. . . that is the question. And here is the full scenario:
Live tournament. 165 runners . . . 90 remain. Blinds are $400 / $800 and the chip average is $18,000. Hero's stack is just slightly above average, at $20,000. Several players have recently been moved to the table.
Hero is dealt AQ in middle position. After three early limpers, Hero calls $800. It folds around to the button. Button has just been relocated to the table. He is apparently a regular as several players at the table know him. He "looks" like he knows what his doing (demeanor, etc), and he has a well-above-average chip stack (probably $60,000 or so). Button pops it to $4,100. It folds around to Hero, who flats.
Flop comes down 773 rainbow. Pot is $11,800. Hero checks to the raiser, who fires $5,000.
This seems like a fairly easy C-Bet from a villain with position and a big stack. What is the move here? Does Hero:
(A) FOLD and kick himself for getting tricky preflop with AQ?
(B) CALL and put half his stack in the middle, out of position, with A-high; or
(C) SHOVE and put Villain to the test
Option B seems like a non-starter. The limp-call with AQ out of position pre-flop was bad enough. No reason to compound the poor play with a second bad decision on the flop.
Option A seems weak. It's quite likely Hero has the best hand at this point. Yet, Hero can certainly get away from the hand and still have plenty of chips left to put to use in a better spot.
Option C feels like a good move. Chances are near zero that Villain actually connected with this flop. It's certainly possible that Villain woke up with a premium hand on the button (QQ+ or AK); but it's also likely that Villain was using his big stack and position to make a move. A shove of $10,000 on top has some fold equity; and aside from a legitimate pocket pair, what else can Villain call with?
So . . . what's the right play in this spot?