This section covers the uncommon situation when you are faced with a reraise that does not put you all-in. Usually these spots are shove or fold decisions; however, there are times when the raise is small enough that there is room to call and maneuver on the next street.
One scenario that occasionally presents itself is when you face a small raise while holding a big draw. It is never a huge mistake to get all the money in, but sometimes a call can be even better. In cases where you are pretty certain that you have no fold equity, it is okay to call and see one more street before committing or folding. Take the following example:
Example #13.4: Facing A Reraise In A Limped Pot
No-Limit Hold’em, $0.50 BB (6 handed)
UTG ($27.87) HJ ($65.95)
CO ($29.02) Button ($49.25) SB ($30.98) Hero (BB) ($15)
Preflop: Hero is BB with 5♠, 6♠
2 folds, CO calls $0.50,1 fold, SB calls $0.25, Hero checks
Flop: ($1.50) 7♦, Q♣, 4♦ (3 players)
SB checks, Hero bets $0.75, CO raises to $2,1 fold, Hero calls $1.25
Hero leads out in a limped pot with an open-ended straight draw and faces a small raise. Since flop raises in limped pots typically indicate a hand that is ready to go all the way, shoving all-in is not a good play.
With no fold equity, the only viable options are to either call or fold. Folding is okay since we only have 6 clean outs due to the flush draw. But when we look at implied odds, we are calling $1.25 to potentially win $12.50, or 10 to 1. We are 8 to 1 to hit the draw on the turn, so a call is profitable.
There is also a chance that our opponent is drawing with a hand like A♦T♦. If the turn or river pair us up, there is a chance we can see a cheap showdown and win. Always consider every potential outcome as small details can put on the fence decisions over the top one way or the other.
Turn: ($5.50) ♥2 (2 players)
Hero checks, CO bets $2, Hero calls $2
The turn is a blank, so we decide to check and fold to a reasonable bet. However, our opponent only bets $2 and gives us 4 to 1 on a call. It looks like a diamond draw is a big part of our opponent’s range, so we count our pair outs as a possibility. This, coupled with our live nut straight draw, make a call on the turn very easy.
River: ($9.50) 6♥ (2 players)
Hero checks, CO checks
Had the river not paired us, we would have considered leading for around $5 to get our opponent off his diamond draws and pure air that beat us. But, since we made a pair, we checked hoping to see a cheap showdown and are happy to see him check behind.
Total pot: $9.50 | Rake: $0.45
Hero didn’t show 5♠, 6♠ (nothing).
CO had 10♥, Q♦ (one pair, Queens).
Outcome: CO won $9.05.
We find out that our opponent had top pair good kicker, which is a lot weaker than we generally would expect someone to stack off with in a limped pot. This highlights the fact that many players widen their stack off ranges against a short stack. Since it is obvious that we had no fold equity on the flop, it is clear that our play was correct. ____________________________________________________________
Another situation that you can consider calling a flop raise is when you hold an almost unbeatable hand. Even so, the only time I consider doing this is when my opponent has shown to be capable of making bluff raises. If you do not have a specific read or history with your opponent, then a red post- flop aggression stat in their HUD is a decent indicator that they do not always have a hand they are willing to stack off with. In that situation, it is sometimes better to call and give them a chance to continue their bluff on the turn. This circumstance rarely occurs, but is definitely something to keep an eye out for. Take the following example:
Example #13.5: Getting Reraised By An Aggressive Opponent
No-Limit Hold’em, $0.20 BB (6 handed)
HJ ($22.92) 26/18/36 CO ($31.09)
Hero (BB) ($6)
Preflop: Hero is BB with 5♥, 5♦
1 fold, HJ bets $0.60, CO calls $0.60, 2 folds, Hero calls $0.40 I flat a small pair in the big blind getting 3.75 to 1 direct odds.
Flop: ($1.90) 5♠, K♣, K♠ (3 players)
Hero bets $0.60, HJ raises to $1.20, CO calls $1.20, Hero calls $0.60
I lead out into a dry board against two opponents to build a pot and represent a bluff or semi- bluff. I face a min-raise and a cold call, so I smooth call to keep draws and weak made hands in.
Turn: ($5.50) 10♠ (3 players)
Hero checks, HJbets $3.27, 1 fold, Hero raises to $4.40 (All-In), HJ calls $1.13
I check the turn and the HJ player bets 60% of the pot. This play screams strength considering the action on the flop. I could call, but with only $1.14 behind, pushing all-in is virtually the same thing.
River: ($14.30) A♠ (2 players, 1 all-in) Total pot: $14.30 | Rake: $0.71
Hero had 5♥, 5♦ (full house, fives over Kings).
HJ had Q♠, J♥ (flush, Ace high).
Outcome: Hero won $13.59.
The aggressive HJ player bluff raised my “weak” lead with only two overs to the 5 and backdoor flush and straight draws. Had I jammed the flop, it is likely both players would have folded. By flatting the flop, I gave my opponents a chance to pick up a reason to stack off on the turn. After adding a flush draw and open-ended straight draw on the turn, my opponent committed to the pot while unknowingly drawing dead.