better as 4-bet shoves facing a 3-bet vs flat-calling in general, as they have sufficient equity against reasonable hand ranges but have a hard time realizing their equity postflop. This is in large part due to the inability to get value with these pocket pairs from lower ranked pocket pairs in their opponent’s range on overcard flops. In this spot MP1’s range is often tight enough to warrant a call instead of a shove given stack sizes.

Folding to the min-reraise would definitely be a mistake, as we only need to call 1,100 more to play an 8,800 chip pot. That means we need to realize 12.5% equity (11/88) to continue by calling. That is certainly attainable, as we have over 35% equity when we assume a reasonable linear value range for MP1 consisting of premiums only that contains no bluffs. With JJ we are just under 20% equity against an ultra-premium range of KK+.

The real question is if we need to adjust the assumption about the narrowness of MP1’s range as a result of the min-reraise to change our strategy from shoving to calling.

Continued below ...

The more narrow their range, the more we should lean toward calling vs shoving. It's true that opponents often take this minimum reraise sizing only with monsters like AA and sometimes KK. In other instances it’s often a misclick reraise with a much weaker calling hand.

Taking all of these factors into consideration, given that we are raising from UTG with and an 18 big blind stack, this min-reraise from MP1 with only 20 big blinds screams strength.

As an exploitative adjustment against an ultra-premium range, we could call and only continue postflop when we improve by flopping a set, overpair plus straight draw, or flush draw on a monotone board.

If we believe MP1’s range is slightly wider than ultra-premium hands but still very value heavy, we could call and continue on any flops that don't contain a Q, K, or A. If we believe their raising range is wider than a premium, then we should reraise all-in preflop.

Calling is the best play vs most opponents.

How would you play it?
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