Pocket Kings Versus a Preflop All-In: Call or Reraise?
DECISION POINT: It's a $1/$2 no-limit hold'em cash game. Preflop, the UTG+1 player limps. Next to act, you raise with . Four players then call — the hijack, cutoff, button and small blind — and the big blind folds. The original raiser then reraises all in for $50 total. Action is back on you...
PRO ANSWER: After the player in the UTG+1 seat limped into the pot, we elected to raise with our pocket kings. Given the preflop looseness of the players at this table, we decided to raise to $20 or 10 big blinds. Despite this raise size, four players behind us called, then the initial limper moved all in for $50 or 25 big blinds.
Our hand, , is well ahead of any reasonable range of hands the UTG+1 player could hold, especially given the player's relatively shallow stack size. So we should not fold to this all-in bet. However, if we call this bet, we can anticipate multiple additional calls from the opponents behind us. The UTG+1 player's all-in raise size is not sufficient to thin the field of players.
One of the more important concepts to understand in no-limit hold'em is how hands change value from preflop to the flop given a certain number of opponents. In this situation, is very likely to be the winning hand after the flop against one or two opponents. However, as additional opponents see the flop, the value of our hand drops dramatically.
Therefore, we must take action to limit the field of players who see the flop to maintain the value of our hand. A reraise of three times the previous total bet ($150) should accomplish this goal.
Calling will put us in many marginal postflop situations, so reraising to thin the field is the best play.
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