Best of British

A selection of dilemma hands involving those hard-to-drop bullets – nobody wants to let go of Aces


You’re heads-up in a six-man no-limit hold’em sit&go. You have $14,000 to your opponent’s $5,000 in chips. Your image is tight-aggressive while he has been playing extremely loose throughout the game and has been calling almost every single bet. Blinds are at $100/$200, ante of $25. You pick up A-A on the button and raise to $800. Your opponent calls. The flop is 10-10-4 – he checks, you bet $600. He calls. The turn is J – he checks, you check. The river is 7 – he checks, you bet $1,125. He re-raises all-in. You call. He turns over Q– 10 for trip 10s and takes the pot. Is there anything you should have done differently at any point in the hand?


The small bet of $600 on the flop was not so bad as it may have induced a bluff re-raise. However, checking the turn was a mistake on what is now a dangerous board. The pot is now $2,800 and he has $3,600 in front of him. I would have moved all-in on the turn.


All you should have done differently here was verbal him throughout the hand! To be honest, all the information you require to pass has been given to you: check-calling on the flop and re-raising all-in on the river is usually the sign of a very strong hand. But with the player having the image you portrayed, you probably have to call. I would almost certainly have checked the river with him as I either see no call or I am beat. The only other option being that he decides to bluff off his stack; but if he has the opinion of me playing tight then he must know I have a playable hand, and will be wary of bluffing.


Personally if I have this nutter on a 2-1 chip lead, I would be happy to take the risk and get all his money in the pot with this hand. Even though he caught that miracle flop, I am still in decent shape after the pot is over and can still go on to win. Make sure you don’t go on tilt after getting your bullets cracked – that could be the crucial factor in deciding who wins this tournament!

As a general rule, if the guy is a loose-aggressive player, with the stack sizes as they are, I am not going to worry about him having flopped trips. I want to try and get him to make a move at this pot if he doesn’t have the 10 or let him go crazy if he’s just got the 4. I want to get as much value off this station as possible, so will be betting away on the flop and turn – if he goes all-in, good luck to him. However, raising to $600 instead of $800 pre-flop and checking the flop (basically keeping the pot smaller) would have helped to control the situation.


You’re down to two tables in a major WPT event. Blinds are at $1,000/$2,000, antes of $500. You’re playing seven-handed. You have $120,000 in chips. A tight player raises in early position, making it $7,000 to go. He has $140,000. Everyone folds to you on the small blind. You look down at A-A. Your table image is loose-aggressive. The big blind is still to act, but having played with him for the past couple of hours you know that he is capable of coming over the top with solid cards (and frequently does), so you just smooth call the earlyposition raise. Unfortunately on this occasion, the big blind just calls. Flop is K-7-3 rainbow. You bet out $15,000. The big blind instantly re-raises to $45,000. The early position player starts riffling with his chips and looks as though he may call or even raise. After about two minutes, he folds. Now what?


I would suggest that there’s about a 30% chance that the big blind has flopped a set of 7s, 3s or even two-paired K-7. It’s 50/50 whether I move all-in or pass, depending on: (a) what I know about the player’s habits from the session so far, and (b) whether I can pick up any tells on him at this current moment. However, I would have 100% re-raised pre-flop and would not have let this situation occur in the first place.


It’s a no-brainer. I push all-in and good luck to him if he has me beaten. If he was any sort of player and had a good hand, he wouldn’t bet so big so as to scare me off – so I would guess I was winning and stick it in.


This is pretty tricky and one mistake can cost you your whole tournament – and if it’s a WPT event, a load of cash too. I’ve got a rule about slow-playing Aces and Kings – let’s say I do that pre-flop, I don’t fall in love with them after the flop if the players start taking off with their betting.

The big blind has obviously called the pre-flop raise with something and could have flopped a set or be holding K-7 for two pair. I wouldn’t want to come all this way in a big event, slow play my hand to trap someone and end up trapping myself, so I’d probably fold. Take advantage of your loose-aggressive image and re-raise pre-flop – you’re more likely to get action from someone who has some sort of hand and doesn’t believe you.


There are 23 players left in a 4,000 player MTT. Blinds are at $10,000/$20,000. You are the tournament leader with $1.9 million in chips. The next biggest stack on your table is $750,000. You’re dealt A-A in first position. You’ve been playing and showing only premium hands. You raise to $60,000. You get four callers, including the $750k stack who is on the button. He’s been playing tight as well. Flop is A-4-9. You bet $80,000. It folds round to the button, who re-raises all-in. After thinking for as long as the timer will allow, you muck, fearing the flush and not wanting to hand him the momentum. He flips over 9-9. Did you make the right move?


Absolutely not. I would be all-in on this flop. There is at least a 50% chance you have the best hand, if not 80%. On the few occasions that you run into the nut flush, you will also crack it with a full house 30% of the time.


No way. Wrong move! I would have called in a flash as I can win the tournament here and now and the likelihood of being in such a position again is remote. It’s a sure-fire call even against a made flush as you have seven outs on the flop and ten on the turn. You can’t get knocked out and you are left in clear second place with over a million in chips. You should always call in this position.


If I flop top set on a flushing board in a tournament and have been set all-in on the flop, I will go ahead and put my chips in the middle. If you only flopped top pair or even two pair on an all-club board, it’s good to play with caution as you could be drawing slim or even dead. When you’ve flopped a set you’ve got plenty of outs even if he has flopped a flush and there’s a big chance you’re winning anyway. I’ve never been the type of player to look at things from a negative point of view, worrying and folding until I’ve got the absolute nuts. I’m going to gamble with this guy every day of the week in this spot.

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