AQ facing a 3bet in BB

https://www.replaypoker.com/hand/replay/597281124

Hero (97bb) is in BB with AQo.

HJ (150bb) opens to 3.5 bb
Folds to SB (161bb) who 3-bets to 15 bb
Hero folds.
HJ folds

HJ is a loose aggressive player who 3-bets and 4-bets very light, although it seems like HJ did tighten up a little bit this game. HJ also like to call wide vs 3bets.
SB is a tight aggressive. I don’t know too much about his game, except it seems fairly solid to me.
Hero should have a table image of loose aggressive player.

HJ typically opens to 3.5 bb, so his raise size is nothing out of the ordinary. I expect SB to 3-bet or fold in this situation. Against a large HJ raise and using such a large 3-bet size, I expect SB’s opening range to be somewhat tight.

A hand like AQo does have decent equity against SB’s range. However, if I call, I don’t close the action, so HJ has to option to 4bet me, which I am forced to fold. Even if I cold-call and HJ folds, I won’t realize my full equity as a large chunk of SB’s range are premium hands; thus, I have to frequently fold to a cbet if I only have overcards.

Also, there isn’t a reasonable size to 4-bet besides shoving. Any smaller 4-bet sizing is equivalent to going all-in as I become pot-committed and price myself in. I feel that going all-in is too loose in this situation.

It seems like neither calling or 4-betting are good options, so I folded.

What would you do with AQo in this position?

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I think that you answered your own question, and in a well thought out way. In a ring game, a fold is the best call in the situation as you described it.

Thanks for the post. These analytical breakdowns are very instructive for people (like me) trying to improve their game.

I’m familiar with these players and I think folding vs sb is more than okay in this spot as your profiling of both players seems spot on. I think sb here has a mostly linear 3! range but I do believe he’s capable of recognizing the HJ’s overly aggressive preflop tendencies and polarizing just a bit with some 3! bluffs. EDIT: He can also have value that can’t and shouldn’t just 5! shove like 55-TT maybe JJ even as well as stuff you’re ahead of like AJs and ATs and you can play pretty well against his calling range with AQo post. This being said I do think at some frequency you can mix in some small 4! bluffs that will play in position post flop with a strong range and some bluffs. AQ I think fits right into this category. Fold is fine, I could see making it 26.5-30 bb’s and folding to a shove from either player pre.

I always urge players to be careful using terms such as these as they are often misapplied. In the case of pot committed it’s usually based around pot odds and has to do with the money we’ve already “invested” into the pot. The fallacy with this is that the money(chips) we’ve put into the pot already are no longer ours, they belong to the pot. Too often players stick in the rest of their money claiming pot committed without any regard being giving to what pot odds are being given in relation to the amount of equity they hold.

If you were to 4! AQ off here to 5.3M vs a range of 88+ ATs+ A5s A4s KTs+ QTs+ JTs 76s 65s AQo+ your equity in the pot when called would be 48%. Now if UD 5! shoves, and we both believe he doesn’t have 5! bluffs then we can condense his range down to say QQ+ AKs and AKo. Against this range our equity drops to around 25%. We have to call 15M to win 39.4M and need around 38% equity for this to be a profitable call and can easily fold. We’re really only ever pot committed when the amount of equity our hand retains against V’s perceived range is such that the pot odds we’re getting make it a +EV call.

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Great breakdown of the concept of pot commitment. That being said, I don’t think the following is quite right unless you assume V calls with his entire 3! range.

Maybe because of the small 4! size V shouldn’t fold much (if anything) from his 3! range but in practical terms I would think V sheds quite a bit of this range to a cold 4! (being OOP). I’d think we would be facing a much tighter range when called and therefore our equity is much diminished. I wonder if V keeps some of his premium value hands in his 4! calling range or if he 5! shoves them all? If he can get trappy, his calling range would be even stronger.

For me, I’d want to have an idea of how much of V’s 3! range can be folded out with a cold 4!. AQo isn’t a great hand to go postflop with vs a tight range so much of my decision would be based on whether I could use the hand to take down the pot preflop. The hand has great blockers to V’s continue range, which is the main reason I’d consider the 4!. If V is 3! very light, then the 4! would be a great play. If V is never folding to a 4!, then I’d probably go with the fold. It all boils down to assumed ranges and I don’t have enough info on V to give anything more than generalizations.

ADDED: To the OP’s original question - of all the options available, I think calling is the worst.

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Fair points and there’s definitely some issues with my wording/articulation. It’s funny how much time and work it takes to start burning this info(there’s so much of it) into your brain to get it to the point where it starts to become somewhat intuitive. Putting it to words is whole other exercise lol.

In this hand I’m sure I let existing knowledge of the players in the hand influence my thoughts. I think in the future when I see these I’ll react to the post before I watch the replay and then compare how things might change exploitatively with the knowledge I gain if any from information I may have about players in the hand.

The sb in question definitely has a 5! range and I do not believe it contains a single bluff. I’m 90% sure he’s shoving everything QQ+ and probably AKs at least. AQo blocks that range pretty heavily and is an easy fold to 5! shove from sb. I think for the price he’s getting most of his call range is going to be the speculative part of his 3! range that he’s going to play fit or fold with post flop. Suited connectors and the smaller pairs he chose to 3! pre. I don’t believe for the price I advocated above he would fold out much if any of his 3! range outside of AQo. JJ maybe TT I’m not entirely sure if he’s 5! shove here or not, I suspect for the price he would call and play through some flops calling c bet on a ton of boards even with an over for one street, like JJ on Q63 type boards.

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LOL - And this is my self-serving reason for participating in forums and coaching/tutoring others. Taking information I have and trying to present it in a way that is useful to others helps me a great deal. It requires me to go over concepts that maybe I’d otherwise become sloppy or complacent with. It forces me to put out analysis that is then subject to cross-analysis and critique. All of this contributes to the way I learn and retain information. By doing this, I think I get more from the process than I contribute to any 1 other player.

Interesting thoughts about V’s continue range. On the 1 hand we would have almost no fold equity vs his 3! range but we would get to play a large pot in position with great equity vs his continue range. I suppose it would all come down to our range assumptions for his 3! strategy. If I could play AQo in position vs the range you assigned to villain, I’m inclined to 4! for value here.

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