Under the Gun with A♥K♥, what do you do here?

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In a live $1-2 game an Early Position player raíses to $6 and you reraise from UTG+1 to $18 with A♥K♥. Action folds around to the Big Blind who calls as does the original UTG raiser. On the 2♠3♠4♠ flop, the BB and UTG player check. Action is on you, what do you do here?

PRO ANSWER: In a $1-2 cash game we are dealt AKs UTG+1. The UTG player raises to $6. Even though there is an early position raiser, AKs is still well ahead of UTG’s opening range and worth a reraise. Our standard is to reraise 3x the original raise amount so we decide to make it $18.

It folds around to the Big Blind who cold calls the $18 and the original UTG raiser also calls. It is important to note here that when the Big Blind cold calls (to call with multiple actions in front of you without having already voluntarily put money in the pot) we can reasonably make the following 2 assumptions.

First, it gives the Big Blind a capped range. In this spot with a hand like AA/KK the BB is highly unlikely to just flat call knowing if they do, the UTG player is also likely to call and they will have to play a multiway pot out of position.

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Second, it gives BB what we call a condensed range. When the player in the Big Blind cold calls over 10% of their stack their range is likely to be quite narrow. In this spot, a sample range might look something like 88-QQ/AK and some suited broadway hands. Hands like 87s are highly unlikely, unless they are very loose.

The flop is 2s3s4s and both Villains check to us. This is a spot where if we were only against the UTG player we would likely toss in a small c-bet on this flop. Given the Villain’s narrow, condensed range this is a spot where our opponent is very likely to have an over pair (possibly with a spade).

Our opponents could also have some suited broadway hands that missed, however given we are facing two players it is highly unlikely that we can get both players to fold with a bet here. Add to that the fact that even our BEST turn card (an offsuit 5) doesn’t make us confident to put a lot of chips in this pot and betting becomes a far worse option.

Checking is the best play.

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