Unsure of whether or not to make that call in a limit hold’em cash game? Help is at hand

You’re playing in a live ten-handed \$10/\$20 limit hold’em game. You have A-Q on the button. The players in seats five and seven call. You’d like to get a little dead money in the pot by knocking out the blinds so you raise. It half works; the small blind folds, but the big blind calls your raise as do the other players. The flop is pretty good for you: A-Q-K. The other players inevitably check to you; you want to let them catch up, but feel as if a check could arouse suspicion. You decide to bet and hope to get check-raised. The player in seat No.5 folds, the other two just call. The turn is K, one of the worst cards you could have landed. It is checked to you. What now?

BARRY GREENSTEIN

I would bet. One of them may just have an Ace and the other something like Q-J. I don’t want to check and let a Jack or 10 come on the river, whereas they may fold to a bet. If I’m raised, I’ll fold.

DAVID WILLIAMS

I think you should check and see the river and call the river if they bet. If they check, you bet. You’re only going to be called on the turn by hands that tie you because any Ace is the same as A-Q now and you may get raised by a bluff or a better hand. If you check, someone may bet out as a bluff on the river and you gain a bet.

JOHN LEONTAKIANAKOS

If you check and see a free river card, the other players will almost certainly bet out at you on the river. With the same investment you were willing to make on the turn, you could see the hand down to the end and see if yours holds up. If you choose to bet on the turn and get checkraised, get away from the hand. Your opponent could be playing A-K, in which case you are drawing dead. A better case scenario would be if your opponent is playing K-Q and you are drawing to two outs. Even if your opponent is on King-rag, your outs only increase to four – still nowhere near enough to continue in the hand.

### SCENARIO 2

You’re playing in a short-handed \$50/\$100 limit hold’em game. You find A-K under the gun and raise. The action is folded to the button, who three-bets it. This player is loose-aggressive who likes to play marginal hands in position and will relentlessly bet the flop, turn and river even though he has not hit it in any way. You decide to call, hoping to trap him later on. The flop is 7-6-5, which isn’t the greatest of flops for you. But, knowing your opponent will almost certainly bet if you check, you decide to bet out. Your opponent just calls. The turn is the 6. You check, as does your opponent. The river is the K. You bet out and your opponent check-raises. Now what?

BARRY GREENSTEIN

I would have just check-called him down. I would call on the river and hope for a tie.

DAVID WILLIAMS

It really depends on your opponent. I like to just call as there is no reason to three-bet and I don’t think you can fold based on the way it was played and your opponent being a loose-aggressive player. I know some very good limit hold’em players that may three-bet here because they know how loose-aggressive the player is, but it totally depends on your read of your opponent. I think folding is the only move that is not a good one.

JOHN LEONTAKIANAKOS

First of all, I don’t like the way this hand was played pre-flop. If I am facing a loose-aggressive player on the button, I would probably have chosen to re-raise pre-flop in order to find out where I stand. After all, I raised under the gun and got no respect from this player. A reraise would be appropriate in order to assert yourself in the hand. To smooth call in this instance with A-K makes little or no sense at all as that is not a made hand. All you have is two high cards and it’s very difficult to ‘trap’ with Ace-high. You still need to hit in order to have a hand you could trap with and there are lots of hands that would be ahead pre-flop. Looking at how the hand was played; the continuation bet after the flop was appropriate. I don’t much mind the check on the turn, as it could also be viewed as slow playing. But after you checked on the turn and hit your card on the river you have to be prepared to call the raise, being you decided to lead out and bet. You are getting ample odds to make the call in this case.

### SCENARIO 3

You’re playing in the first hand of an online \$100/\$200 limit hold’em game. The player in early position limps, you look down at K-K in the cut-off and raise. The small blind folds, while the big blind three-bets. The player in early position now calls, which you do as well. The Flop comes down K-A-5, and everyone checks to you. You now decide to bet, and are called by both players. The turn is the 7. The big blind checks, early position player bets and you call. After the big blind is forced to fold, the river lands a Q. The player in early position bets. Can you possibly fold?

BARRY GREENSTEIN

I would fold against a player who I know wouldn’t bluff in this spot. If I have no read on the guy, I can just call and chalk it up to gaining information as to what and how he played.

DAVID WILLIAMS

I don’t think you can fold unless you know the player well and know he wouldn’t make a move. You are getting about 9/1 on your call and most players’ bluff frequency here is probably less than that. For him to continue and bet out the river after you call the turn usually means he is bluffing or has the nuts. It is hard for him to bet a mediocre hand, which is anything but the Q-x or J-x. It really depends on knowing your opponent and how they play. You could try raising and representing the Q, but you have to hope the player in early position doesn’t actually have it and that they are the type of player that can fold a hand when getting good odds.

JOHN LEONTAKIANAKOS

With four hearts on the board you are almost certainly beaten. The set of Kings looks good, but regardless, it’s probably a losing hand and it belongs in the muck. I believe more pre-flop aggression was required in this hand. A pair of Kings is a dangerous hand with multiple callers. You should almost always re-raise it pre-flop especially when facing more than one potential caller.