You are eight-handed in the $10,000 buy-in World Series of Poker main event. You have a stack of 45,000 chips with blinds of 150-300 when you look down at A 2 in the small blind. A loose, aggressive player in the lojack raises to 800, and gets a call from a splashy player on the button.
Question 1: Should you fold, call, three-bet to 3,800, or three-bet to 6,200?
Answer: Both calling and three-betting are fine options, with your decison depending on how you think your opponents will respond. If you anticipate a four-bet, calling makes sense. If you think a three-bet will result in you winning the pot uncontested a large portion of the time, then three-bet.
When you do three-bet, bet 3,800 or so because if you go larger, the range your opponents will continue with will usually be incredibly strong, making it difficult for your weak suited ace after the flop.
You elect to three-bet to 3,800 and a tight player in the big blind cold four-bets to 8,000. Both the lojack and button fold.
Question 2: Should you fold, call, five-bet to 14,000, or go all-in?
Answer: While this is a difficult spot to be in, the pot odds being offered by your opponent make calling the best decision. With your opponent being a tight player, you know they likely are holding high pocket pairs or A-K. Your suited ace flops well enough to justify continuing.
You make the call and the flop comes J 6 3, giving you the nut flush draw.
Question 3: Should you check, bet 6,000, bet 12,000, or bet 24,000?
Answer: The only time leading makes sense is when the board heavily favors your range. While this board is great for your hand, there are no boards that are great for your range because your opponent’s preflop four-betting range is so incredibly strong. So, you should be checking here with your entire range.
You check, and your opponent bets 6,000.
Question 4: Should you fold, call, raise to 14,000, or go all-in?
Answer: It is time to go all-in. While not the ideal situation, when you are shallow stacked compared to the pot and you flop a flush draw, check/shoving is ideal if you expect your opponent to fold some of their hands to your all-in.
In this case, your opponent can easily have a hand like A-K or A-Q that will fold out, and they may even fold a hand as strong as pocket tens. If you get called, you will be behind and have to improve, but your fold equity plus your 9 to 12 outs are enough to make an all-in the best play.
You shove and your opponent folds, rewarding you with a hefty pot.