Here’s a hand from 100k/200k, villain is a top ~10 ranked player on replay (I’m going write up the hand rather than post it because it may elicit more thought than just watching it). I get dealt AKo from EP in 6-max with 2.5bb dead money. I open to 4.5, which is my standard size. Villain 3-bets the CO to 16 (villain started with the effective stack of 110bbs). Now I’m faced with the inflection point of the hand, and fold/call/raise all seem like viable options.
Folding cuts down on variance, why gamble OOP against a good player? But villain knows even my EP range is wider than most so he could 3bet as a bluff or slightly wider than against some. Folding AK would be exploitable and mean that I would be folding to almost all 3bets (although I might set mine with pocket pairs…). I think folding is too tight considering I block AA/KK.
Then there’s calling. It cuts down on variance, but I’m only going to hit the flop 1/3 of the time, so I’m going to end up check folding a lot. And if I do hit it will be pretty obvious and hands like QQ/JJ might not pay me off. And if I’m dominated by AA/KK i will get stacked anyway if an ace or king flops. I really don’t like calling here OOP with a strong drawing/blocker hand.
So I decided to raise, but this is where I got confused. If villain were 200bbs deep (like me) then it’s standard 4bet to 50bbs and then fold vs the shove (at least from this particular V), but villain now has 95bb behind, so if I raise to 50 i have to call the shove for 45 more. In retrospect maybe the best idea is to 4bet to 40-45 and then fold but that felt kind of exploitable because it seems like I’m reluctant to play for stacks. Maybe a smaller sizing actually would be better (like 35-40) because it would look stronger while being less committing.
As played I shoved the 95 rather than 4bet to 50 and got called by AA.
Was the shove actually bad? I proofed it with equilab and a fold equity calculator and I’m not sure if it was. Even if villain’s 3bet range is as strong as QQ+/AK then I have 38% equity and only need villain to fold less than half the time. Based on combos if villain folds QQ and AK and continues with AA/KK then they’re folding about 2/3 of the time. But maybe they are calling with all of those hands? Maybe they are only 3betting with KK+? It’s also possible that their 3bet range is even wider, making the shove even better. AK is the toughest hand to play IMO.