Should I Call With Weak Hands From The Big Blind?

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You’re in the big blind facing a raise and a couple calls – do you call and close the action with a weak hand? Of course you should give action with a lot of hands here given the pot odds, that you are closing action, and that you should be able to handle being OOP well – but just how wide should you call? Let’s explore that answer through the lens of this hand…

In this hand, we’re in the big-blind with 42. There’s a raise, there’s a call, there’s another call, and Robin decides to call as well. So I’m going to stop here and share what Robin says this in the write-up:

“I called in the big-blind as I was getting great pot odds and closing the action. I want to know more about when you should call with any 2 cards from the blinds, as I want to be more selective rather than thinking, ya know…cause odds?”

Robin, you’re definitely on the right track here and thinking about the right stuff. You’re right. We want to have a logic and rationale that’s stronger than just, “Ya know, cause pot odds.”

Now, in this kind of situation, 42 off is not going to be a call for me and there’s a multitude of reasons why. In this situation, we’re getting 5:1 on a call here. What that really means is that we have to be able to win this pot 17% of the time or more in order to justify this. We can’t win at least that often. There’s really no point here. A hand like 42o is going to flop strong so, so rarely. And even the times it does flop strong, which is typically going to be bottom two pair, you’re in a situation where against draws and stuff, their draw has tremendous amounts of equity if we end up getting it in against that kind of thing. Even when they have a single pair, they’re going to have a decent amount of equity, plus the extra equity with counterfeit potential against your bottom 2.

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It’s a situation where the hand just doesn’t really play all that well. The player though, in terms of thinking about bluffing at post flop, well, you’re typically going to be taking a no-equity bluff postflop as well. Typically, I’d prefer to semi-bluff than have a no-equity bluff.

So it’s the kind of situation where I don’t think you’re going to win this hand anywhere near enough of the time to justify getting involved here. I don’t think the implied odds are great enough. I don’t think the playability is great enough., I don’t think the bluff potential is great enough. As such, I would just simply fold this hand. Yes, I’m going to call a lot of the blinds a lot of the time when I’m getting a great price: 5:1, 6:1, 7:1 or more. Yes, I’m going to calling with a lot of hands. But 42o does not fit the bill: suited gappers, suited double gappers, Ax, kind of stuff does. Things that have legitimate playability and winability are great. Things like 42o are not going to do it for me.

I like that you’re looking for spots where you can get involved with a wider range. I think this is just too wide of a range. As for spots where I want to be much wider, it’s usually going to be with great pot odds preflop, deeper SPRs going postflop. Ideally, position on someone who’s really bad, maybe calling in this kind of situation because the small blind is horrific and we have some extra stack depth. Great. But this is actually not as great because now if we do decide to call, $6 in the middle, $26 and change effective against Dimon on the button, and now all of a sudden, we’re in a situation where we don’t have a super-deep SPR. And, trust me, the more garbage your hand is, the deeper and deeper you want that SPR.

As played, we do call, end up flopping bottom two pair, which makes life a little bit more fun, a little bit easier as well. We decide to check. The original raiser cbets, call, and hero decides to go for a check-raise to $14.50. So far, very happy as played. I’m definitely going to be check-raising here. I’m looking for exactly this kind of situation where there’s a bet, one or more callers, and we go forward from there. I like the nice, big bet here, too.

I don’t think we need to trim this down. This is just one of those where if they have something they’re going to continue with, let’s punish them and get as much money moving in as quickly as possible. It’s just one of those where, yes, if they had something like AJ or 55s, they’re probably going away regardless. So when they do have something like Tx, when the original raiser does have something like an overpair, let’s make sure we punish it and get as much money moving in the middle as quickly as possible.

I end up getting called by the original raiser, go to the turn, and hero just decides to drill it in for pretty much a pot sizer. So far, very, very happy. I really like the way postflop is played here. Robin was just really interested to make sure that the line was right, that the sizes were right postflop. To be totally honest, everything looks really good here. I think your opponent’s going to have an overpair a very large chunk of the time, maybe a Tx kind of hand. It’s kind of like a very similar holding, really strong pair, top pair or better.

I don’t think you’re looking at very many sets because you choke most of them out and there’s only three combos of TTs, so who cares? This is going to be an overpair a large chunk. You just need to punish it. No need to get cutesy and bet $15 and risk losing money on the rest of the way out. Just punch it here like you did and we’re good to go. As played, we end up improving and we end up beating jacks. That’s all well and good. But, again, the most important point was preflop, understanding should we be getting involved.

Robin, you asked an excellent question. Hopefully, my answer helps you and, hopefully, you don’t make this call preflop in the future. But if you’re going to, at least you played postflop really well the way the hand ran out.

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My name is James "SplitSuit" Sweeney and I'm a poker player, coach, and author. I've released 300+ videos, coached 500+ players, and co-founded the training site Red Chip Poker. Contact me if you need any help improving your poker game!

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