I want to discuss a hand I've played recently. At the late stage of a single-table live tournament, I am middle-stacked relative to others (about 16k), but dangerously close to the "yellow zone", on position, opening 3BB (3 * 400 = 1200) with K⋄ J♠ off suit (there are no limpers). I get called by both blinds (I actually expected SB to fold her hand and go heads-up with BB).

Flop comes A⋄ A♥ A♣

SB checks, a very aggressive (also not particularly good though) loose player on BB with 20k-stack bets 3k into the pot of 3600.

I take a minute to think. Because BB is very aggressive, I expect him to re-raise all pocket pairs preflop (including deuces), so there is very little chance he has a full house. He could easily have called my preflop raise with a weak ace. What troubles me is that I've been running pretty bad recently and already had a few bad beats against much worse hands / draws which miraculously turned into monsters on the river. So I am not in a very good position psychologically. With that in mind, I can't help to consider that I might be drawing dead against quad aces.

I decide that flat-calling is not an option here since I am 100% sure that my opponent would bet at least the pot on both turn and river. After thinking about folding for a minute, I elect to raise him in order to get some information.

The size of my raise has to be chosen carefully. I don't want to loose too much in case he re-raises me all-in. Also I want it to look like I am carefully setting a trap with four aces in case he doesn't have one.

My choice is to raise him to 6k chips (with 3600 in the pot and 3k of his initial bet). I kind of wonder if this is a correct amount or not (I was also considering a 9k raise).

SB folds her hand (it turns out she had K2 off, so a pretty good fold considering the situation; not a good call preflop though).

After thinking for 10-20 seconds BB tells me that he does not have an ace and re-raises me to 9k. Now this was a major mistake! Not only was I able to deduce from the intonation of his voice that he is telling the truth, but also his re-raise was so small, he almost screamed of his attempt to spend as little as possible on his bluff.

I elect to re-raise him all-in (hence risking my tournament life for about 4/5 of his stack), because I dominate most of the hands he would play this way (K - x with a smaller-than-jack x). He quickly calls and shows K 9 suited (whaaat?).

I end up flopping a full house (aces full of jacks) on the turn and win the hand.

Now I know that my opponent played this hand terribly (when I said that he was not particularly good, I meant that he is generally much better than this). But I am wondering if I played the hand well (despite the fact that I won a lot). Particularly, I want comments on the following decisions of mine:

  • Was it a good move to open against a loose-agressive BB cheapleader with a K J off suit holding? I have heard people dislike this hand (and call it a rookie hand). But it is still two face cards and thus worth a 3BB raise, isn't it?

  • Should I have re-raised my opponent on the flop to 9k total (instead of 6k)? I could see him folding a wider variety of hands to a 9k raise, and at this time I was definitely not heading for value. On the other hand if I had the ace, I would have re-raised exactly to 6k since I expect an aggressive player to set a trap for himself by re-re-raising a small raise.

  • Was it correct to move all-in on the flop? Or maybe after a handful of information (he does not have an ace, it is highly unlikely that he has a pocket pair, it is very likely that he is dominated with a weaker king) my hand has become strong enough for flat-calling his 9k mini-re-raise? I could see myself crushing him with a made full house (which I flop on the turn, remember?) In theory this could protect me from a low pair or a made-on-the-turn full house of his, but I don't think I would be able to fold later.

  • From my opponent's perspective, I still don't understand why he called my all-in raise. Did he expect me to bluff him after he told me he doesn't have an ace? That would've been a good move, I guess, but for two very strong cards (like QQ), not for K9! How could he be sure that I wasn't opening preflop with a pocket pair?

P.S. I have tried to look how people put images of cards in the markup here, but I haven't found it sadly :(

  • 1
    I've edited your question to add some graphics for hands, you can edit and see their format, Welcome!
    – user1165
    Sep 1, 2015 at 23:55

2 Answers 2


There are a ton of questions here.

In order:

  • Was it a good move to open against a loose-agressive BB cheapleader with a K J off suit holding?

The problem with opening this weak against LAGs is precisely the problem you described. You simply have no idea where you are. There you were, in position, against the blinds, and you had no idea where you were in the hand, beyond a preliminary read against "any pocket pair."

  • But it is still two face cards and thus worth a 3BB raise, isn't it?

I don't see anything wrong with the raise, but it seems worth a note that your opponent wasn't going anywhere regardless of what you were holding.

  • Should I have re-raised my opponent on the flop to 9k total (instead of 6k)?

He bet $3K of his $20K stack into someone with a ~$15K stack. Your raise "for information" may have been more leading than you may realize. By raising to $6K, you're practically begging him to raise into you. He probably raised out of sheer gall more than anything. Since he's clearly so loose, and will call off his chips with most anything, the smaller raise seems correct.

If he folded, would you feel like a 9K raise was a "better one'?

  • Was it correct to move all-in on the flop?

Given the holdings you and your opp had absolutely. Clearly, your opp didn't respect your hand at all. I assume he read you for an absolute maniac, which is the only logical reason for the call in the first place.

  • Did he expect me to bluff him after he told me he doesn't have an ace?

He probably believed that he had the best hand, or at least a draw to it. He'd also be getting about 3-1 on the call. I dunno. If I read you to be a maniac, I'd call a 3-1 shot.

  • Thank you for your answer! Would you consider BB having K Q and dominating your K J in my place? I haven't got the time to think about this a lot, but now this holding seems reasonable.
    – user3612
    Sep 2, 2015 at 0:36
  • Also I have won a couple of big pots against him in the same game earlier, and it was clear to both of us that though I am aggressive, I am not a maniac.
    – user3612
    Sep 2, 2015 at 0:50
  • 1
    Would I consider KQ? In what sense? If I were him, and I read you as an aggressive player, I'd have reraised heavily with KQ preflop. Sep 2, 2015 at 2:34

I think pre was OK. Would be more comfortable with KJs. Raise to hopefully fold out weak aces.

I don't like the min raise on the flop. You gave 4.2 : 1 to call. When he calls what do you learn? Even at 6000 you are pot committed. That is a call or push. To me you are saying you don't have an ace or boat as they should have just smooth called. I think you should have just called. Yes you don't learn anything but you don't have enough chips behind to learn. If you hit K or J on the turn or river you can still probably get some more money in.

Villains min re-raise screamed of bluff but your min raise did not scream bluff? He also was pot committed and should have just called or shoved.

So you shove. At that point you should. But now he is getting 5:1 and you have no fold equity. He could have sucked out by hitting a 9 you might have folded out if you had jammed on the first raise. Villains call was logical. The king was likely good. You could be on QJs JTs. If you had an ace or boat you should not have raised the first time.

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