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#1 How Would You Play the Hand?

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This is a hand that I played in a juicy 1/3 No Limit Holdem game held at The Limelight Cardroom in downtown Sacramento where things got tricky playing A♣K♣ from out of position.  Keep in mind that the way I chose to play the hand does not mean it is necessarily the most optimal way of playing the hand.
UTG UTG+1 MP HJ CO B SB BB
$350 $170 $55 $450 $220
Villain1 Villain2 Villain3 Villain4 Hero
The game was 8 handed, and I have suited A♣K♣.  Villains 1 and 2 are players that I had no previous history with and seemed to be playing straight forward.  Villain 3 was a weak player who always short buys, and Villain 4 was a loose aggressive (LAG) player who has a tendency to over play hands.
Villain 1 started the action with a pre-flop raise to $15 with Villain 2, Villain 3, and Villain 4 all calling behind.  The pot has $64 in it.  How Would You Play the Hand here?
A. Call    B.  Raise to about $60     C. Go all in for $220
I decided to raise the pot to $63, leaving me with $157 behind.  There is a good chance that I will be able to take down the $60 pot without seeing a flop.  It is very unlikely that Villain 4, who has the deepest stack and poses the biggest threat to me, has a big pair because he would have certainly put in a large raise with three players already in the pot.  As long as we can get Villain 1 to fold here, we should be ahead of the other three player’s ranges.  Shoving all in in this spot is also an option because it gives you a better chance at isolating the shorter stack into a heads up spot.  Since my raise pre-flop almost commits me to the pot and A♣K♣ doesn’t play well in a multi-way pot, it is generally better to play it heads up rather than against 4.
Villain 1 folded as I was hoping, but to my surprise, Villain 2 calls, Villain 3 goes all in for less ($55), and Villain 4 also calls!  The flop is [2♦, 9♦, 4♥].  The pot is now sitting at $255 and I have $157 behind. How Would You Play the Hand here?
A. Check     B. Bet $50     C. Bet $100      D. Go All In
I decided to go all in for $157.  Although I missed completely, Shoving gives me a bit of fold equity, and even if I get called by the larger stack, who likely has a middle pair, I would be getting better than 2:1 on my money with approximately 30% odds to win with my two over cards versus a made pair.  Additionally, if my shove gets a fold from Villains 2 and 4, I would be heads up for the pot versus Villain 3 who has already gone all in, and I would only be $63 invested for a $255 pot!  If the effective stacks were deeper, a check/fold would likely be the best play.  Given the circumstances, checking here seems weak and so does betting anything less than all-in.
Villain 2 calls my all in for less ($107) and Villain 4 folds.  The board finishes [2♦, 9♦, 4♥, 6♦, A♠].  Villain 2 shows Q♠Qand Villain 3 shows J♠8♠.  I won the $463 pot with top pair, top kicker.
After the hand is over, Villain 2 continues to whine about my lucky river card and dumps another $300 to me!  (Typical action on a Thursday, Friday, and Saturday Fight Night at The Limelight!)
Comments on how you would have played the hand are welcome 🙂
Don’t forget to follow me on Instagram (@Cali_Kidddd) and Twitter (@Kylek_poker) for live cash game pictures and tournament updates!  And, if you like any of the poker apparel you see me wearing from DEEG Poker, you can use “KYLE10” as a discount code at www.Deegpoker.com!

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