Q♥Q♦ Facing an Aggressive Player, what do you do here?

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DECISION POINT: In a live $1-2 game it folds to a Middle Position player who limps. You raise to $14 from the Hijack with Q♥Q♦. It folds to the Button who calls. The Small Blind folds, the Big Blind calls, and MP2 folds. The flop comes K♣T♦2♥ and the BB (who you previously noted as aggressive) leads out for $20. You call and the Button folds. Big Blind checks the K♥ turn and action is on you, what do you do here?

PRO ANSWER: In a $1-2 cash game we are dealt QQ in the Hijack seat. It folds to MP2 who open limps for $2. With a hand as strong as pocket queens we definitely want to raise here, and the standard amount would be whatever the normal opening raise size is plus 1 big blind (in this case, $2) for each limper. In most live $1-2 games the standard opening raise size is between $10-$15. In this particular instance we decide to make it $14 and it folds to the Button who calls. The Big Blind also calls and the original limper from MP2 folds.

The flop is KcTd2h and the Big Blind leads for $20 into a $45 pot. We happen to have opponent specific information here that the Big Blind is quite aggressive. Even against an unknown player, calling a “donk bet” (when a player leads into the preflop raiser) with a hand as strong as pocket queens on this board is a reasonable play. Once we factor in that we know this player is quite a bit more aggressive than average our decision becomes an even more straightforward call.

There is no reason to raise in this spot as we would likely make the Big Blind fold all the hands we beat and continue with only those hands that beat us. While it is possible our opponent can have a draw, we do have two queens in our hand which blocks the most obvious draw (QJ) on this board. We do call and the Button folds.

Continued below...

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The turn is the Kh. This is a great card for us. With two kings on the board it becomes even less likely that our opponent has one in their hand. The Big Blind checks to us and now we are faced with a tough decision. It is quite likely we have the best hand in this particular scenario when action checks to us. Most of the hands that we beat in this spot cannot call many more chips and include hands such as Tx/JJ, possibly AJ, plus some complete bluffs from more aggressive players. We are completely dominated by hands that are ahead and there are still quite a few chips behind to play for.

Sometimes these situations are referred to as “way ahead/way behind” scenarios. When we are ahead, our opponent is often drawing to 2-3 outs, but when we’re behind we are often drawing to just 2 outs (when we have outs at all). In these scenarios we often want to take a passive line to showdown to keep our opponent’s hand range as wide as possible allowing them to bluff or sometimes even value bet with their worse hand.

This is a spot where we should check behind and plan on calling any reasonable bet on the river. If we are checked to on the river we could make a small value bet as well.

Checking is the best play.

How would you play it?
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