The game is 1-3 NL. Hero has ~$250 as does villian. Villain is directly to the hero's right; I don't exactly recall button position but neither hero nor villain was on the button.

Pre-Flop: A couple people call $3. Action reaches the villain, who raises to $12. Next up is our hero who has KK.

Hero raises to $36, expecting to take down the pot. Everyone folds around to the villain, who pretty quickly goes all-in.

Villain has been aggressive and mostly tight. He's shown an occasional unexpected hand (a button raise with 3⋄6⋄ that turned into trips on the flop) but most shown hands are strong. I haven't seen him do anything stupid.

Question: Do you call the all-in?

What happened:

The hero chose to fold given the opponent's image and not wanting to risk his whole stack. The opponent left right after the hand, commenting how the only way he could win was to bet. This makes me think I was ahead, although I'm still surprised he risked everything, unless he thought I was playing loose. In retrospect, I'm ~80% against a random hand so mathematically, it seems like calling was the right play but it just seemed so out of step with his image to risk his entire stack without the nuts.

  • 1
    There could be a load of reasoning of calling or folding here, but you just can't fold the 2nd best hand against any kind of players, except the guy raised once in 200 hands. Even the tightest of players could shove with QQ+. I call any time and load again if i'm that unlucky, although i'm going to win lots of the times and even against AA i'm gonna set some times.
    – user1165
    Commented Mar 23, 2015 at 3:09
  • 4
    +1 for the spoiler block, it's more significant than most people think :) Commented Mar 23, 2015 at 9:23

3 Answers 3


Yes, you might be 80% against a random hand, but unless he really is just gambling on his last hand (how can you know?) his likely range will significantly lower your odds. For example:

You're getting pot odds of 42%. Your card odds are around 18% if he's only ever shoving AA in this spot, around 23% if he's shoving AA or KK, and 50% if he's shoving AA, KK or QQ. If you think he can do it with AK suited, cards odds improve to 52%.

The argument for laying down: A nitty player might only shove AA or KK in this particular spot so laying down might well be profitable. Either way against most players you're never averaging 80% and you're a dog to a lot of players who might only make such a large 4 bet with AA or KK.

The argument for a call: Using the same calcs as above, if you yourself are three betting a lot, or are likely to three bet with a wide range, villain might play QQ and a suited AK this way to end the pot there and then- he has blockers which might make this a profitable play for him. Similarly if he is a bad player, or a loose player who thinks he can get you to call with lower pairs or AKs might shove a wider range still. Then, there are scenarios where he is almost outright bluffing with 89 suited and using his tight table image to his advantage. These factors mean you should probably be calling against most players and against most opponents this is a +EV play.

A lot of players will just snap call with KK regardless and, while not optimal, this will be a profitable play. There will, however, be some players against whom calling here is not a +EV play. If you can spot these players and make these folds, you can certainly increase your profitability at the table. The fact that you folded KK in this spot seems to me that you read him as a player who is too nitty to be making this play with anything less than AA or KK, so this may well have been a good fold long-term and certainly isn't horrible play.

  • As a general observation there are a lot of solid players that do not go all in pre flop with anything but aces. I think the OP made a decent fold. Kudos to Chris for the answer and especially the last paragraph of the answer.
    – Jon
    Commented Mar 25, 2015 at 21:53
  • @Jon Only pushing with AA is not profitable as then people will just fold to your push unless they have AA
    – paparazzo
    Commented May 3, 2017 at 19:49

Unless you think your opponent only ever does this move with AA, you're likely to be at least a 70-80% favourite to win the hand. Maybe not the bet to be making with your entire net worth, but with a portion of your poker bank on the table, I'd call this every time.

Of course you're not going to win 100% of the time (and it hurts when you do lose - especially when your opponent has some random junk and gets lucky), but in the long run this call is going to be profitable.


The only way that was a good lay down is if you are 100% sure he had AA.

From your perceptive if you will fold to an all in with anything less than AA then you will be exploited.

If villain only pushes with AA then villain will be exploited.

Even if villain only plays AA, KK, and QQ here you should call as you are 50%.

Look at the hand. Villain made an initial raise of just over the pot behind two limpers. This is basically never a stone cold bluff as there are too many players to get through. TT+ in front of villain should have come in for raise so about all we can do is put villain on TT+. A suited connector would likely have just called.

Hero re-raise. That puts your range above villain. You are on JJ+ if not QQ+.

When it gets back to villain if they are on TT+ they should / could push with their entire range. They think AA KK is ahead and they think TT is behind. If villain had AA or KK they would not quickly go in - that indicates they want a fold. They hope a push will fold out JJ or QQ. To me you should have raised with JJ+ and the only hand you can consider folding is JJ. I would probably even call here with JJ to balance my range and villain could just be totally out of line.

Now if the two limpers called your $36 and villain pushed then it is fair to put him on AA or KK but could be doing it with QQ. I still think that is a close call.

In summary mathematically and GTO it is a call.

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