Friday, April 17, 2009

Answer to Play Pocket Aces Against Me On This One Hand

Here is an actual hand of online poker that puts you to the test with pocket Aces.

Thanks to everyone for all the great answers I received on my blog and on Twitter.

Let's get back to your hand with pocket Aces. While this hand is from Cardplayer's March 2009 issue, I changed it just a little so you could learn more about how you play and how a Pro thinks about the game.

Let's set the stage again:

You are dealt pocket Aces. Your opponent is me. You have never played poker against me, so you don't have any clue about how I play the game.

Full Tilt Poker
$150 Buy-in no limit tournament
400 players

It is the second level. The blinds are $20-$40. You have $5,000. You are in the small blind. (In this hand, you are the poker player Bryan Devonshire.)

I am under the gun with $3,500. The cards are dealt and I limp. A player in the middle position limps. It is folded to you in the small blind. You find Ad-Ah.

You raise to $210. I call and the other player folds. It is heads-up. The pot is $500.

Bryan: When a player limps and calls a raise, it often means a small pair. But, when the raise is from the blinds and the early limper has position post-flop, the range widens considerably.

My takeaway: I think the pre-flop raise should have been greater. There is $140 in the pot, and the raise builds it to $350. The limper is getting a little more than 2-1 on the call. Online players make loose calls, especially when in position.

The flop is Qc-10d-10s. You bet $223, and I call. The pot is $946.

Bryan: The flop is favorable. The range of hands is: 2's to J's, and suited connectors like J-10 to A-10, K-J, Q-J, and K-Q.

My takeaway: This is either a very good flop or a very bad flop. Most likely, it is a very good flop. I think the bet size is good to keep the pot small.

The turn is 8c. You bet $500.

I raise to $1,200.

This is where I changed the situation. In the actual hand his opponent called the bet. I thought it would be more instructive to put in this raise.

What should you do with your pocket Aces?

Bryan: We'll be raised by any hand that beats us on the turn, and we can safely fold.

With my raise, I got some of you to fold and others put me on a bluff. Brian's stack would have gone from $5000 to about $4,100. If he moved all-in, and was wrong he would have been down to $1,500.

In actuality, I have Kd-Qh.

What did we learn from this hand?

1. A Pro is looking to manage pot size since he believe he can outplay his opponents in a tournament. Since he had no read on his opponent, he decided to fold a winning hand. The expression is "a good fold is a good thing."

2. This hand may reveal your style of play more than anything else. Your decision to fold, call or re-raise reflects the kind of player you are in a no limit event.

Did you fold because you tend to believe a raise on the turn or were you thinking you would have a better opportunity to accumulate chips? Did you re-raise because you knew it was me you were playing against, or is your style to embrace more risk. If you decided to call, what were you hoping to accomplish since your opponent will fire again on the river.

3. I was playing the player by raising on the turn.

First, I would never call a raise pre-flop with K-Q offsuit in this situation. I would only call that small a pre-flop raise with all pairs, and a range of no-gap suited connectors.

Second, that flop with K-Q offsuit is trouble since I could be up against A's, K's or A-K. But, with such a small bet on the flop, I would have called.

Finally, on the turn when my opponent bets half the pot it either means a monster or fear. I would raise since it is not likely to be a monster and I want to put my opponent to the test if I sense fear or weakness.

I hope you enjoyed this quiz. Hey, I did you give pocket Aces! Let me know if you found this exercise useful. If it is I well do it again. Thanks!

If you want to read the actual hand from Cardplayer go to:

1 comment:

Gaurav said...

Hey I liked this quiz. So, I ended up folding my rockets (very hard thing to do). What would you say about that fold and my play? Since I don't know how you play, I would put you on either K-10, J-10(suited), J-9 suited (Reason: I've experienced a lot of players calling a raise with this hand pre-flop and an inside straight draw like this), Pocket 8's, even pocket Q's (Although highly unlikely).


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