Letting Go Of Top Pair On A Wet Flop?

Today’s question comes from Jonathan who wants me to review this hand played with Ace King in an online $1/$2 game. In this hand there’s a raise by Villain. Hero decides to 3bet with AK. Totally standard so far.

We get called by Villain. Okay, and here we go. Now Villain checks, Hero decides to bet, and Villain check-raises. Jonathan says in his write up

“I flopped top pair and Villain checked to me. I decided to bet and he raised. I called because I thought I had the best hand. The HUD showed that his check raise stat was 35% after 150 hands.”

Jonathan does decide to call here, and obviously the check raise size is just a min raise, so he’s getting a great price here at 4.5:1. My only thing is, and this is just actually great, not even necessarily with the hand, but just in general I love the fact you’re giving me the check raise stat. That’s awesome. The fact that you have a hundred and fifty hands is great, but I really could have used the VPIP and PFR. That would definitely help us determine whether this is a situation where we should be stacking, or maybe veering away from it a little bit more, right?

If this person is playing 85/6 over that 150 hands, yeah I’m not going anywhere. If this person has been playing really nitty over that hundred and fifty hands, his check raise range might be very, very tight. To be totally honest, this is the main inflection point in the hand. You really have to make your decision right this moment, whether you call it, whether you shove it, whether you fold it, you have to make that decision now.

Now this is what I really want to kind of highlight here. If we back up a couple of ticks, you notice that we got into this spot with roughly three SPR. Now I talk about SPR all the time, and three and under is typically where I say always stack off top hair, top kicker. You really can’t beat that wrong. As we get higher and higher, especially as you get into three and four SPR, it gets a little bit close. There are situations where you could maybe favor getting rid of it and not just auto stacking it. I’d say this could be one of those situations. Now again, if we find out that Villain is an eighty five fifty six, yeah, okay, it’s one of those situations where I’m just going to drill it because he could have king jack, king ten, queen jack, ace queen, all these kind of things that we do very, very well against in the range.

SPR & Commitment Levels
Click this image and watch my complete video on SPR

If Villain is very, very nitty, what is Villain going to be check raising here? I mean we have the ace of diamonds in our hand so they can’t have like ace jack of it, so any diamond draw is either going to be jack ten, exactly, which obviously has us crushed, or something like king jack of it, in which case that has a huge amount of equity against our hand. Everything else is going to be like pocket nines, jack ten, maybe pocket queens assuming you don’t think they would four bet a pre-fop. Probably not pocket kings, one for combos, but two probably they would four bet at pre-fop. You’re just in a situation where you’re in really, really awfully and of course king queen you’re smashed too, as well.

You really have to make your decision here, and I know it’s one of those spots where you can look at the pot odds and say, “Well, I’m getting such a sick price. It’d be so sick to fold here.” If you think that Villain’s check raise range is really only the nuts, like they wouldn’t do this with pocket eights, they wouldn’t do this with ace jack off suit, they wouldn’t do that with any of that stuff, then what are they really check raising with? Obviously this is a very, very specialized board that just murders a check raise range from a nitty kind of player.

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You have to make your decision right that moment, and that’s the major important inflection point here because once Hero decides to call, and he turns two pair, there’s just no getting away, right? I mean you made your decision when you decided to call the flop. You call the flop because you think you’re good often enough, and this, you know, now you beat king queens. Now the only thing you’re really dead to is the jack tens, the pocket nines, and the pocket queens if you think they’re there. Everything else you’re beating that king queen now, which is fantastic.

I like the fact that Hero called and unfortunately we do end up losing to 99, and it is what it is. But again, the most important thing is you have to make your decision on that flop, and also make sure you’re always consulting that VPIP PFR, especially when over a hundred a fifty hands you have a good enough ID on a basic player type to determine if you think that check raise range is really nitty, or maybe not so much.

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