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I had a double-ended straight draw on the flop with QJs and a KT6r board. I needed an A or a 9 to make the straight. I was last to act and facing two all-ins. Using the rule of 4 with 8 outs, I know I had about 32% pot equity. Based on how much I had to call, the pot odds were roughly in line with that percentage - I had to be right 32% of the time to break even.

I made the call and my straight draw bricked. Both opponents showed AK and split the pot. Since my opponents were both holding an ace, I actually only had 6 outs or 24% equity.

My question is is it correct to call all-ins on the flop if the pot odds are favorable? Should I consider "blockers" (opponent already holding the draw I need) when making this decision? Should I consider the amount of variance (more variance when the outcome is closer to 50/50)?

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I think I would fold. If your pot odds are exactly right, you certainly don't have to call and it's at best break even. Some reasons why it's probably worse than break even are:

  • Blockers: If your pot odds were about 32%, then (unless your opponents are complete maniacs) I'm assuming the effective stack-to-pot ratio (SPR) of all players on the flop was low. With a low SPR it's generally fine for someone to get all their money in with top pair top kicker for value, i.e. AK. in this case, in which case some of your opponents' value range blocks some of your outs (as was exactly the case).

  • Sometimes you will hit your outs and still lose because either 1. one of your opponents had a set on the flop and made a full house by the river, or 2. the first guy to shove had a similar hand to you (QJs) but with a back door flush draw that went runner-runner in their favour. These two possible situations lower your odds of winning by the river by a few percentage points.

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  • That's not what reverse implied odds are. Reverse implied odds are making your hand (say a straight) and then getting stacked because you made it (by lets say a flush) – Alec Feb 16 at 9:00
  • @Alec I don't follow. I agree with you, and I think I'm saying the same thing... What did I write that was inconsistent with what you are saying? – Adam Sharpe Feb 16 at 15:20
  • Implied odds have no bearing on a situation where you've gone all-in before the rest of the cards come out. At that point you're just realizing your equity. Implied odds come from being able to make big bets after a strong hand has been made – Alec Feb 16 at 19:11
  • @Alec Aha, understood, thanks. I've been using the term incorrectly then, to also include all-in situations (upon reflection I should have realized this is obviously wrong, since there's nothing "implied" about it). I'll edit my answer. – Adam Sharpe Feb 16 at 19:32
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Short answer is yes, you should call all-ins on the flop when the pot odds are favorable (and ideally much better than your equity in the hand).

Your instincts about blockers and variance are correct, if your opponents are going all-in on this flop AK could be a hand that they do this with, along with hands like KK, KT, TT, 66, ...

Given that in this hand you were up against multiple players, there is a higher chance that at least one of them holds the A blocker, especially since you are blocking hands like KQ and KJ. I would make the assumption that the large majority of one-pair hands that get it in here are AK.

As far as variance goes, it will be high for this specific hand. You have a 32% chance of winning if you call (not considering blockers for simplification) and should expect to lose the hand most of the time even if your opponents don't have the A blockers. If you were in a tournament, this would be an easy fold if you were at risk of elimination if you called (because that happens >=68% of the time). In a cash game, you must consider the things you mentioned in your question because it is very close. Are you willing to lose 68% of the time to get 3x your money back when you do win? Will your straight always be good when you do hit it? Do you think your opponents are likely to hold one-pair hands when they go all-in like this?

Keep in mind that if your pot odds were significantly better than your equity (say 5:1 or 6:1) then that makes this a much easier call as your expected value is a lot higher than if you are getting 2:1 as I assume you are in this example.

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