I am in big blind and get dealt AA. 8 players remain at my table in a MTT. Blinds are at 400, 800, with a 75 ante. Average chip stacks are ~20k.

Aggressive player (villain) in mid position calls the blind, 3 others limp in. I raise to 2,400. Villain calls, all others fold. Flop comes KK9 rainbow. I bet (a value bet, and to check where I am) 3,000. Villain declares that he has a king and shoves all in for more than my remaining stack. I would not have put it past this guy's range to be playing a K9 even.

After lengthy contemplation I fold and he shows a bluff with a Q8.


  1. Should I have shoved on the flop (risking villain has a king) before he declares that he has a K and becomes the aggressor? In hindsight, with knowledge of what was to come, then yes of course.
  2. Should I have shoved pre-flop? Not much of a pot to pick up at that point
  3. Should I have called villain's all-in?
  4. I appreciate the cards ultimately do the talking, but should there not be a rule against false hand declaration to influence others to fold?

4 Answers 4

  1. Shoving on the flop achieves nothing you want - all Kings/99 will call, all other hands will fold.
  2. I'd have perhaps raised bigger (3xBB isn't very much when you're in the BB and you have 4 limpers). Shoving is very much dependent on your stack size - with the average of 20k (25BB) here, I'd probably just raise to ~4000.
  3. Almost certainly. Unless you're being levelled, him saying he has a King and shoving on you makes no sense. This is one of those "had to be there to read his tone/body language/etc" deals though
  4. Rules regarding disclosing cards in your hand depend on the casino. The most common ruleset (TDA) outlaws it, but in practice this rule is rarely enforced. Another common rule is that you can declare your hand to be anything other than what it actually is.
  • You are not supposed to disclose any cards during play
    – paparazzo
    Sep 19, 2016 at 15:26
  • 1
    It depends on the rules in force - the most common ruleset (TDA) outlaws it but in practice it is rarely enforced. I'll edit to clarify :)
    – mfcrocker
    Sep 19, 2016 at 15:35

If your head up you can talk at most casino's.

I am just going to address your 4th question"

4> I appreciate the cards ultimately do the talking, but should there not be a rule against false hand declaration to influence others to fold?"

There are rules at some places, brick and mortar, and online, that ban table talk about a hand between players in the hand. (This is not the one player per hand rule). I think such rules are wimpy. They seem to be suggested and implemented by low skill players that think at least some of the rules should protect a player from their own lack of skill in the game.

Let me try to illustrate this with your hand, I do not know what kind of player you are, however do you think one can gain more information about a hand from a player expressionless at the table or from a player running their mouth about what they have? From my experience it is the player talking that is giving me the most information. The only player that would want to make a rule banning this sort of behavior is a player that has trouble reading BS as BS. I just think rules that protect players from their own weaknesses in the game of poker, are silly and innately unfair.


Pre flop he limped then called a relative small raise

You had $4850 in the pot pre flop and had to play out of position
It may have been worth pushing rather than play out of position

$2,400 is 1/2 the pot and he called that small raise

On the flop you have to put K in his range AK, KQ, KJ
KK would have raised preflop
99 might limp call

On the flop you bet $3000 into $9650

Here is the problem with that play. A king would have checked hoping to get money in the pot. You basically told the villain you don't have a king.

So then villain pushes. Problem with that play is if villain really had a king he should have called hoping to get more money in the pot. I think you were getting about 3:1 on your money. You still had 2 outs to improve. Got to think about calling here. If there is even a 25% chance of a bluff then you should call.

  1. Raise more preflop. You are facing 4 limpers and there are antes in play. Nobody is going to fold to that raise size, and you do not want to see a flop with lots of other players in the hand. I would bet 4000 here. 5000 would not be too big either.

  2. No. Your bet should be sized so that someone will call, but not everyone. That said, 4 limpers plus blinds plus antes = 5000 chips in the middle already. You will increase your stack size by 25% if you make everyone fold, so it's not a terrible play, just very suboptimal.

  3. Villian's play is laughably poor. You could not have predicted he was on a bluff here without some prior knowledge of villian's playstyle.

  4. No. Speech is part of the game.

Finally, do not be concerned about "weak play". There is no such thing as weak play. There is only good decisions and bad decisions. If the correct play is to fold, then there is nothing weak about it. Also, if other players percieve you as weak, they will be more likely to try to bluff you. This means you will get paid more often on your strong hands. Unless you are getting completely dominated in the game, it is not a bad thing.

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