Facing a nitty 4 bet range

Assume hero is in SB and villain is in BU with stacks of 100bb. Assume villain raises to 3bb, hero 3bets to 12bb, villain 4bets to 25bb. Assume villain only plays this way with AA, KK, AK, and QQ.

How would you play hands like QQ, AKo, or AKs? Do you just jam to negate the OOP disadvantage or just call as these hands are underdogs?

Would there be any merit in flatting 67s as you will be playing against a face-up range? What about JJ or other pocket pairs?


In V’s range, you are behind most of the time. Your pot odds are about 2.8:1 and I don’t think that you are getting the right price to call with either QQ or AK.

With AK, you are most likely up against QQ. If you shove here, I doubt that you can expect V to fold, and winning is now a matter of chance – it’s not quite a coin flip. Flatting here is an option, though, because if you hit the flop the obvious play is to check and hope that V c-bets. But would such a “nitty” player actually c-bet with an A or K on the board? This complicates how to play the hand post-flop, and I would be inclined to lead with a bet (say, 50% of the pot), even though the “rules” of poker tell us to check to the aggressor. A “nitty” player would likely fold here (if they don’t, they hit a set), and you win 25bbs, which is a nice haul. But I don’t think it’s a nice enough haul to warrant the risk of 25bb on your part, and this is why I would fold AK preflop.

I am on the fence about what to do with QQ. As you laid it out, the worst possible hand V could have is AK. With QQ, I would be inclined to flat call preflop instead of putting in a 3-bet against such a tight opponent. Heads up, the odds of V having a dominant pocket pair are less than 1% and QQ is also a slight favourite against AK. But against this particular player, I think it is probably better to fold when facing a 4-bet.

I don’t see what you hope to accomplish with flatting 67s or JJ or lesser pocket pairs. I think those are definite folds knowing that V’s range is AK and QQ+

1 Like

Assuming V’s range is QQ+ AK I think you just fold everything that’s not AA KK.


Absolutely not flatting sc’s with what will be an spr of 1.5. The implied odds and your ability to bluff later in the hand are paramount to making these hands +EV. You need to be a lot deeper to play these. As far as JJ and other pairs… fold them all. I’d even fold QQ.


Exactly - the exploit to someone with a 4! range like this is to fold almost everything. There are players who have exactly 1 hand in their 4! range. At 100bb effective, you just have to make snug folds. Don’t lose 100bb because you feel entitled to win a big pot with a strong hand like JJ/QQ. Would you toss in 75bb on the flop with these hands if it was AKx and a straightforward opponent shoved on you? Of course not. Save yourself the extra 13bb preflop and move on.

If you absolutely hate money, jam. If you just don’t like money, call :wink:


Jamming doesn’t quite give the odds. We have to put in 88bb to win 201bb, which means we need 43.8% equity, which AK, QQ doesn’t have.

However to call, we only need to put in 13bb more to win a pot of 51bb, meaning we need 25.5% equity. Realizing that is another matter.

If an A or K comes, then it is a easy fold with lower pairs. If A or K does not come, we can bluff catch with QQ. If our opponent bluffs too many AK, our QQ will over-realize its equity by calling bluffs. If our opponent does not bluff enough AK, QQ over-realizes its equity by checking to showdown.

If an A comes and our opponent checks twice, we can bet some of our QQ as a bluff to fold out KK and QQ. If our opponent folds too much, QQ over-realizes it’s equity. If our opponent calls too much, AK to over-realizes its equity.

If we know our opponents range is AK, QQ+, it is easy for us to outplay postflop. Perhaps, we should fold our AKo and call with QQ and AKs to avoid having too much air on non-ace and king boards.

If we find that we can profitably call with lower pocket-pairs, we can start adding in combos of AKo.

1 Like

Playing solid poker and being a winning player revolves mostly around boring high-frequency spots. Its not sexy and doesn’t involve complicated strategies or fancy plays. This includes knowing when to fold preflop, especially when your opponent is nice enough to tell you their range consists of exactly 3 hands that crush you.

You could put the best player in the world in the OOP spot here and he would not be able to show a profit vs the most basic level-1 player (assuming you forced him to see the flop). You cannot spot someone a massive range advantage, positional advantage and betting lead with a 1.5 SPR and think you have any chance of turning it into a wining situation. There is no amount of skill edge that will overcome everything stacked against you, even if someone is accurately assessing their skill edge (another story altogether). Having essentially a 4-card flop to OOP’s 3 with an SPR that makes getting it in with TP a no-brainier is impossible to overcome. Try bluff-catching a range that is entirely premium value hands at these depths.

Anyone can play their cards any way they wish to. People make negative EV decisions all the time and justify them in all sorts of ways. I don’t spend a lot of time thinking about how to overcome horrible spots that come about 1 in a few thousand hands. I sidestep those massively negative spots and focus on the other 99.9% of hands. Mostly boring poker, printing small amounts of EV over and over again, looking to make the most EV+ decision at any given time.


Would you fold Queens in this spot if you are certain your opponent’s range is AK, QQ+? I think QQ will realize more than 25% equity and is strong enough to warrant a call.

Other pairs might have enough equity considering they can easily fold on boards with an A or K vs a bet and bluff on boards that have an A when the opponent checks. The issue is that villain will have more value hands with QQ.

Once we start adding in pairs, we need to start adding in more AKo to value bet it’s top pairs on Ace high boards. AK can also bluff on low card boards to get our opponent off a chop.

Either the limiting factor is we don’t have enough AKo for boards with an ace so we can’t call too many pairs, or lower pocket pairs aren’t profitable enough to call, forcing us to fold AKo.

We can certainly bluff catch with a spr of 1.5. If our opponent goes allin, there will be hands where we fold.
We’re not trying realize more EV than our opponent. It’s a matter of realizing 25% equity against a face-up range. Our opponent can win 3 times more chips than us and we can still call the 4bet. Also, even with a weaker range, we can still bluff and be aggressive, allowing us realize more equity.

I don’t see how 25% equity should inform your decision in this situation, given that you have defined V’s range as QQ+ and AK.

When holding QQ, it is most likely that V has either AA in door number 1, KK in door number 2, or AK in door number 3. In other words, two of three times QQ is dominated and in one of three times it is only a slight (54%-57%) favourite. This tells me that it is -EV to call V’s 3bb open bet, let alone 3-bet or call the 4-bet, with QQ. It is not about trying to realize more EV than your opponent (that makes no sense) – it is about making +EV plays.

Also, I don’t understand how you can hope to bluff catch against a “nitty” opponent. A “nitty” opponent is not going to bluff with AK if they miss on the flop. Any bet V makes post-flop is most likely to be a value bet.

1 Like

I would. Then again, I have folded KK face up preflop. I was 5! jammed on for 150BB by a player who was an uber nit after I had cold 4!. I had played with him enough times to know he had 1 hand in his range and my exploit was to fold. The gasps from the other players at my fold made me chuckle inside.

If the villain is this transparent, I think there are countless other ways to attack him. I wouldn’t try to manufacture something in a spot like this. Take a page from Sun Tzu - avoid a confrontation where you are at a severe disadvantage. Saved resources can then be deployed for situations that are more advantageous to you. Battles are won or lost before the armies meet on the field.

I folded QQ in a big tournament once. ('06 WSOP Main event)

Maniac in EP opens, total nit, who hadn’t played a hand in 4 or 5 orbits, raises, and I look down at QQ. I was almosr certain the maniac was going to shove, so I folded. Shove and call, maniac shows KK, nit shows AA. Maniac hits a king and sends the aces packing.

Why risk it all when you are either e slight favorite or a big dog? Sure, there are times where you have to get it in, but SunTzu also said, “Never fight a battle you don’t have to win.” (maybe this was someone else, not Sun Tzu)

1 Like