Sunday, March 17, 2013

AKo Facing 4Bet Preflop

{Note: this hand comes on the heels of another AK hand that caused some discussion this past week. I received an email from Flyboy in which he busted out of a live MTT with AK a few weeks ago. he was in the money; they were down to 3-handed play; payout structure was very flat; he was the shorty with 8 big blinds; and he was dealt AKs. The big stack shoved, and Flyboy snap-called. He lost the resulting race against 88, and then went into self-doubt mode, questioning if he should have called. The answer is obviously yes, you call in this situation (in fact, when I posted this hand on 2+2, one guy wrote back, "if you take any longer than 3 seconds to call, you're slow rolling).. That said, I wanted to post the following hand to show that there are definitely times when folding AK preflop is in fact the right play.}

Setup: Second blind level of a major multi-day tournament. You have 60 big blinds. Table is filled with mostly solid citizens playing ABC poker. Some tricky play, but nothing too crazy yet. You're on the button with AKo.

Action: UTG limp opens. The player immediately to his left bumps it to 3x. The hijack player 4bets to 6.5x.

What do you do?

Reads: Per the problem statement, no one is crazy and all are playing ABC poker. The UTG player could be limp opening with anything from small and medium pocket pairs, to aces and big slick. The UTG+1 player raises in EP knowing this, so his own range has to be pretty solid and strong. Then the HJ player, who knows all of this too, and also knows that there are four more players who haven't acted yet, plus the UTG and UTG+1 player who can make things more expensive, too, then re-raises an amount that screams he has a big hand.

Estimate: Against the ranges represented thus far, your AK is at best in a four way coin flip.

Decide: Blinds are low, you've got a big healthy stack, and your hand is marginally strong against the represented ranges of your opponents. Line=Fold.

Implement. Fold, and then hope you get to see a showdown to see what hands these other players are limping, raising, and 4betting with.

All-in for now...

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