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A-J on the Button vs. Early Position Raise -- Fold, Call or Reraise?

A-J on the Button vs. Early Position Raise -- Fold, Call or Reraise?
  • You have A-J on the button versus an EP raise -- what do you do? @LearnWPT breaks it down.

  • There's an EP raise & you have A-J on the button. Fold, call or reraise? @LearnWPT gives you options.

DECISION POINT: It's a cash game, $2/$5 no-limit hold'em, and everyone is relatively deep-stacked. A player in early position (UTG+1) raises and everyone folds to you on the button. You have {A-Spades}{J-Hearts} and the action is on you...

PRO ANSWER: Many players make the mistake in their preflop decision-making process of viewing hands like a hierarchy. They believe they should raise with really strong hands, fold with weak hands and call with medium-strength hands. If they have a hand that's too good to fold but not good enough to raise, players tend to think calling is the best play.

This is not a good way to think about poker situations. When making preflop decisions we always want to put ourselves in the best possible postflop situation for our hand.

Here we have {A-}{J-}-offsuit on the button. Certainly this is a well above average hand for the button. If the action had folded around to us, then we would definitely come in for a raise first into the pot.

However, in this situation we are facing an early position raise from an unknown player. Since early position players tend to have strong hand ranges and the raise came from an unknown player, we should assume a hand range like {10-}{10-} or better or {A-}{Q-} or better until proven otherwise. Our {A-}{J-}-offsuit is well behind that range, so we should elect to fold.

We see many players calling in situations like this because they think a hand like ace-jack is "too good to fold" but not "good enough to raise." Calling in this spot creates a terrible situation for you. In most cases when significant money goes into the pot postflop here, {A-}{J-} will be dominated.

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