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Pocket Queens Versus a Flop Check-Raise on a Jack-High Board

Pocket Queens Versus a Flop Check-Raise on a Jack-High Board

DECISION POINT: In a six-handed no-limit hold'em cash game, it folds to the hijack who raises. The cutoff folds and you reraise from the button with {q-Spades}{q-Hearts}. The small blind folds, the big blind calls, and the hijack calls as well. The flop comes {j-Hearts}{2-Diamonds}{5-Spades}. It checks around to you and you bet. The big blind then check-raises and the hijack folds. Action is on you...

PRO ANSWER: In this six-handed cash game, we reraised on the button with {q-Spades}{q-Hearts} after the initial raise from the hijack seat. The big blind cold-called our reraise and the hijack called as well. After continuation betting on a scattered jack-high board, the big blind chooses to make a small check-raise. We have to decide between folding, calling, or reraising.

Given the remaining stack sizes, we will likely get stacks all in on the turn if we choose to call. We are effectively deciding between taking this hand to an all-in showdown or folding now.

Our opponent chose to cold-call a preflop three-bet from the big blind. This typically indicates a narrow hand range consisting of hands like big pairs or big Broadway cards. A range of TT+, AQ+ would be a reasonable estimate.

On the flop, this check-raise represents an even narrower hand range, often JJ+. Our {q-Spades}{q-Hearts} is way behind this range and we should fold as a default play in this situation.

Without any solid historical opponent information to change this range, folding is the best play. We would need information that our opponent both cold-calls preflop three-bets with wide hand ranges and chooses to check-raise flops with wide hand ranges in order to continue with our queens here.

Opponents who do both of these things are rare, so folding is the correct play.

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