AQ small blind

Strategy & Advice by Krusherlaw about Horseshoe Baltimore Posted

This is a hand which came up this evening at the Horseshoe in Baltimore. The game is $1/3 nl.

I have been playing relatively tight. I have win a few big pots and built my stack up to about $400. I am in the small blind with AQ.

Three players limp to the button who raises to sixteen, a slightly larger than average raise. Button has about $75 left after the bet. I have seen him raise pre flop a few times but haven't seen him show anything except when he had his AA cracked.

Do I call raise or fold?


  1. He's got <30 big blinds here. I just three bet him and am fine getting it in vs his short stack and let the chips fall as they may. Three bet to 50ish and call if he shoves.

  2. I think I'd fold. Not out of concern for the button, but the three limpers between you and the button. I don't see playing a big pot out of position with AQ.

  3. Yes, but I don't see those limpers coming along for a raise and reraise. I think the raise is likely to get the isolation you want.

  4. Ok, I'm no Benton Blakeman. Since he disagrees...I'm probably wrong. But please criticize this line of reasoning:

    All three limpers have to fold to get your desired result (heads-up with the button). Though your chances are probably better than 50% that happens, is it really much higher than that at a 1-3 game? If you haven't read all three of the limpers correctly, you're now playing a drawing hand out of position for a big pot.

    And even if you get them out, you either win the smallish-pot or you're heads-up in a big pot (assuming the button calls or shoves) and probably racing. Why is it not better to fold and try to get your money in with the best of it? Or at least have the power of position?

  5. I know a lot of people look down at AQ and see a playable hand but I think this is an easy fold which is what I did.

    What is button's range here? I put him on AA-TT, AK. Maybe smaller pocket pairs. However, because of his tight play and larger than normal raise I am skewing it towards the high end. I don't think this particular player is raising here with suited connectors or two paint cards or trying to steal with air.

    If I three bet and get called by button I am almost certainly dominated. Even if I am not dominated what is the strategy for the rest of the hand? Check call any bets? That is pretty weak. I think this is a situation where bad position outweighs good cards.

    I will say that I do not like the idea of raising to isolate. If I read all of the other limpers having weaker hands than the button why would I want to eliminate them? Since I am most likely behind the button I would need additional implied odds from other players to make this hand profitable.

  6. I guess I play in some pretty passive games, where a strong re-raise, even OP or maybe especially OP, send all the shoe clerks and crumb bums packing.

    I think I've got the short stacked button on wider range seeing some dead money in the pot with a hand an din a position where he thinks he can force some weak ace, suited connected, and small pair limpers off (again passive games I am used to I suppose). Could also be a hand that plays as a slight dog against a single tricky opponent. I read his bet as designed against the limpers and not the blinds, and that hero is stronger than the hands that the button is designing this bet for.

    A bigger reraise could get the isolation done more effectively, but I think Benton's number is right for getting the effect you want and still letting you get away if one of the early limpers represents slow playing a monster and you believe them. Only bet what you need to in order to gain the effect that you want is something I have been working on.

  7. My first question would be: Is the AQ suited? if so then i simply call with all those implied outs! Even if the button is holding AA, KK, QQ, etc..... you still have the odds of making your hand before he improves his. Secondly, there is a good possibility that 2 of the 3 limpers will fold and if not, then its also likely that these players are calling with low to mid pairs or lower suited cards than yours such as 10 J, JQ, KQ, and the like, maybe even middle suited cards. By calling and hitting good on the flop you will have the opportunity to allow the button to throw good money after bad trying to move you off of a pot that you have already moved into position to win. Theres no way at this point the button could possibly assume that you simply called with AQ suited. If you hit your suits, say 2 of the 3 needed, you now have an opportunity to set a trap by betting the draw. Yes, it is a little speculative, and yes it is a little risky to "hope" for the suits to come. But the risk reward here has value. Thats how i would play it anyway.

  8. I really don't want limpers coming along in this pot, so I hate the call. I could see a fold with Krusherlaw's explanation, but I think it's raise or fold. Everyone tell's me AQ does not play well in multiway pots and I believe that to be true. I think that speculating on a nut flush as additional outs is too trappy. I like the more straightforward plays here. Of course AQ is the had I get crushed on in my other post so what the heck do I know . . .

  9. My 2 cents on the whole thing is it depends on your read on those limpers and how you will feel if you end up in a heads-up "flip" for what I'm guessing is the profit you've won already (assuming 100bb max buy-in), and you lose to his 10-10 (speculating). If losing this pot is going to make the rest of the session be sour for you, and in turn, cost you MORE money, then let the hand go.

    I think raising here is ok if you think you can pick up the dead money or don't mind the flip, AND if you feel you can play well post flop, OP against possibly 2 or more opponents should at least 1 of the limpers call. A key trick to playing a winning game is not constantly putting yourself in a spot to have to make tough decisions. Even if the AQ is suited (say in hearts), now you have to play a flush draw (SHOULD you flop 2 to a flush) by acting first. If one of the limpers calls a reraise with say Ad-10d, and the flop is 10 high with 2 hearts, do you lead out? What if you do and the limper now makes a large reraise to protect his hand. And the button shoves his last $30 in. Are you getting caught in a side pot where if you spike your flush on the turn, it's not going to be too disguised and now your opponents isn't going to pay off when you hit your "implied odds" hand? Implied odds hands means that your opponent is going to give you money when you make that hand, not just that you hit your hand. Flopping a flush is 118-1, and flopping a draw to a flush is 8-1, so you will make enough money the 1 time you hit it to overcome the 8 times you don't.

    To the poster who said in their game most people fold to an OP raise/re-raise, that's why I say it's situational. Here in Vegas any 1-3 game or below you never know what to expect. I saw a hand last week where 5 people limped in and the SB made it 45 to go, and 2 of the limpers flat called. On a 8d-6d-Ks board the SB led for $80, one limper shoved her remaining $110 and the next person reshoved for $185. The SB called the reshove.

    Limper 1: Qd-9d
    Limper 2: 5d-2d

    Board run out was 8d-6d-Ks-Jd-3d
    After limper 1 started to celebrate their over flush to limper 2, the SB turned over 2 red aces and dragged the pot.

    This doesn't relate so much to OPs hand post, but at a 1-3 game in Vegas (at the major rooms like Aria, Bellagio and Venetian (which is 1-2), it isn't uncommon for me to see limpers for $3 call a $30 raise or even limp, see a $12 raise and a $45 reraise, and STILL flat call. It makes me want to say what hand are you so afraid of raising, yet you will call another persons raise and look weak. Whatever, that's why I keep playing, as long as those people are in the game.

    And yes I play a tighter game but I am very aggressive post flop because I can work around a flop very well, a lot of times because I'm not having to force the action out of position. I also look at the game as a whole, not just this one hand I'm in. If I am going to tilt by losing what might be a flip, or I will think about this hand over and over for the next hour, I would let this one spot go and continue to play my A game for the next hand. And the next. And the next.