Playing Pocket Queens on a Nine-High Flop
DECISION POINT: In a no-limit hold'em cash game, the hijack raises, the small blind reraises, and you four-bet from the big blind with . The hijack calls and the small blind folds. The flop comes . Action is on you...
PRO ANSWER: As played, shoving on the flop is very profitable. Even if we assume hijack's range after flatting the four-bet is fairly narrow — i.e., no wider than J-J+, A-Ks, A-Ko — we would still be correct to shove on the flop with Q-Q.
As long as our opponent has A-K and J-J in his range, this would be a long-term winning shove with Q-Q. There may be some opponents who never flat call with A-K or J-J and always five-bet or fold with those hands, meaning their flat-call range is only Q-Q+, but that type of opponent is more rare and we would need historical evidence to know that.
Even though the hijack's flat-call of the four-bet represents a significant portion of the effective stack, we should not assume our opponent always has K-K+.
Against a default opponent, our opponent's range is often at least J-J+, A-Ks, A-Ko and wider, making Q-Q a very profitable flop shove.
Moving all in is the best play.
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