Poker Quiz! Trip Kings Facing a Check-Raise, What Do You Do?
DECISION POINT: In a live $1/$2 game it folds to the Cutoff player who raises to $5. You reraise to $15 from the Button with K♣Q♣ and only the Cutoff calls. The flop is K♥T♣3♠ and your c-bet of $16 gets called. The turn is the K♦ and the Cutoff checks. You bet $32, your opponent check-raises to $96, and action is on you.
What do you do here?
PRO ANSWER: In a $1/$2 cash game we are dealt KQs on the Button. Action folds around to the Cutoff who raises to $5. Our specific hand is an excellent candidate to reraise on the Button here, as it is ahead of Cutoff’s likely hand range and plays very well heads up in position. We reraise to $15 and the Cutoff is the only caller.
The flop is KhTc3s and the Cutoff checks. We flop top pair with a good kicker and a backdoor flush and straight draw. This flop also significantly favors the preflop raiser’s range over the preflop caller’s range so this is an excellent spot to continuation bet. Given our range advantage and our hand’s lack of vulnerability since we block QJ which is the most significant drawing hand here, a purely game theory optimal (GTO) strategy would have us c-betting closer to ⅓ pot. We elect to use a slightly larger sizing of $16, or closer to half pot, and our opponent flat calls.
The turn is the Kd giving us three of a kind and the Cutoff checks again. AK is likely not a significant part of Villain’s range here as most players would have reraised preflop, so we’re well ahead of many of their hands and really only behind KTs/TT/33 that they may have played the hand this way. We bet $32 and the Cutoff check-raises to $96.
Continued below ...
Now, realistically the most likely hands that beat us here are KTs (2 combinations remaining), plus TT and 33 (3 combinations each). Based on these assumptions that means we are currently behind 8 of the combinations in the Cutoff’s likely range. Our opponent could also be doing this with a hand like KJ (8 combinations).
Although realistically they may only play the suited versions here, slow played pocket AA (6 combinations), the remaining KQ hands we don’t hold (3 combinations), and the occasional bluff. We can discount some of the KJ combinations given the Cutoff is unlikely to play all the offsuit versions. Additionally we can discount some AA combinations as they would elect to reraise preflop with some frequency. This decision is actually much closer than it appears on the surface, even though we have 3 of a kind and a strong kicker.
Since our hand is very close when up against the Cutoff’s value raising range here, if we continue it is very important to allow our opponent to keep bluffing with AJ/AQ/QJ type hands in their range.
If we go all-in here the Cutoff may fold some bluffs that they would potentially shove the river with if we continue by calling the check-raise, costing us value. When we’re behind in this situation our opponent is unlikely to fold to aggression if we do take that round.
Trip Kings is too strong to fold in this spot, so proceeding in a way which allows our opponent to get the rest of their money in with the widest range possible is best.We should call this check-raise on the turn, with the plan of calling any bet on the river as well.
Calling is the best play.
How would you play it?
Share your answer in the comments below!
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