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UTG Went All the Way with AKs

edited January 2018 in Specific Hand Questions

I had KK in MP. I turned on peek at end, so I know Villian had AKs. As the hand played out, I saved some of my money, but lost a lot. I used the "Retry" button and tried every preflop and flop move and bet size I could think of. Nothing could move Villian off this hand. Going all-in when the action first got to me preflop like a Kill Philistine did not force her out of this hand. Even on the retries when one of the other players joined the hand, she would not budge.

Should we under all circumstances try to get the stacks in UTG with AKs preflop or TPTK postflop, the way this AI did? Is there ever a time to back off when in this AI's situation?


  • 1warlock

    With effective stacks of ~74BB, you are almost always getting stacks in here preflop. You have the 2nd best starting hand in poker, behind only to AA. You are crushing every other hand in a tight players 4-bet range, including (especially) AK. When 4-bet here, your only real play is to shove the rest of your stack in and see 5 cards. It is an EV+ play unless you know for sure the other player has exactly AA in their 4-bet range. Leaving 39BB behind with a pot of 70BB makes no real sense as you have no fold equity left. Plus, the other player is putting you all-in on every conceivable flop anyway with a perceived range advantage. In fact, because you didn't shove, a decent player will cap your range and have you on about 2 hands (JJ and QQ). Even if they have JJ, QQ or KK themselves here, they are betting that flop seeing you playing defensively preflop.

    With deeper stacks (150-200BB+), there is no reason to get it all-in preflop. With the stack depths here, no one is folding AKs in her spot, even to a 3-bet shove by you. Well, maybe there are some super-nits in the world but I wouldn't think a player described as she is fits that description. So, get it in and see 5 cards rather than having to fold out a huge amount of equity to 1 over-card. If you were going to fold that hand to any A on the flop, you may as well have just flatted her initial open. The surest way to lose money in the long term it to put chips into a pot and then have to fold. Yes, in this particular spot the flop wiped out most of your equity but against her entire range, you still had to call so might as well get it in to begin with.

    Just 1 donkey's opinion of course.

  • monkeysystem

    Thanks for the well thought out response. I'll use your advice to plug my leak. This hand may also be a good example of why you shouldn't let your stack drift down too much before buying some more chips.

  • 1warlock
    edited January 2018

    No worries and I enjoy going through hands with people. It helps me to learn, especially when someone better than I am sees flaws in my reasoning and points it out. This is a game of incomplete information and therefore is about making the best decisions we can, given the information we have. To that end, lets go through the hand step by step with some math:

    1) UTG tight player opens - Lets ascribe an opening range of TT+, AQs+, AKo (3.77% of hands made up of 50 possible combinations of cards)

    2) Hero on Button has KcKh - Against that opening range, KK has about 66.2% equity. You want to 3-bet here for value and also to isolate against the initial raiser. Allowing other players to enter the pot dilutes your equity and you don't want that. This is what you do and that play works because everyone else folds back to initial raiser.

    3) UTG tight player 4-bets - Now we can put her on a very tight range of say QQ+,AK, made up of 34 total combos. However, our KK is blocking some of those combos so we can reduce that number even further. There are 6 total combinations for each pocket pair and 16 total combos for each unpaired holding (4 suited and 12 unsuited). So, 6 for QQ, 6 for KK, 6 for AA and 16 for AK - if we aren't considering our own cards. But since we do know what our 2 cards are, we can use that information. When we factor in our cards to remove the available combos villain can have, we end up with 21. She can't have all possible combinations with K's if we have 2 of them ourselves. So, there are still 6 combinations left for AA and QQ but only 1 available for her to hold of KK - 13 combinations of pairs. Instead of the 16 combos of AK, there are only 8 left available (2 suited, 6 unsuited).

    This is a big deal because just by considering the cards we can see (our own), we can knock out another 38% of her range (13 of 34 possible hands). From an initial 50 possible holdings she opened with, we now are fairly confident this player has 1 of only 21 combinations. That's about as complete a picture as we are ever going to get of an opponents range preflop.

    4) Hero is now facing a decision on whether to fold, call or raise here. If we agree that a call is effectively an all-in anyway then our decision becomes binary: fold or shove. Our hand has 57.2% equity against our updated estimate of villains range (QQ+, AK). Folding when significantly ahead doesn't seem like the way to go so the only option left is to shove all-in. Easy as pie :)

    I hope this helps explain a bit more about how I would come to a decision if I was playing the hand. Unless I knew for sure that this player only ever 4-bet AA, I am shoving.

    Just to complete the math part for the flop to show that calling was still the correct decision as the hand actually played out: With the range we had her on (21 possible hands), your hand still had about 39.1% equity. That's 39.1% after considering the flop, Ace and all. You needed 26.2% to make the call based on pot odds. Because we can't know specifically what she is holding, we still need to play against the range we decided upon. If we were playing against a weaker player who would only bet that flop if they actually had top pair or better, then sure we could fold. However, this player is described as being very high level. She is going to bet her range and so we need to continue making decisions based on that.

    BTW - If we included JJ in her 4-bet range, our equity would have been 62.6%. If she had any 4-bet bluffs (I do but most players don't), then our equity is even higher.

  • 1warlock

    Oops - caught an error. Hero is not on Button but in lojack. Shouldn't affect anything in the analysis but it is an error. Sorry.

  • magicjack69

    AK is a good had to add to your all in range....AA and KK are obvious but AK adds in enough combos to protect people from thanking win you get all in its only AA or KK...AK is kind of a semi bluff all in pre flop move in my opinion

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