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Suppose you raised pre-flop with the AK and have one caller, so you go heads-up to the flop. On the flop comes QKA which are all spades. This is clearly a very draw-heavy board, and your two pair AK will not be good all the time.

When you bet and you get raised, is there a situation where it is justified to just call instead of raising or folding?

Suppose the opponent is a tight/passive player. In this situation he probably already made a straight of flush and folding is the best option. He will not be semi-bluffing in this situation very often and certainly will not try this with just an ace. The only possible hand which he could have an you can beat would be AQ, which he will not have the majority of the time.

If the player is quite aggressive, there is quite a large change he has a draw and tries to semi-bluff. If you just call you give him the opportunity to make his hand. Moreover, when faced a large bet/raise on the turn you have no idea where you are at (it might still be possible he made his hand on the flop). I think raising would be the best option, but you would probably have to invest allot to give him proper odds to fold a draw, so folding might still be a valid option.

But what if you know the player is a novice and might even pull of this kind of play with just an Ace, which he thinks is very good because he does not think about draws and board texture. Would it be a good idea to just make the call? A downside of this play is you gain very little information, but he might even call a raise with what he thinks is a strong hand.

If you can think of other situations besides the situations described where it may be good play to just flat call, it would be very appreciated.

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This monster flops give the opportunity to bluff. Often the first guy who takes action wins these pots. I would not fold AK too easy here. – RayofCommand Jul 8 '14 at 8:47
up vote 4 down vote accepted

When you bet and you get raised, is there a situation where it is justified to just call instead of raising or folding?

In general I would say no. Lets think about this for each scenario.

Passive Fish A passive fishy player re-raises you on the flop, you should fold. Passive fish are calling stations, not raisers. When they raise it is because they a strong. Even if by some bizarre miracle you do have them beat currently, what turn/river cards are you ever going to like? Any 8,9,10,J,Q or any spade is going to put you in a bad spot, so why call here to fold later?

Agro Fish OK so now you have a player who likes to throw terrible bluffs out. However Agro fish tend to bet/give up when they have nothing or just barrel off each street. They rarely re-raise without a huge draw. Agro fish are renowned for calling crap pre-flop like K2s or J7o that smash this board. And again ask yourself if you call here, what turn/river cards are you likely to see? You can guarantee that if one of these cards do hit, your agro-fish will fire again and are you going to like that?

TAG A tag re-raising you on this flop is almost always hitting the board very hard. I am thinking two pair, sets or better. At the very least they have AK or a good spade. These players tend to have tighter, stronger ranges so when they re-raise it is usually a very strong hand. And again if they just have top pair, are you going to give action knowing you face bets on the turn and river when bad cards hit? And even if a brick hits, are you still confident you are ahead?

LAG LAG's tend to be aggressive but disciplined enough to fire and forget. They play a loose style so again a lot of hands in his range smash this board. A LAG will raise you with nothing but a straight draw here since they know it is highly unlikely that you flopped a flush and you will be scared by a lot of turn/river cards. And a LAG is going to put pressure on you whenever a scare card hits, so again why call? You either fold or raise.

NIT If a NIT ever re-raises you, not just in this spot but ever. Burn your cards, throw them away do not ever call here. NIT's only play super strong hands and would only ever re-raise you here with the nuts its that simple. Don't raise, don't call, don't even think about your hand, Fold!

Now going over the above you can start to form a very good picture of what the answer to your general question is. Never call here you are almost always up against worse hands with huge equity, or hands that simply crush you.

A question you should ask yourself and not just here but any hand you play is, if I call here am I confident I can win the hand profitably?

I think if your honest, the answer is no and so folding or raising are your best options.

Calling to hit a miracle A or K is just bad poker imo.

Now that I have made the point. Are you convinced? If not just answer these questions:

You flat his 3bet and then a spade hits. Now what do you do?

You flat his 3bet and an 8,9,10,J or Q hit. Now what do you do?

You flat and a brick hits the turn, you check or raise and he 3bets or shoves. Now what do you do?

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Thanks, I agree with your reasoning. But looking at rommiks answer, don't you think you may get proper odds after a small re-raise to try and hit a full house(16%)? My question mentions any scenario where it may be justified to call. So all stacks, pot sizes and bet sizes are possible in the scenario. – TmKVU Jul 7 '14 at 14:21
@David Hirst: You wrote: "At the very least they have AK with a spade." But the board is AKQ and OP said it was all spades, so a player cannot have both AK and a spade. Which is kinda important because there are several hands which can have hit that board hard but still be very vulnerable to a fourth spade. So you may want to edit a bit that paragraph of your answer. – TacticalCoder Jul 7 '14 at 23:22
@TacticalCoder Thank for spotting that I'll amend, think that was supposed to say AK or a good spade – David Hirst Jul 8 '14 at 10:47
@TmKVU As I mention, its bad poker imo to chase the FH simply because of the number of bad cards. And lets not forget your FH is not the nuts when SFs and RFs are possible. In the long run you will lose money here, remember its an 84% you will not hit. That's huge and besides when you do hit that 16%, how often do you get paid since an A or K hitting the board now makes FH very obvious to your opponent. So versus the risk is it profitable? Not really. – David Hirst Jul 8 '14 at 10:57
@DavidHirst good reasoning, thank you. I was only thinking about pot odds vs change of hitting an out, but did not consider how obvious the FH would be. – TmKVU Jul 8 '14 at 22:54

I agree with @david Hirst answer and reasoning. At the end, it always depends on how well you know the opponent player. You didn't mention in your question what sort of a game it was. Is it a tournament or a cash table. What about stakes? Are you the chip leader or the caller is the chip leader , or neither? These are important considerations too. Finally, what was your raise before flop (relative to BB) and his re-raise (relative to the pot)?

However, I must say that with your AK and AKQ (flop) You have 75% of winning and 16% getting a full house. (according to These odds should be taken into consideration too.

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Thanks for your answer, I agree: it depends on allot of factors. In my question I ask for any scenario where it may be justified to call, so I deliberately did not mention the type of game, the stack sizes, etc. – TmKVU Jul 7 '14 at 14:22

I would call if I thought my opponent had made a straight OR a flush, but not a straight flush. Many loose opponents will call pre-flop with two suited cards, or two straight cards, not necessarily two "straight flush" cards.

In this case, I am behind, but my two pair gives me a re-draw to a full house. I may call on the flop and wait till the expensive fourth street to fold, and depending on the size of the pot, I may wait for the river card. If I haven't improved by then, I would fold.

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