Playing Pocket Aces on a Four-Way Flop
DECISION POINT: In a no-limit hold'em tournament, it folds to you in middle position and you raise with . The player in the hijack seat calls, those in the cutoff and on the button fold, and both players in the blinds call. The flop comes . The blinds check and you bet. The hijack raises, the small blind calls, and the big blind folds.
Action is on you...
PRO ANSWER: One-pair hands rarely do well in four-way flops when multiple deep stacks start to go in. In this case, the stack-to-pot ratio (SPR) on the flop is over 16, so this is a very deep-stacked spot. We should not look to get stacks in on this flop with this action.
Our backdoor opportunities (flush draw, gutshot straight draw, trips or two pair) are a crucial aspect of this hand. If the raise was slightly bigger and we didn't hold the , we could even fold this flop against some opponents after a raise given the multi-way nature of this hand.
There are many opponents whose raising range on a four-way flop is two pair or better and never any draws. The SB's range is more draw-heavy given the cold call, but hijack's range is the bigger concern and has us in bad shape overall.
If we take further aggressive actions on the flop, we will constrict opponent hand ranges even further, resulting in each additional chip getting in with increasingly the worst of it.
If we give SB a range of various flush draws and combo draws and hijack a range of two pair, sets and some occasional big draws, we only have about 16 percent equity on the flop with our .
Given our backdoor opportunities and the good pot odds, we should call the initial flop raise and be capable of folding the turn when the backdoor cards don't materialize and there is significant further action.
Calling is the best play.
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