Game is $1/$2 NL Hold'em at the Venetian

Hero (~$200) - Been playing TAG for the first couple hours and went up about $100. Then switched to loose play since I've been wanting to improve that skill but wasn't successfully. Now been playing TAG for the past hour; switched soon after the villain arrived.

Villain (~$350) - Villain claims to be an online player that wants to learn live play. He's been making it $4 pre-flop several times in earlier hands; I never see $2 raises in $1/$2 games so his behavior really stood out. The villain has played reasonably well although I believe he's either been extraordinary lucky or other players at the table are folding way too often. I've only seen a couple of the hands he's played due to the frequent lay-downs by other players.


Hero is on the button. Villain is to the immediate right of the Hijack.

Villain raises to $15 pre-flop after a couple limpers. After the villain's raise, folds around to our hero, who looks down and discovers AK offsuit. Not wanting to overcommit his stack on AK offsuit, and not anticipating any other callers (based on table behavior), hero decides to call. As expected, it's heads up to the flop.


The flop is K, J, x (where x is some low card). There may have been two of the same suit but I don't recall it being relevant to the hand.

Villain bets $15 on the flop. Hero ponders a little and suspects villain's hand is weaker than his. After about 30 seconds, hero raises to $65. Villain thinks for about 10 seconds and calls.


The turn is a 9. Villain thinks for about 5-10 seconds and then pushes.


  1. Should our hero call the all-in?
  2. Would you push on the flop, instead of raising $50? Is there a larger amount the hero could have raised, without being pot committed, that might have induced a fold?
  3. Would you re-raise pre-flop?

Hover over the block below to see what happened to our hero:

Our hero thought for about a minute and called. Hero really believed the villain's hands were usually weaker than they seemed. Hero put the villain on: QQ, K-10, KQ suited and AJ. The thought of the villain having JJ occurred but hero expected the villain to slowplay that. 99 was also possible but hero didn't think villain would have called the raise on the flop if he couldn't be a pair of jacks. KJ also seemed possible but again, hero didn't think villain was that strong. Turns out hero was sorta right since our villain had K9d so he turned two pair and won the hand.

  • Based on what happened post-flop, I suspect you had position on the other guy. I'm 99.999 % sure, but please confirm. Apr 30, 2013 at 14:02
  • I was on the button; I updated the question in the pre-flop section to indicate our table positions.
    – Craig
    Apr 30, 2013 at 17:04

2 Answers 2


Should our hero call the all-in?

No. There are many arguments to this answer:

  1. The guy came from the online world to the live play. He might be sloppy in handling the chips, but that doesn't make him a fish, until proven contrary, and he perhaps knows the Baluga theorem, which states that if you have TP and you get raised on the turn, you're likely beat. OK, he was OOP, so this thing applies in reverse.
  2. Wet board. The flop is KJx rainbow. Although KJ is perfectly playable preflop (and you got coolered on the flop), there are some straight draws on the table: AQ or Q-10. Both are playable preflop. With the 9 on the turn, the Q-10 draw got there. A weaker pair wouldn't push the turn for protection, because it fears a higher pair or TP with higher kicker. JJ also pushes for value and protection... and yes, even a K9 which turned two pair does. AA or KK would also play the same. Perhaps even QQ.

Would you push on the flop, instead of raising $50? Is there a larger amount the hero could have raised, without being pot committed, that might have induced a fold?

I wouldn't have pushed on the flop because there are many probable hands that beat you and would have played like this on the flop. Air would fold, draws would fold, but I doubt KJ or sets would have folded. You want weaker hands to call, not to fold.

Regarding the second question, the answer is I don't know. If he's a megafish, then only giving him a beating, taking his cards and pushing him to the dealer would make him fold. If he's a TAG, perhaps a larger amount would do it. I cannot answer the second question because, as far as I read, he's an unknown.

Would you re-raise pre-flop?

Definitely. He is in HJ so his opening range is wide, so AK would do very well against his range. Plus, by calling you invited subsequent calls and/or squeezes from the blinds. In this hand it didn't happen, but this doesn't mean that it will never happen.

Another bonus to re-raising is that you make him define his hand. What would you have done if he had AA? A re-raise would probably induce a 4bet and you could have a decision in folding or shoving. By calling, you didn't have a clue that he has AA because you didn't give him a chance to give you that clue.

My opinion is that the seeds of future trouble began by flatting the HJ's opening. Even so, do some hand reading on the flop. The flop is somewhat drawy, with many possible two pairs and the turn completed a straight draw. Plus, judge his actions: he isn't scared of your flop raise... he is so not scared that he dares to push turn...

Sure, he played badly and got lucky, but your game wasn't flawless either. I would have reraised preflop, cbet flop and evaluate turn. In this light, a push is a very good indicator that you're beaten.

I hope it helped, Good luck!

PS: if he had a bluff, then good for him, but even better for you. By folding the turn, his bluff succeeded, but he won a small amount of money.

  • I concur that a preflop re-raise, on my part, was in order. As to calling the all-in, I want to clarify that I didn't assume he was fish because he came from the online world. I observed that he was playing 3-4 hands per orbit and relying on aggressive betting in a passive environment to take down pots. Thus, I wasn't prepared to assume his raises just meant strong hands. The fact that his typical raise was $2 and K9d is what made him jump to a $13 raise indicates some over-valuing IMO. Having said that, I concur his all-in should have been a sign that he was strong.
    – Craig
    May 2, 2013 at 3:43
  • It's allright... he won a small amount of money for his online bankroll :) Judging by how he played this hand, he likely plays NL10 or NL25 online. May 2, 2013 at 5:50

BY what you describe I would have to still put him on some sort of TT-QQ type of range that wants to avoid seeing high card flops and maximize on it's preflop equity. I would be worried that he has a set of JJ, or ofcourse another AK is possible. Since you said he has been playing relatively well I am going to assume he is not putting in this big overraise with a hand like KJ. Therefore, given thath there are 16 combos of AK, with 9 remaining since you ahve AK, and 3 combos of JJ left, given the amount of money that's already in the pot I would go ahead and get it in. There is also a slight chance that he has a weird KQs type hand.

To the answer above, I disagree. You should always call IP with such a strong hand. You are literally throwing away money if you get worse to fold and better to ship.

EDIT: After seeing hand result, you probably didn't have enough reads to assume villain is playing relatively well. How many hands did you guys play together? If it is less then let's say 30, you have to just give him a population read.

  • With AK in Hero's hand and one King on the flop, there are only 6 combos of AK left, not 9 as you state. Does this affect your answer?
    – Toby Booth
    May 9, 2013 at 23:13

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