Jonathan Little Hand of the Week – Playing Pocket Aces 500 BBs Deep & Facing an Overbet
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Today we’re looking at a hand from one of my favorite poker vloggers, ‘Lex O Poker,’ who finds himself in a tough spot on the river on a double-paired board.
The hand begins with ‘Lex O Poker’ picking up two black aces, A♠A♣, playing 500 big blinds deep in a $5/10 game.
He starts the action by raising to $30 from an early position. There are two callers and then the small blind, an active player, goes for a 3-bet of $180.
When the action gets back to ‘Lex O Poker,’ he goes for a 4-bet of $510.
This is one of those spots where many people make the mistake of slow-playing their hand. If you’re up against an action player, you want to give them all the opportunity you can to make a mistake and put as much money into the pot as possible.
Thus, I really like the 4-bet here, and the sizing could have been even a bit bigger, given that both players are very deep. Of course, this depends on the type of game you’re in and just how loose you think your opponent is.
After some deliberation, the small blind makes the call, and they proceed to the flop heads up to see the board of Q♥Q♦9♣. The small blind player cheks to ‘Lex O Poker.’
Before proceeding, I’d like you to take a moment and think about what you would do in this spot with pocket aces and facing a check. Check back, bet small, bet big – what is your preference?
I think there are two viable options in this spot, i.e.:
- Check back, or
- Bet small
There are hands likely in your opponent’s range that will have open-ended or gutshot straight draws, and against these hands, you’ll want to start putting some money into the pot.
On the flip side, most players will have some queens in their range here, too, and when that’s the case, you’ll be in danger of losing a really big pot.
So, if you check back on this flop, you’re never getting check-raised, and if your opponent is loose-aggressive, by checking back, you give them the opportunity to start bluffing or overvalue their hand.
‘Lex O Poker’ does check back, not thinking he can get three streets of value from hands like pocket tens, and they proceed to the next street.
The 4♠ rolls off on the turn, and it’s a complete brick. The small blind bets $600, and ‘Lex O Poker’ makes the call.
Your opponent will certainly be bluffing some percentage of the time in this spot if they are aggressive. By checking on the flop, you give them a chance to bluff on the turn and the river and catch those bluffs.
The final card double-pairs the board as it comes the 9♦. Now, the villain does something unexpected as he leads out for $2,900 into the $2,300 pot.
Given how this hand has played out, I think this is a spot where calling is pretty standard. If we were against a tight-passive player, they’re going to show you a full house here a lot, but that’s not the read we have here.
This hand took place at the Wynn in Las Vegas, and if this is a Las Vegas local, they’re probably not making this play as a bluff, so a lot of it comes down to what you think your opponent is capable of.
On the other hand, good, tough opponents will certainly have some bluffs in this spot, like busted straight draws and some ace-high (although you block a lot of those).
With all that in mind, what does ‘Lex O Poker’ do here, and what was he up against here? Check out the video above to find out!
Jonathan Little is a two-time WPT champion with more than $7 million in live tournament winnings and best-selling author of multiple poker strategy books. If you want to learn from the best and increase your edge at the tables, make sure to get your FREE 3-day pass and check his training site at pokercoaching.com