Thursday, April 20, 2017

I Didn't Raise With the Nuts

This was one of my last sessions in Vegas.  In fact, it was so late in my December trip it actually took place in January.

I was off to a rough start, and was already down about $75 when I got Ace-King of hearts in the big blind.  I called a raise to $10 and it was 4-ways.  As I’ve pointed out before, I rarely three-bet Ace-King in cash games and am very unlikely to do it out of position.  I’m not saying that’s the right thing to do, it probably isn’t, but just pointing that out.  The flop was nice: Ace-King-6, two diamonds.  I checked, expecting the preflop raiser to bet, but he checked also.  However the next guy bet $25 and the last guy folded.  I decided to just call, thinking that a check-raise there might scare him off and perhaps just letting him bet would be the best way to get all the money in.

The preflop raiser folded and the turn was a blank.  It appeared the guy was ready to bet again, so I checked. He did indeed bet—$60.  I shoved for $88, he of course called.  We didn’t show.  The river was another 6, which I didn’t like.  However, when I showed my top two, he just mucked.

I limped in with Ace-4 of spades.  Four of us saw a flop that had a 4 on it (low card) and one spade. There was no betting.  The turn was a second spade and I called $8.  There were three of us left.  I caught the flush on the river.  The same guy led out $13.  Next guy folded.  I made it $30.  The guy who bet the $13 said, “Well, it’s my last hand….”  To me, that’s what someone who is about to raise would say.  I was kind of hoping for a crazy shove there, seeing as how I had the stone cold nuts.  But all he did was call.  And he mucked when saw my hand.  Good to his word, he left the game.

I limped in with Ace-2 of spades and it was three to see the flop which had two spades.  Someone bet $10, there was a call and I called.  The turn was a blank and same guy bet $10 again, and again we both called.  The river was a spade, again giving me the nuts.  The same guy bet $10.  This time the next guy made it $65.  It was a weird bet because the guy had only a few chips left behind.  It looked like it was only some blue chips ($1 chips) and less than ten of them.  Why wouldn’t he have shoved instead?  Strange.  The guy who kept betting $10 had plenty of chips.  I decided not to re-raise, even though I had the nuts.  Of course the guy would have called with his last few chips (unless he was making a crazy bluff), but I didn’t want his last ten bucks, I was $55 from the first guy.  Or perhaps more if he would re-raise.

So I made the tactical decision to just call and see if the first guy would cooperate.  Unfortunately, he folded.  Oh well, it was worth taking a shot, risking $10 (really less) for a chance at $55 more.  The guy who bet the $65 showed something like 6-5 for a pair of 5’s with no kicker.  Really?  Why aren’t there more players like these in my games?

Those were the three most interesting hands in a plus $100 session.


  1. If the other player had a good hand like the second or third nuts, a raise puts him in a really difficult position.

    1. Yeah, but obviously he wasn't that strong, as it turns out.

  2. Rob

    I think the only situation you are getting here is if it's a cooler and he has a king or queen high flush. In that instance, he is calling regardless, so you may as well shove every time for the rare times he has these hands.

    Just my 2 cents.


    1. Thanks Paul. Valid point, if I could have gotten more from the guy who bet I would have raised, but I thought it was worth risking the ten bucks to get a bigger pay out from the other guy.

  3. I do think you're playing A/K too passively. What is your 3-betting range pre-flop? I assume you're (typically) re-raising with AA/KK/QQ? JJ? AK suited is a top 4 pre-flop hand. Not raising there means you're running it 4 ways to the flop, when you would much prefer to be head's up when AK is typically going to be TPTK, when it hits - and not necessarily a hand you want to play multi-ways.

    I've read your blog for years and I'm not sure what your 3-bet range is, Rob. I know it's AA/KK. Is QQ a 3 bet for you? Tight isn't always bad, and 1/2 or 1/3 NL doesn't always require a balanced range or a LAG style - but it does seem like you could open up that 3 bet range. You've played enough low limit NL to know how strong one looks 3-betting at that level. It will fold out almost all other starting hands at that level, in my experience. You could work in some suited connector type bluffs, high-middle pairs, or some other bluffs into that range and increase your profit.


    1. Thanks very much, s.i., I always appreciate your feedback.

      I know I don't three-bet enough. I am trying to work that more into my game but so far have not been able to pull the trigger more.

      I three-bet AA, KK (dreaded!). QQ & JJ is table/player dependent. AK only rarely.

      Hard to get the nit out of me. Sigh.