This is a copy of a question from a (relatively) well known strategy thread authored by Phil Galfond. I thought it would make for interesting answers considering the format of SE.

From watching and talking to a lot of players, I think the answers to this question will vary a lot.

You are in an average 25/50 game against a good aggressive winning player.

5k stacks.

He opens to 175 in the HJ. Hero raises to 625 on the button. Folded to HJ who calls.

Now you get to pick your hand:

Would you rather have KJo, 75s, 88, or A2s (in order)?

Can you explain why?

How much does it matter?

  • Awesome question. I don't have time to do it justice right now, but I will try to return with a well-developed answer. My hand preference is going to depend a bit on my reads on my opponent and what range he would bet/call with here. – Jeffrey Blake Aug 26 '12 at 16:11
  • I like it because it forces Hero to make a plan for all sorts of post-flop textures. – Toby Booth Aug 26 '12 at 17:20

I'm surprised I haven't seen this (or maybe I have and just don't recall it).

I think my order is as follows:

  • A2s
  • 75s
  • KJo
  • 88

I'm damn confident that A2s is the hand I want the most here. It gives us card removal so he'll have AK, AQ, and AA considerably less often than in the other scenarios. Also, we won't get into too many marginal spots with TP postflop because we know our kicker sucks and it's much easier to differentiate between when he has AJ and JJ than if we were to instead have AJ and try to discern between AT and AQ (clearly this depends a ton on whether or not he'll call OOP, some players will never call in villains spot while others will call but also sometimes call with QQ+ for balance).

I think flatting the 75s is more profitable in a vacuum but 3betting it is fine. We'll have lots of barrel spots postflop with pair+draw type hands and it'll be hard for him to believe us when we're repping hands like 75s, so when we get there we should get lots of action.

The problem with KJ is that, while we have card removal vs Kx/KK, he'll call us with pretty much every hand that dominates us and fold every hand that we dominate (barring some wacky history). So he'll be super tempted to fold/4bet bluff with KT, but he'll probably be ok with calling if he has KQ/AJ.

3betting 88 just sucks here because flatting it is way more +EV, unless the blinds are absolute squeeze monkeys (ignoring when we want to flat 88 with the intention of backraise/stacking off vs a squeeze because those table conditions are ultra rare). When we 3bet 88 we're seeing flops with overcards a ton of the time and we don't have equity to barrel off because we'll rarely have draws and when we're unimproved and behind, we're crushed.

A deeper (and better) analysis would go into how this would change against specific villains but as a standard vs somewhat unknown regs at 5knl I think this is a good start.

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