I hate to flood this, but the reason why I posted this one is to see from the better players (and anyone else - all welcome, of course) if I did anything ‘wrong’ in this hand. Hoping to get a little bit of feedback on hand ranges here and some considerations on what to suspect and what to do based on those ranges. I actually think I played this one pretty well, but have a few ideas on what maybe could have been done differently. I’m not 100% sure if I even made any ‘real’ mistakes or not, but would like to know from you if I did. As most often usual, I prefer to provide any information after replies to see if my retrospective thoughts meet any of your initial ones (and I’ll be honest - only hurting myself if I’m not). When you’re willing/able: https://www.replaypoker.com/hand/replay/449508411 Thank you!
I think you played it OK, sometimes you just get beat. I think you could reasonably guess this player had a big pair, and that became more certain as the hand went on, and no scare cards came up. I mean yeah there was a potential club flush on the board, but that didn’t really seem to influence the betting from what I could see.
Sometimes you hit a hand, your opponent hits the nuts, and he just lets you give him all your chips by calling you every street. Betting sends a message, and if I think I’m holding the nuts, I’ll let my opponent keep talking as long as he wants. That’s all your opponent did to you in this case.
You might have closed the hand if you’d bet to put him all-in when the 3c hit, representing that you’d filled a flush. That’s the only way i see you getting out of the hand. Of course a real flush would probably just check here, and let them bet, and come over. So probably that’s what you should have done, and if they check too, maybe just let it ride out to the River and keep the hand small since your Kings haven’t improved any.
With a big pair like AA or KK, conventional wisdom seems to be that you want to get your chips in pre-flop, betting big enough to get all but one to fold, and rely on the heads-up odds being in your favor.
Or, if you don’t get everyone out of the hand preflop, at least close the betting down after the flop, once you feel reasonably assured that the flop hasn’t improved your opponent’s hand, whether by betting everyone off the hand, or by check/folding if the board scares you and someone’s betting like it should scare you.
Going the other way, if your hand improves at the flop, especially if it improves in a way that can’t benefit your opponent, say like hitting trips or a nut flush or nut flush draw, and opposed to adding another pair on the board that could potentially make your opponent trips, then you can slow-play the hand, letting players ahead of you bet, and just call them as long as they keep betting, and finish off with a big bet on the river, after your opponent puts enough chips in to become committed to paying you off.
A lone pair, even Aces, is vulnerable to sick suck-outs, from two pair on up. And you’re playing just a pair of unimproved Kings, yet betting on every street like you don’t mind the hand continuing. You should be betting, but bet like you want your opponent to think very hard about whether they want to pay to see more cards.
In this case though, I don’t think it would have mattered. If you don’t get him to muck, you can either cool down and fold if he starts betting, or you can bet harder and hope the pressure will get to him. Or you can cool down and raise when he bets… Or… There’s a lot of ways to play hands of poker, and a situation and opponent for each of them.
I’ve been struggling with these hands lately. I seem to bet too small preflop, get too many callers, and then bet too cautiously post-flop, allowing my opponent to stay in the hand and make a comeback. I’ve started betting more preflop, but it doesn’t seem to be working. But I’m evaluating based on outcomes, and my outcomes have not been conforming to probability, which makes me feel like my play is bad, when in fact it’s pretty close to textbook. Certainly could be improved, some would say, but I’m doing 50% with hands that should pay me 80-90% of the time, and it make you doubt yourself.
Before I became as good at poker as I am now, I felt like I used to do better with big pairs. This is a paradox, I know.
But when I was more passive, I used to only limp or maybe min-raise with the big pairs, and then make a pot-sized bet on the flop to steal from as many players at the table as I could.
I think there’s actually some advantage to this. If you raise 7-10BB preflop, whoever calls you A) will be on a big hand themselves, and B) will be committed to that big bet they just put in a lot more than 8 opponents who each only put in 2 or 3 BB.
And if no one happens to feel lucky enough to call, then you’re winning blinds with premium cards that should be worth more, and that sucks almost as much as losing a big pot to an improbable suck-out.
You can see where I’m going with this, I hope. By raising only a little, you get a lot of calls – maybe out of 9 seats you bring in 5-6 passive players, each for 2 BB. You may then make a pot sized bet on the flop and get 5-6 folds, from everyone who missed the flop. Maybe everyone folds, maybe 1 opponent stays in.
If you get a call, maybe he hit top pair and isn’t suspecting you’re holding AA or KK yet. Maybe he thinks you’re on a set, or maybe you flopped a monster straight, flush, or boat. Yes, you’re semi-bluffing with pocket pair. Maybe he’s only 3 or 4 cards to a straight or flush, so he’s willing to call a 500-ish chip pot-sized bet to see the Turn. He misses most of these. Now you can bet big on the turn – another pot-sized bet, not going all in, to keep yourself safe if you’re not the big stack in the contest. He’ll think twice about calling again if you are charging 1500 to see the River on a 1500-chip pot. Unless he has AA, like he does here, then he’s probably not worried. But maybe you got to him with that third Club on the board, and maybe he’s suspecting that you made something better than a Pair. If you are the big stack, bet enough to put your opponent all-in, in one decision, while still leaving you comfortable if you get beat. If he still calls, well, he may have you beat. But if he’s already all-in at least he can’t make you lose any more chips. But if he folds, you just took a big chunk out of his pot, and didn’t put yourself at as much risk.
If you’re in earlier position, you can check to him, and let him bet, then come over the top with an all-in, and see if he collapses. If he checks to you, bet big to close the hand, and don’t worry about extracting every last chip with a right-sized bet for value.
I have no idea if this is optimal or not, I suspect a lot of other players would say this is the wrong way to play Aces. But I seemed to do better with them when I played them this way, than I do when I play them the the way I played them yesterday.
Just some ideas. Poker’s complicated. Maybe just keep it simple.
Focusing on just this hand, not how to play KK generally, I think you can just ask yourself, “How do I know when I’m beat when I’m starting with the 2nd best hand? How do I know when I’m up against AA?” Well, the first indication of that was when you bet 9BB and got called by the SB. At that point, maybe slow down after the flop, until you see a third King or a big enough bet that you question the soundness of calling it, and lay it down? It’s hard to lay down Kings, man.