BadDog's Poker Corner

BadDog's Poker Corner

WSOP Day by Day Analysis

Round 2 (to see round one click here)

BadDog's second installment looks at how to play Aces from various positions, a little side story from a Vegas trip long-past, and a quick intro to NL play. Enjoy!

You have the best hand pre-flop - 2 Aces. Let's look at various positions.

Small Blind

The first player to enter the action is about in the middle of the table and he raises. The button (dealer) calls. What do you do as the small blind with Aces? If you raise - that will not fold out the raiser. He only adds 1 bet to his 2 already in the pot. The button also is unlikely to go away for 1 more bet. You really should not fold your Aces. By default then you should conserve your resources and see the flop without putting in the third bet. This conceals your power. All these nice things happen when you just call.

Things to consider: If I raise what happens? What do I give away? What do I hide if I do not raise? Should I fold? Your correct play will emerge over time. The same rationale works in the big blind. Holding back early pays off 2 ways. You hide your juggernaut. KQ flops - a raise and reraise mean trouble and you may exit while having saved a bet. When an Ace flops then a bet and raise into you is sooo nice. Just remember, Aces do not always win.

Aces in a middle position hand

Now you play somewhat as a robot. If no one else calls before you, raise. If there is raise before you, reraise to hopefully eliminate callers and play heads up with the early raiser. 2 or 3 callers - here raise sometimes and sometimes just call, depending on the players and mood at the table.

Aces on the button or next to the button .
Here you should cram those chips in all the time. Build a monster pot to keep the inside straight draws in. Your position lets you escape really bad flops with heavy action after the flop. If you call a bet after several callers looking for another Ace, you have not made a horrible mistake. With many bets on the first round, getting to see fourth street for 1 bet is not so bad.

I really liked this hand that happened to me some years ago at the Mirage...

After a long day of business meetings, I went to play poker at the Mirage (when the place was still smoking tolerant, which tells you it's been awhile). The only holdem game with seats open was a 40-80 limit game - and the highest limit I had played up to that point was 15-30. What the hell. $1,000 in chips and into the game.

As the game starts up, a floorman comes to take the time charge. My reaction reveals I know zip about a time charge. The first hand shows I do not even know the chip denominations. Everyone else is really happy to be there...:) All attention is on me, and I'm wondering why I thought this was a game to play. A few players pass on moving to a higher game - they are visibly interested in who gets my thousand.

And the third hand brings me QQ in the big blind. No one raises. The whole table plays. I tap the table wondering what the hell is up. I guess they want the fish in the aquarium. The flop is something like 9 6 3 with all different suits (called a “rainbow” flop). I shrewdly figure the best play is to hope for a check raise to reduce the pot population. And so I check out of turn.

Oops - the whole table, remember. The little blind grumbles “scuse me” - and bets 40 dollars. Now I am quandry surrounded - but having already decided on a check raise, and having already checked, I figger - okey doke - and I raise. Hoo boy - ever see a crowd sit back to think! The whole table froze up. And they folded back to the bettor who called. Not liking it one bit. He called all the way and I had to show the winning Queens.

Next hand is also a nice teaching hand.
Ace and five of hearts in the little blind. Four callers - I put in $20 - and the Big Blind then raises. All call - I call another 40 - $240 or so in the pot now - and the flop comes with 2 hearts: 9 8 and a black 5. I bet, the big blind raises. We are heads up. We check it out and my fives beat Ace Queen. This situation plays this way only at the higher limits where decent players will release a hand. And the raiser also raises your bet after a flop.

We are almost done for now. I digress to No Limit. There are nice hundred dollar buy ins (or so - $120 also seems common) NL games with 1 and 2 dollar blinds and max rebuys limited to the original buyin amount. Played in some the last trip to Las Vegas - and these are fun games. Tons of action. Money to be made. I found them at Aladdin, Harrah's, and am told they are at Bellagio and several other places. My last hand this trip - 66 on the button. An early player makes it 10, 3 call, I call on the button, the Big Blind raises another 15 and all call. The flop is 4 5 8 (rainbow again). The Big blind bets 35, all fold and since I have seen him go all in with nothing and call on the end with nothing, I raise him all in. He calls and shows A J. Since y'all are professional you know who wins is not important...

More preflop play later. Start thinking how to win. Good decisions - they really should become a habit. Play with good decisions. The wins will take care of themselves.

Win lots. Lose very little!


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