# How to play the flop when two aces appear?

The game was Texas Holdem NLHE 1\$/2\$ 6 player game. I was in the big blind. Two players limped in, one of them was a new player.. I got Q♠Q♥ and made a standard `3BB` raise. both players called.

The flop came with A♥A⋄7♠. I made `50%` pot bet and was called by the new player, the other player folded.

The turn came with A♠ so we had 3 aces on the table. I decided to bet the pot and I was re-raised all-in. I called and the player shows down A♣Q⋄ I lost the pot.

I am wondering whether I played this hand correctly?

• Pls, the downvoter who downvoted both answers, share your wisdom ;)
– user1165
Jan 21, 2015 at 6:14
• When 2 aces appear, you best use your ejection seat and hope your parachute works. Jun 13, 2015 at 15:27

You did not play the pot correctly, you managed to lose the maximum amount possible.

With queens I would much rather have two aces hit the board then one, but that only means my hand is a little less likely to be beat at this point because there is one less ace in someone's hand. It does not mean anything other then that, you still do not know in the early position that you were in, if someone has a hand.

Which brings us to the follow up bet you made. The best way to figure out if the player has the ace, is if he calls a big follow up bet or not. You already know that since he is in the hand and has called a pre flop raise, that in his range of hands a ace is somewhat likely. The only hands that this player is not going to fold here are pocket pairs and hands that contain an ace. The player may fold some pocket pairs here. The flop is very dry, so there are no draws out there, the only sure thing you know before you make the follow up bet is that any of your opponents with an ace are going to make a call.

Your follow up bet is usually a bad bet, and the times it is not are because nobody has flopped anything. Even if your hand was a winner on the flop, you would never loose as much checking this hand down on this very dry board as you did on this very dry board by betting half the pot. I would have checked this flop. I would have tended to fold if the player bet. The only time I would have called this players bet is when I had a good read on the player, especially against an unknown player.

What were you thinking when the third ace hit the board? I suspect you though he could not possibly have the last ace in the deck and you put him on a pocket pair. Bad thinking because all the signs are that he had an ace, and just because the odds of him having an ace are way down, that has nothing to do with the fact that he has an ace. When your bet got called on the turn, you should have been finished with the hand. Your bet was horrible. Your call was even worse. You married your hand and ignored all the signs that you were in a terrible marriage.

The way to play pocket queens when an ace hits the board, is to slow way down. There is very little upside to betting, you can only get called most of the time by a better hand. By checking if the opponent decides to be sneaky you may get free cards that win you the pot. (In this case you would not have unless you back door a straight.) With the exception of a pre flop raise, there is nothing you did right in this hand. Your Grade is D-.

• Great answer Jon and I'm inclined to agree - after the standard 3BB pre-flop raise, it was a car crash from thereon in. Jan 21, 2015 at 12:54

This is one of the cases where you need to raise strongly the limpers before you. The error on your side was that you raised the typical amount of only `3BBs`. In your situation you have to raise much more. How more? Take a look:

• You have `QQ`, a very strong hand, yet a vulnerable holding if `A` or `K` flops. Your first thought is to open raise typically at `3BBs`.

• ..although 2 limpers came before you. Most of the time you should put them to some `Ax` so you don't want them come cheaply. Do a tax control and `add +1 BB for every limper` that come along. With this in mind, your open raise should be about `5BBs`.

• We're done? no! See, you're in the blinds, a bad position to be at! In fact you're forced to play `QQ` always first, missing any information from your opponents. This modifies your open-raise. I like to add `+1BB` when i'm in the blinds to `balance my position disadvantage`.

Conclusion: I would open-raised at about `6BBs`. This raise would certainly throw at least 1 limper out of the hand.

Although the `AQ` guy would probably called but that's OK since the `AQ` is a raising hand anyway; your opponent seems weak for not raising that hand.

Flop: Whoa, an `A-A-x` rainbow flop comes. You may heard that paired boards are good for Cbet and they certainly are! Although this specific flavor (2 aces) are the `worst` of them if your opponents are loose/weak and need to proceed with caution.

Your CBet of `1/2 pot` was not optimal. The `1/2` amount is a typical Cbet amount when we still have air. You should make a value bet in this pot at about `3/4` (even a pot sized bet due to 2 opponents) extracting value from hands like `22,33,44,55,66,88,99 or KJ,KT`. You have to bet larger here to:

• extract value from a good, made hand
• you have 2 opponents rather 1

My first thought after my value bet is something like this:

• if i get re-raised i'm going to call if the raise is reasonable and re-evaluate on Turn.
• if i get unexpected aggression on Turn, then i probably am beaten. People that slow-play are more eager to show up on Turn. Believe the turn aggression more often than not.

Notice that you were destined to lose in that hand anyway. Be very alerted on sudden aggression by people playing passively up to that point. Personally, i would lay the hand down after his all-in. Situation is marginal, you hold just a high pair (and not even the highest one) and the pot is bloating suddenly. Bloated shoved pots and pairs are not a good combination/indicator. Yes, you make a full house but the danger to be against `quads` is big. Although very difficult situation. Time to get out.

• I think the only hands you are going to raise out of this hands are the hands you would rather not raise out. QQ is favored over all but The other two over pairs and is essentially tied with AK. Any reasonable raise is going to fail to drive these hands out and just drive hands out that QQ has a big edge over. Players with AA,KK,Ak are likely to have raised already so it was a good chance that he was in the lead pre-flop, the only reason for a bigger raise was if they called, a value raise not a raise to run people out.
– Jon
Jan 21, 2015 at 0:58
• @Jon, my main thought of raising preflop is to throw away the `Axs, Kxs` types. I have the impression they'll fold, unless they're complete stations. Only hands like `AA,KK,AK,AQ` would dare to call/raise my `6BB` or raised preflop; the `A-rag` types would efficiently be folding normally and that was my plan. I certainly welcome small pairs. `6BB` is about borderline for anyone with a pair to call me with for set mining or some suited connector. Although, when playing a guy that limps `AQ` 2 times your analysis gets astray.
– user1165
Jan 21, 2015 at 1:25

This second answer is about raising, or not: QQ from the big blind.

If you have QQ in the big blind and that action comes back around to you with an option, you simply can assume you have the best hand at this time. The raise you make, if you decide to raise should ideally be the largest amount you can make it that the players will call. You do not want to run anyone out at this point, any body calling this raise is making a bad call, and the object of your raise is to have them pay as much as possible. Their are rare exceptions like when someone is slow playing AA or KK, but whatever you can get them to pay is a win for you in the long run. A raise so large that runs players out, is a mistake at this point.

(If this was a tournament I would agree that you want to run players out. In Tournament play not getting into trouble is as important as optimizing the return on any particular hand. I would tend to over raise the hand to make them pay or go away.)

Another choice is to simply check pre-flop. This has advantages. You should change up your game and with QQ in the big blind you are presented with the perfect chance to do so. Your out of position with the hand which brings down the EV of the hand. The hand itself is strong enough to trap a player for a lot of chips when they flop top pair and draws, which gives you an upside large enough to make this hand play well with a stealth check from the BB. With no investment in the hand the hand becomes very easy to get away from when the flop is wet with an ace or a king.

My thinking with QQ in the big blind is that all options are open to you and rather or not you raise big, standard or not at all does not particularly change the EV for a seasoned expert player. Checking just might of been the best option for the OP. In this case he committed himself to the hand. If he is the type of player whom cannot lay down a large pocket pair slow playing will likely yield him better results in the long run. He will induce a lot more bluffs and bad bets from players with pocket pairs that will give him a better yield than playing QQ aggressively on hope.

Since nobody else did I wanted to present a check as a viable alternative to playing this hand. In my first answer I said that his raise of 3 x BB was OK, and it might of been the best raise he could of made, but a bit larger raise might of been better if it was a raise that players would tend to call. I do not particularly want to run out the A-y hands, or even AK. No hand is likely to have an advantage over QQ pre-flop when your in the Big Blind with an option. The hand plays great for most flops, and like Doyle says in NL it all happens on the flop. So raising presents the risk of not seeing a flop where you will dominate most of the time. Anything you do with QQ is essentially correct play in the BB if one has a little finesse with thier game.

• i don't know. Raising just x3 BB will give enough odds for about everyone to call me and outdraw me cheaply on the flop (i give them about `20%` pot odds with x3). QQ is vulnerable on the flop, in my book one single opponent is best on an `AKx` flop, 2 are too many on a `AKx` or `Axx` flop.
– user1165
Jan 27, 2015 at 2:58
• I think being to nervous about being out drawn is maybe effecting EV in this particular hand. Everyone before the flop is drawing but the guy with QQ. I I am just saying the is particular hand in this position has a lot of alternatives ways to play it, any of which can be right.
– Jon
Jan 27, 2015 at 8:21
• of course. In fact there's a school that advises calling/checking `QQ` against 1,2 limpers, then play aggressively if the flop doesn't contain `A` or `K`. Harrington is referring to this on his Harrington on Holdem Vol.1 as an alternative play.
– user1165
Jan 27, 2015 at 9:13

I hit a wall in my cash games and there was a book recommended to me that pretty much turned around my game. I'll post the title later I can find it, but contained therein are two costly flaws you absolutely must eliminate from your game to be successful. From memory, these are:

• Passively playing hands in which you are potentially dominated
• Playing dominated hands out of position

To my mind you've done a little of both here.

• See here for the name of that book. I believe there are e-versions kicking around if your Google-Fu is up to it. Jan 21, 2015 at 13:07

I agree with the other answers here that your post-flop choices were poor. Your pre-flop raise wasn't enough to get AX to fold, and when your flop continuation bet was called on this board even though you'd shown pre-flop aggression and are effectively representing an ace, you know you're in bad shape. The only hands that would call you here are AX and 77. Other pocket pairs better than 7 might float here, but because there were no pre-flop raises by your opponents, this seems less likely. You now are out of position against a guy who flat called your two attempts at aggression and you are beat by all but the very worst hands he could have in his calling range. Check-folding seems the best choice on the turn.

In summary why in the world you you call that all in bet?

Opponent has called three strong bets and then raised all in on an AAA7 board.

At this point what could your opponent have other than A or 7?

An Ace to me should have checked to stack you on the river
I guess they did it before you had a chance to think about it

A 7 might have been afraid of a higher pocket pair still should have called

All you have beat is stone cold bluff or like an 87 suited
Neither of those are likely
They would (should) not risk their stack on you have the Ace
At this point it just looks like you have played an Ace for max value

PREFLOP: Raise to 5BB.

In fact the pot is 2+2+1+2= 7, you should put in at least 7 more to steal it, expecially when you are bluffing (for example with A5s or KTs) so up to 2+7= 9. I prefer 10.

FLOP: Check.

In fact, as played, you should check your whole range in a 3 way. This hand is particularly good to do that since you really want to just check/call on the flop and check/fold the turn. You should do the same with an A of course, check/calling again on the turn. You can (or not) lead out on turn if everyone check.

TURN: Bet.

In fact this is a standard CHECK with the whole range as played vs reg. Btw he is a fish thus you can bet/fold turn to get payed by some smaller pairs or 7, and check/fold river then. (NOTICE THAT now we are taking the worst option since we know he is a fish and we are HU and we stop balancing).