A#28: Hmmmm, how to analyze this hand? Let's see, what method could I possibly use? Hmmmm.....
...oh, that's right! How 'bout RED-i? ;-)
PF Reads: Your opponent is a tight-aggressive player. Without any other information, we should assume that a TAG at this level is a solid, competent reg. You raise UTG, which we must assume alerts the villain to the fact that you have a solid hand. He calls in the CO, with three more players to act after him. If he had a vulernable hand like AQ that he wanted to play, he would most likely reraise to isolate and define his hand against yours. In 6max, he would also likely do the same RR with bigger pairs (JJ+). With only one player in the pot ahead of him, he's not getting good odds to call with a suited connector, so we can probably discount most of these from his range. This leaves small and medium pocket pairs as his most probable holdings. This range is reinforced by the fact that we're deep-stacked (200bb), and hands like small pocket pairs are perfect for set-mining in this situation against an EP raiser. Let's call the majority of his range 22-TT, with perhaps a few large suited connectors thrown in the mix.
PF Estimate: Pre-flop, we're a bit behind in a 55:45 coinflip with our hand against 22-TT. If we add in hands like T9s, JTs, QJs, and KQs, it's basically an even money coinflip at 51:49.
PF Decide: If he had RR'd us preflop, we would definitely be 4betting preflop. Alas, he just called. Since we've projected strength preflop, we're going to be c-betting on a wide range of boards (even if we miss), both to just take it down, as well as to keep him from getting the right odds to continue chasing a set or a flush/straight draw if he misses on the flop.
PF Implement: Watch his reaction closely when the flop comes out.
Flop Situation: The A-K-8 rainbow board is pretty much a dream flop for us, giving us top two. We bet $60 (presumably into a ~$75 pot), he raises to $180, we re-raise to $580, and he pushes all-in for $1700+. Uh, yikes.
Flop Reads: Wow. This guy saw us raise in EP preflop, so he knows we're strong. Then we cbet and 3bet him on an A-K-8 board, so he has to know we have a monster (almost assuredly a big ace), yet he still 4bets us all-in. In other words, he's saying, "Yes, I know you really like that ace and/or king on the board, but I like my hand even better." Said another way, we have to assume he's super strong, and almost assuredly has hit a set of eights.* This is almost never a bluff with a reg this deep stacked.
Flop Estimate: We have to assume we're behind. The pot is now something like $2700. We need to put ~$1400 more into the middle to make this call, which means we're getting 27:14, or almost 2:1. This means we have to good 33% of the time to make the call. So, is that a decent price? We could run pokerstove, but a simpler method to use in the heat of battle is the 2/4 rule**. We have four outs (two aces and two kings) to pull ahead of him if he has a set. Four x four = 16, which means that we're roughly an 84:16 dog.***
Flop Decide: We're not pot committed to make the crying call. If this were a $1000 effective stack game (100bb), we would be getting 3:1 to make the call. This is certainly better that the 2:1 we're getting, but is still not quite enough to make the call.**** Said another way, we're not getting enough pot odds to call. Therefore we need to take a fold line.
Flop Implement: Fold and accept the fact that poker is cruel.*****
It's tough to lay down top two pair when Big Slick hits this hard, but if we slow down, think, and narrow the villain's range carefully, we can arrive at a safe--although unpleasant--answer.
All-in for now....
* Putting a player on a specific hand is a very rare and unusual occurrence in poker. Note, however, that we started with a range of hands preflop, and then narrowed it down on the flop based on the villain's action. Of the preflop hands we assumed he held, 88 is by far the likeliest hand he was dealt given his 4bet shove on the flop. Yes, he could be bluffing, but that's very rare this deep-stacked against a reg who knows we're very strong and still shoves on us. He could also have an even bigger super monster, like AA or KK, and was slow playing preflop. But those hands weren't in our original range estimate for him, so we really should not be adding them back in now.
** The 2/4 Rule: With two cards yet to come, multiply your number of outs by 4 to get the rough percentage equity your hand carries. With only one card to come (e.g., on the turn), multiply the number of outs by 2.
*** Note that running pokerstove with the exact hand and board cards shows that we're actually an 83:17 dog; i.e., the 2/4 rule is pretty accurate here.
**** It's important to note that the effective stack size make a huge impact on whether we call or not. If we were much shallower stacked preflop (e.g., 50-70bb deep) I think we'd be pretty close to getting the right odds to make a crying call. Generally speaking, the shallower you are, the more inclined you should be to get it all in with TPTK+ hands. The deeper you are, the less inclined you should be. Deep stack poker is about big bust'em hands; shallow stack poker is about one pair hands.
***** Depending on the meta-game situation, this might be a good hand to fold face-up to show that you're capable of big laydowns. This in turn would foster more bluffing against you later in the game, and you could possibly bluff-catch some of your Value hands more profitably.