Poker Quiz! At a Satellite Final Table with Q♦J♣...

At the Final Table with QJ

DECISION POINT: You are 4-handed at a winner-take-all Satellite Tournament with blinds at 100/200. The player in the Cutoff folds and you raise to $600 with Q♦J♣. The Small Blind reraises to $1,110 and you call. Your opponent checks the A♠A♣J♦ flop and action is on you.

What do you do here?

PRO ANSWER: We are at the final table of a winner-take-all Satellite Tournament with four players left. The blinds are 100/200 with no ante and we are dealt Q♦J♣ on the Button. The Cutoff folds and action is on us. QJo is definitely a hand that is in our raising range on the Button. Normally at 100/200 blinds with no ante we can make a smaller raise to 400 or 500, but at this table we elect to make a slightly larger raise to 600. The Small Blind reraises our open to 1,110 and the Big Blind folds.

The raise out of the Small Blind is barely over a minimum raise and it is giving us over 4:1 direct pot odds to call. While from some players this small sizing represents an extremely narrow range, it is quite unlikely we have worse than 20% equity versus any reasonable range. We also have position postflop, so realizing that equity is much more likely than it might be if we were out of position.

We call and the flop is A♠A♣J♦. This flop favors the Small Blind’s range and surprisingly the Small Blind checks. If our opponent is aware of how good this flop is for their range and how wide our range is in this spot they would most certainly be continuing betting many of their bluffs here. We’re unlikely to have folded many of the hands we opened with preflop and our range should be very wide on this flop given the tremendous pot odds we had to call.

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While it is possible they were bluffing preflop and just decided to give up now, the more likely scenario is that they are either slowplaying a big hand or they have a sort of hand that has some equity and wants to try and realize that equity with a cheap showdown. Hands that might fall into this category are KK/QQ/KQs/JTs/QJs/QTs/TT/99.

While there are a few better hands in that range we could potentially bluff out of their equity if we were to fire across multiple streets, that is largely offset by the times they may be slowplaying a big hand here and we lose more than we have to attempting to get hands like KK/QQ (and we block QQ to some extent) to fold. The rest of their range has few outs and is unlikely to pay us off across multiple streets.

This is a kind of “way ahead or way behind” scenario where our best course of action is usually to attempt to get to a controlled showdown while keeping our opponent’s range as wide as possible as to extract some extra value out of their worst holdings while losing less against their best.

Checking is the best play.

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

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