Playing against Quad Aces

by PokerAnon ~ March 22nd, 2014. Filed under: poker, Poker theory.

I’m still thinking about the hand that I posted in the last entry, and I don’t know why, so I’ll write about it, see if that works it out of me.

From my opponent’s perspective, the 3 bet from the blind at 6max doesn’t necessarily mean a lot. Even tight players know that aggression is important so his (my) 3 bet range could be wide. KQ is a decent hand, so calling when you will have position is not the worst thing in the world to do.

But KQ can be a trouble hand. Doyle Brunson had  list of trouble hands, and KQ can get you into trouble when you flop a K high or Q high board and your opponent has AK or AQ. Worse yet if he happens to have AA/KK. That’s the first thing I’d be thinking.

When the flop comes AAK, if the blind has any kind of Ace, which is a common card for 3 betting from the blinds, I’m dead with KQ. When he (actually me) checks the flop, we’re losing to any Ace hand, ahead of QQ/JJ or any other kind of hand that might be 3 bet.

If the blind doesn’t have an Ace, what risks do we face? QQ/JJ or any pocket pair could possibly draw to the underboat. Any other unpaired hole cards can’t out draw us, because there’s already a pair of Aces on the board and we paired the king, unless he has QJ/QT/JT and fills the straight, but these are all pretty thin hands to 3bet from the blinds. All in all, there’s not much that we’re protecting our pair King against, other than QQ/JJ or some other pair that we can’t guess. This is almost classic Way Ahead/Way Behind theory. We’re dead to any Ace, but only afraid of a Q or a J and only if the blind holds QQ or JJ. Classic WA/WB theory says keep the pot sized managed, bet later in the hand if he doesn’t bet, call if he does bluff.

And if the blind check-raises our flop bet, don’t we have to fold? Is it possible that he’ll check-raise with QQ/JJ? With 66 hands of history (actually less; maybe 50 at the time of this hand) how would we determine this? This could be the “bet for information” theory, but we could get blown off and still have been winning. We could avoid this problem, by not betting the flop at all.

The blind calls our flop bet, then bets out just over half pot on a blank card. Now what? QQ/JJ, trying to blow us off? 66 that now made the underboat? KQ/KJ trying to scare us off?

But wait, what about AK? The fact that the board has two Aces makes it less likely that the blind has one and the fact that one K is on the board and we have one makes a K less likely, but AK is a very likely hand to be 3 bet from the blinds. It also fits a check/call on the flop, because they have the board killed. And now, because he’s bet out on the turn, it fits perfectly.

There’s no need for the blind to check-raise the flop, or to want to check-raise the turn because the pot was 3 bet originally and we’re only 100bbs deep. Getting stack committed won’t be too difficult.

So what happened? The 3 bet pot made it easy to get committed. The two Aces on the board made it less likely that the blind has one, but the fact he 3 bet makes it more likely.

But the blind doesn’t bet out on the flop. Doesn’t every Ace bet out on the flop, hoping that I (the original raiser, and caller preflop) have one? AQ? AJ? Or are they afraid that I have AK/KK and are trying to keep the pot small themselves? Can I represent KK by betting the flop to scare AQ/AJ?

Maybe the thinking is simply; he didn’t bet the flop, I have a pair, I’d better bet to protect my pair of Kings and prove that he was bluffing with his 3bet from the blinds, and get value from QQ/JJ if they want to call.

Or maybe, with the call of the 3bet with KQ, then the flop bet, then the call of the 1/2 pot turn bet, it was just a series of mistakes that led to a big pot lost with a crushed hand.

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