2019 World Series of Poker

Call, Fold or Reraise With Pocket Fives from the Small Blind?

Call, Fold or Reraise With Pocket Fives from the Small Blind?
  • You're in the SB with 5-5 facing a cutoff raise in a tournament. What do you do? Ask @LearnWPT.

  • In a tournament, how would you play 5-5 from the small blind vs. a cutoff raise? @LearnWPT weighs in.

DECISION POINT: In a no-limit hold'em tournament, it folds to the cutoff who raises. The button folds and action is on you in the small blind with {5-Diamonds}{5-Clubs}.

PRO ANSWER: In this hand we have pocket fives in the small blind against a cutoff raise. In order to call and play this hand speculatively, we want to make sure we are getting the correct implied odds.

In this case, we have to put in 182 more with an effective stack of 2,750. That means we are calling 6.6 percent of the effective stack with a pocket pair. In some cases with pocket pairs it may be profitable to call that amount since we can sometimes go up to 7-8 percent (only with pocket pairs).

However, what is our opponent's hand range? The raise came from late position, so the player likely has a wide hand range. This makes it less likely that we will be paid off in the long run if we flop a set. We'd actually prefer that our opponent raised from UTG instead, since if our opponent holds a strong preflop hand the player is more likely to continue against us postflop when we hit our set.

In addition, we are not closing the action by calling. The player in the big blind could reraise and shut us out of this hand. In fact, the big blind has a stack size that is reasonable (but at the high end) for a reshove squeeze play against us and the cutoff, especially given the 4x open-raise size.

Since our opponent's hand range is so wide, the call amount as a percentage of effective stacks is relatively high, and we are not even closing the action, we will not be profitable calling here out of the small blind in the long run to play this hand purely for set value. Reraising or folding will be a better long term play than playing for set value.

Given a default wide hand range from the player in the cutoff, reraising will be the most profitable line.

Reraising is the best play.

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