What Would You Do? Flopping Top Pair With Ace-Jack in Multi-Way Pot
DECISION POINT: In a $2/$5 no-limit hold’em cash game, it folds to you in middle position with A♥J♠ and you raise. The cutoff and button both call. The flop comes J♣10♣6♥. You make a continuation bet and the cutoff calls, then the button raises. Action is on you...
PRO ANSWER: In this hand we raised preflop with A♥J♠, got two callers, and then made a continuation bet after flopping top pair. Our first opponent called, then the second opponent raised. Do we fold, call, or reraise?
We can judge the relative value of our hand by assessing a few different factors. This flop is highly coordinated, which means there are multiple draws present. This makes it easier for opponents to connect with the board and decreases the value of one-pair hands.
We also have two opponents, both of whom have chosen to continue against our flop bet. Multi-way pots also reduce the value of one pair, since the average strength of a winning hand in no-limit hold’em increases with additional players in the pot.
We must additionally assess the actions of our opponents and their hand ranges. In this case, the player on the button chose to raise on the flop against two opponents, one of whom bet out into a multi-way pot.
On average, this action will be taken by a strong hand range. Our hand, top pair, has now dropped in value dramatically due to the much narrower hand range of the button player.
Also, we still have another player behind us if we choose to continue. This makes calling even less of an option, since we will not even be guaranteed to see the turn card.
Despite flopping top pair, top kicker, there is only one option in this hand — folding. This is a classic case of reverse implied odds. The more chips that go into this pot on future streets, the less likely our hand is to be best.
Folding is by far the best play.
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