Game is $1/$3 NL Hold'em

Hero is BB with $440. Villain is UTG with about $310.


Villain raises UTG to $12. 4 callers. Hero happily discovers that he has KK and raises to 110.

Villain thinks for about 30-60 seconds while Hero calmly stares into space. He even asks if our hero has a great hand. Finally, he calls.


A-J-10. I think rainbow.

Hero is disgusted at how awful that flop is. He thinks for about 10 seconds and decides his opponent has JJ, QQ, or KK.

Hero decides to push.


Would you have pushed?

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

The villain fairly quickly calls the Hero's all-in and reveals JJ. The hero desperately hopes for a Q but none hit. Based on some post-hand chit-chat with the villain, it seems like he was going to play JJ no matter how much the hero raised pre-flop. In retrospect, it seems like the hero should have simply check-folded the flop and moved on.

  • Given the blinds size, raising 110 preflop with that was very, to put it mildly, questionable.
    – DPM
    Commented Mar 19, 2014 at 1:13
  • What was the process that led the Hero to decide that his opponent has JJ, QQ or KK? If JJ was in the range - at all - then why would the Hero push bad money? Commented Aug 18, 2014 at 15:32

4 Answers 4


My standard raise in this spot preflop would be something like $84. With reads that villains are bad (i.e. will call 3bets like this way too often) that number becomes bigger. So $110 probably isn't a bad raise size, but you should realize that you're putting in 1/3 of effective stacks and you really don't want to play postflop when that's the case.

Under the assumption that villain is fishy/not thinking too deeply I would check/decide on this flop. I would be sort of stubborn/hard pressed to fold given how much we put in but with some more reads on the opponent it could certainly be best. Shoving doesn't do us any good because when he has better he's not folding and when he has worse it's pretty tough for him to call.

Also, if you think he has JJ-KK, why would shoving accomplish anything good for you? He probably won't call a shove with QQ, he'll instacall with JJ, and there's only one combo of KK so that's pretty much irrelevant. Plus AA, TT, AK, and some other hands certainly aren't out of the realm of possibility.

  • 1
    I think your analysis here is spot on, particularly the risk of putting in 1/3 of my stack pre-flop.
    – Craig
    Commented Nov 5, 2012 at 2:50
  • 5
    Can you elaborate why do you raise to 84? are you doing some calculation to get that number?
    – rodrigoq
    Commented Nov 6, 2012 at 19:40
  • I assume that the OP discounted AA because the villain hesitated for so long pre-flop (assuming he's not faking a tell). AA would normally be an insta-call or even a push. Commented Mar 13, 2014 at 15:03
  • @Chris Taylor AA has 0.85 prob of winning against a random hand and obviously less than that against a good hand. While you have positive expectation, being comfortable with a +20% prob. of losing a good chunk of your stack seems unlikely if you decided to play low stakes in the first place.
    – DPM
    Commented Mar 19, 2014 at 1:28

First, $110 is too much. $70 (~6 times more than the initial raise) would be enough here to make other players fold their hands (obviously, they are trying to catch something with Axs, small connectors, small pairs, etc. - it's hard to call 3bet for them here). KK is a good hand but it seems like hero is so afraid of losing with this hand, so he can't play it wisely.

Second, how can the UTG have KK here? I'd bet on a pair like 99, 88, 77 or AK, AQ, AJ, TT. If he had JJ, QQ and AA seeing hero is so committed to the pot, he'd probably shove all-in. Personally I think he had AQs.

Third. Assuming hero didn't do this wrong move betting 9 times more than Villian's raise and made it something up to $80 (at most, let's say the reraise was $70), I'd bet on this flop something close to 5/8 of the pot (a little less than 3/4). 70 + 70 + 12 + 12 + 12 + 12 = 188 $ (size of the pot, and hero has $370, Villian has $240 at this point). If hero bet something like $120 it's a little less than 3/4 of the pot and at the same time it's a half of Villian's stack and we keep the aggression line - at this point hero forces Villian to take decision right now on this scary board. Villian can go all in now or fold (calling is a madness). Now he has to take very hard decision (hero might have AA, JJ or AK). So even if Villian had AQ - it's tough decision anyway. If he's flopped monster, he obviously shoves all in and hero saves some money with easy fold.

Check is not an option so as all in, but hero should learn to leave some space for self for the maneuver.

Of course, this is my IMHO.


Obviously the flop here is terrible for the hero. The hero is behind A-x, JJ, KQ, 10-10. Villain raised under the gun making AK, AQ or high pockets the likely holdings.

An all-in bet will likely immediately chase away 9-9 pockets and below, leaving the likely holdings of AK,AQ, AA, QQ, JJ , 10-10 remaining. I excluded KK, since this holding is very unlikely for the villain given the hero has KK. But this is almost all the hands we put the villain on in the first place. So we suspect the villain will call this all-in.

Of these 5 likely holdings, QQ is the only holding giving the hero the advantage. So therefore it is far more likely the villain will win, if he calls the all-in.

This leads to a tough decision. I would check and be prepared to throw the hand away. Hero shouldn't have raised so much that he can't afford to define his hand post-flop.

  • Also not to forget that most villans will fold QQ(and KK) to a shove which makes the raise even worse.
    – Daniel
    Commented Mar 13, 2014 at 13:04

Why overbet pre. You just want to get rid of suited connectors and trashy Ax. You want 22-QQ that you dominate to stay around. If that was supposed to look like a fishy bluff you are making it expensive to bluff. So like $60 - $80. I get JJ called but that was not a good call. If they are stubborn and are going to call with a weak Ax little out of position for $80 they are probably going to call $110.

Push flop? What worse hand is going to call. QQ probably cannot call here. You are getting called by a strong ace, AJ, and JJ. You put a lot of chips at risk to maybe chase out a weak ace but if a weak ace did not fold pre it is not likely to fold here.

I don't think check fold unless they overbet big as they should take a stab at the pot and most likely they got a piece of it. They would be value betting QQ, AK, AQ.

If you had just bet $60 pre you could have bet 1/2 - 3/4 the pot on the flop and found out where you are. Gotten value from QQ, AK, AQ. Folded out smaller pairs. If a Q hits you stack them with a straight if they have QQ, AQ. AK you stack them if a K hits. If they raise you back then you have to release as no worse hand is going to raise in that spot. I don't think you are folding out weak ace with an overbet in this spot.

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