Jonathan Little Hand of the Week: Getting Value With Pocket Aces?
Last Updated: November 5, 2023
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For this edition of the hand of the week, I want to break down one of my own hands that I’ve played on a Poker After Dark cash game.
Stakes are $50/$100, with a $200 straddle, and the effective stacks are just around $21,000, so just around the 100 big blinds mark.
The hand in question starts with Jake Daniels, a solid player, opening action to $450 from the early position with J♦10♠. It folds around to me in the small blind, and I look down at the best starting hand in poker, pocket aces, i.e. A♦A♣.
Naturally, I go for a 3-bet but decide to go for a smaller sizing of $1,550. My reasoning is that I want to keep some of his weaker hands in, and this is perfectly fine as long as your opponent doesn’t know for a fact that this is the kind of adjustment you’ll make with a hand like pocket aces.
The action gets back to Daniels, and he makes the call. It’s a bit on the splashy side, but probably okay, considering the sizing and the fact he has position on me.
The first three cards off the deck are 10♥4♥3♠, and I fire out a continuation bet of $1,500 into the pot of $3,500.
Generally speaking, this is a board that’s likely to change on the turn, which should incentivize us to use bigger sizing. However, given this specific flop texture, Jake won’t have too many hands in his range that coordinate that well with it.
If Jake has anything on this board, he won’t fold for $1,500. Of course, with a top pair, he makes a standard call, which is by far the best of the three options.
The turn brings the 5♣, and after giving it some thought, I bet again and size it up a bit this time, making it $3,200.
The 5♣ is an interesting card as it will sometimes interact with your opponent’s range. However, given that this is a 3-bet pot, they won’t have nearly as many combinations of hands that would fall into that category.
The most likely hands Jake has here are flush draws, a top pair, or an under-pair like pocket eights. I want to keep betting against all those hands to get the most value, as he’s not likely to bet himself if I check and give him the option to see the free river.
Looking back at the hand, I should have perhaps bet bigger on the turn to build the pot and make it easier to move all in on the river. With this sizing, I’ll have $15,000 behind, and the pot will be $13,000 if Jake calls.
Of course, Jake does call holding a top pair. This is a bit of an annoying spot as many of my bluffs have now picked up additional equity, but getting good odds and playing in position, there is simply no way to fold at this stage.
The final card is 4♣, pairing the board. What do you think is the best course of action in this spot to get the most value? We have a few different options, such as:
- Checking to induce a bluff
- Betting small (like $2,200)
- Betting around $6,000
- Bet big ($10,000)
- Move all-in
All of these options have some merits, which I discuss in more detail in the video below. As a default in these spots, though, you’ll want to bet on the bigger side.
I ended up betting $10,000 and putting Jake to the test. I only have $5,000 behind, so I’m clearly pot-committed. Do you think I end up getting paid, or does he figure something is not right and get away from his hand? Check out the video above to find out!