Thursday, September 17, 2015

So I Had Pocket Aces.....

Well, I’m back home, Vegas is just a distant memory.  But I do have plenty left to blog about, once I return to my normal routine (if such a thing even exists).

Now, in a session about a week ago, there was one hand that has been running through my mind since. I don’t think I played it wrong, but since I can’t get it out of my mind, I figured I’d share it with my readers and get some feedback.

I think I was down to about $130-$140 or so (from a $200 buy-in in the normal 1/2 game).  I’d won a couple of hands early (once with Aces on a c-bet and once flopping a set of 4’s that turned into a boat) but had just been dripping down after that.

There was a really, really big stack at the table—over $1K easily.  He had that stack when I got there.  He hadn’t been particularly aggressive since I’d been there, not raising preflop more than average and not being especially aggressive post flop.  I would say that the only evidence that his play was affected was by his big stack was that when he did raise preflop, it was usually more than the average prelop raise ($12 or $15 rather than $7 to $10).

On the hand in question, he opened to $12.  I had two Aces.  I made it $35.  Before reacting, he asked to see my stack and took awhile to finally call.  The flop was Queen-Jack-rag, rainbow.  He checked.

What am I supposed to do there?

Well, I bet.  I put out $50.  I didn’t count for sure, but I think it was a pretty good estimate of half my stack.  He thought for a bit and then announced, “all-in.”


He might have called my three-bet with Ace-Queen, Ace-Jack, or King-Queen.  But would he check raise me with those hands?  Especially when I had already put more than half my stack in the middle and a bluff couldn’t possibly work?

Still, considering what I put in the pot already and what I had left, it didn’t make any sense to fold.  Obviously it would be pretty easy to believe he had flopped a set.  Perhaps he was being aggro with Ace-King and a gut-shot?

Well the board bricked out and he flipped over two Jacks.  Time to re-buy.

But I had to ask myself if I had played that badly, or if, I’m “supposed” to lose my stack there.

My gut tells me I’m supposed to lose my stack, because it just wasn’t very big.  Now, of course, if I have the same $1K stack as the villain, and I lose it all on the flop there like I did, that would be a really, really bad play

But could I have played it better? Preflop, I think is fine. But with two face cards on the flop, am I supposed to check behind him?  He’s going to bet the turn if I do, and I won’t know if he’s got Ace-Queen or the set.  But he probably won’t shove the turn if I check the flop.

But if he bets the turn, and I call, he’ll shove the river and why would I fold then?  He might have Ace-Queen and think I have Ace-King.

Perhaps I could bet smaller on the flop, so I wouldn’t be committed?  But is there a bet size I could make that doesn’t get me all in by the river anyway?

I think the stack-to-pot ratio dynamics indicate I should get my stack in there with an overpair.

Still, is there any way I could have played it better?

Or is it a case of “that’s poker”?


Anyway, after re-buying the session didn’t get any better.  I ended up breaking almost even on the second buy-in before calling it a night.

Was there a way to play those Aces better?


  1. You were short-stacked. Unless he rolls over his hand, you are supposed to call and go broke there. Deeper stacks, the play is different. FWIW, I like how you played it here.

    1. Thanks. Grange....appreciate it.

      Yeah,. that would be nice if he rolled over his hand. Any tips for how I can get him to do that?

  2. even if u had a lot more chips, u still are destined to lose a ton there or risk being bluffed.

    1. True....a bigger stack gives me a chance to make a bigger mistake.

  3. I agree, you had no choice at that point. Yes he might have QJ or a set but he might hold KK or even AQ (especially if he thinks you're pushing AK at him). Sucks but that is just a bad flop for AA.

    1. Thanks, Neo, great to hear from you again.

  4. Sometimes you are just dealt a "game over". Given stack sizes you are supposed to go broke there. He hit his two outer...and that's that....nothing you could do. Be happy he called the $35 drawing so thin.

    1. Thanks, bill. And you make a great point. The big stack did look at my stack before deciding what to do....and then called. Realistically, that was a -EV call by him. Unless he thinks I'm three-betting w/ A-K, A-Q type hands, where he might be ahead (or pocket 10's or less!), he was making a bad call. He just couldn't win enough money to make it worthwhile to set-mine. He just got lucky.

  5. You got 25% of your stack in preflop- seems good to me.

    Dan - (zourah)

  6. Like everyone else, I believe there was not much you could do here. Are we to now hear about the dreaded pocket Aces in your posts? Heck -- you might welcome Kings now!

    1. No, no no...the day I prefer the dreaded Kings to Aces is the day I give up poker.