The Art Of Slowplaying Pocket Aces (AA)

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A bunch of people ask me hand history questions and this one came via Facebook. Shane prefaces the hand by saying:

“Hey SplitSuit, I am absolutely loving the YouTube videos. In the past few months, they’ve helped me transition from a break even/slightly losing player to a decent winning player and I’m improving every day. A few days ago at my local casino, I was playing 1/2 No Limit and was in an interesting spot with aces. Here it is.”

Shane, I just want to say congratulations on the recent results. Great job implementing the stuff we’ve been talking about and keep up the good work. I’m really, really happy I’ve been able to help you at all, hopefully this helps you as well.

In this hand, you decide to open with aces under the gun, totally standard, get called by somebody you describe as an aggro-fish, totally standard, end up facing a squeeze from someone you describe as a tag regular, decent person, okay, not as standard, and here we are.

In this situation we essentially have two different options. We’re obviously never going to fold, so we can either four bet it, or we can just call.

First and foremost, I would always start by asking myself, “Could I four bet here?” One of the other follow-up questions I have to ask myself there is, “Do I ever four bet anything that isn’t just like kings plus or maybe just aces?” Why would I want to take the action that tips off my exact hand? Typically not something that I want to be doing.

For more about this check out this detailed article on Value Betting vs Bluffing.

If we do decide to four bet in this situation, I think the aggro-fish is going to go away, unless he’s just like super, super whaley and just does not ever want to find the fold button, and I’m not quite getting that from the description that you gave me. If we do decide to four bet, I think the decent reg goes away, unless he has exactly kings or exactly the other aces. I think is just the kind of situation where if he has something like queens, jacks, ace/king, I think he goes away when you come over the top, because he probably views your four bet range as quite, quite narrow, which gives you a great bluffing opportunity, but not a great opportunity to go for a four bet with aces exactly, unless you’re trying to balance. I’m not really, again, getting that from the dynamic that’s being described.

In this situation I would say, “Okay, if I flat, what happens?” Well, if I flat call here, I assume that the aggro-fish is most likely going to call as well, because it’s only $25 more for him. Then also we’re in a situation where it’s roughly what, about 2 SPR and it’s totally automatic. There’s like no questions going post-flop, everything is going to be really, really face up and easy.

Given that, I think a lot more mistakes happen if we just decide to call here than if we decide to four bet. I just think that the decent reg is going to play a little too optimally in that situation against us and I don’t really want to do that in this spot. Because of that, I would just call, just like Hero did, and unfortunately the a-fish folds, that’s okay, we’ll go heads up to it. He decides to c-bet for 60, and Hero decides to call.

There are two major cruxes to this hand, pre-flop, how to react against a three bet, do we want to four bet it or do we just want to flat it? The other crux is how do we react against a $60 continuation bet? In this situation, I would just jam it here instead of calling.

            To learn more about weighting decisions click below

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Poker Stat Disparity: Theory vs Application

The reason why I want to jam is this: If he has something like jacks, queens, kings, I want to jam it now before, God forbid, like a six, a nine, or a jack rolls off and all of a sudden he slows down. I don’t want that to happen, I don’t want him to even consider folding an over pair at any point in this hand. That’s a major, major motivator for me jamming it right here.

The other thing that I want to consider is if the decent reg does have ace/king, mind you, we block out a decent chunk of those combos with two aces in our hand, but let’s just say the tag has ace/king. If we call here, I don’t think he ever double barrels. Unless the turn is very squarely an ace or a king, I just don’t see him firing a second shell. I see him playing very, very perfectly with ace/king or close-ish to perfectly, and then I see him possibly being able to get away from over pairs later on in the hand, if God forbid, a bad turn card comes off.

So because of that, I just want to jam it now. If he has an over pair, let’s stuck it in and do it rather than do this fancy thing, God forbid let a bad roll off and God forbid lose any extra action. Again, I think this is the most amount of action we’re going to get from ace/king, most all of the time.

Again, I would just drill here, as played, Hero calls, five of diamonds on the turn, faces this incredibly silly $50 bet, Hero does decide to jam it here, which is great. Again, it’s kind of a little too little/too late in my opinion, again, I think this should’ve been drilled on the flop, but here we are, and the tag reg decides to fold and Shane left an extra note saying that the tag tanked, and then showed jacks with no diamond and then folded. Hopefully, Shane, you did not show your hand, because you definitely don’t want to show your hand in this situation.

Again, the major inflection points, pre-flop, do we call or do we four bet? Then on the flop, do we jam it or do we just call the $60 continuation bet? Obviously there was really no consideration of folding at any point at any time of this hand, it’s just when do we want to get it in.  For A Quick Video On 4Betting Click Here.

value-4betsShane, from your question, it seemed like you were a little bit frustrated that you weren’t able to get the rest of his money. Honestly, there are going to be plenty of times where you just simply can’t or they just simply won’t give it to for whatever reason. Either a bad board run off or maybe they just don’t feel comfortable enough, or maybe they just really don’t stack anything but the nuts and you try and it’s just going to be all but futile, so don’t beat yourself up over that.

What I would really highly look at though, again, is that flop decision. I really do think that if you drill on the flop that you get jacks to stack off way more often than by letting cards roll off.

In this situation, again, flop and pre-flop are the major cruxes and again, major emphasis on the flop play, not just calling, instead going for the drill.

SplitSuit

My name is James "SplitSuit" Sweeney and I'm a poker player, coach, and author. I've released 300+ videos, coached 500+ players, and co-founded the training site Red Chip Poker. Contact me if you need any help improving your poker game!

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