Kings full of Aces and they shove the river -- WYD?

2-seat SNG. Hero has 3875 chips, Villain has 2125. Blinds are at 20/40.

Hero is on the button, holding K5o, and limps. V checks back. Pot is 80.

Flop 8dKhAh. Both check. Pot is 80.

Turn Kc, board 8dKhAhKc, giving Hero trip KKKings. V bets 629 chips. Hero calls. Pot is 1338 chips.

Turn is As, board 8dKhAhKcAs, giving Hero KKKAA. Villain shoves 1456 chips. Should Hero call?

No idea why you didn’t raise pre. Heads up, your king is usually the best hand.

No idea why you didn’t bet the flop. V should have raised any ace pre.

No idea why you flat the massive overbet on the turn. Jam and see what happens.

I never get to that position on the river, but OK, here we are. I make that call.

I would expect to chop a lot of the time, but there are hands I beat there. Maybe he missed a hearts draw. Maybe he has a small pair and convinced himself you can’t have an A or K, so his 66AAK (or whatever) is good, Maybe he limped 88 pre for some reason. Maybe he missed his broadway draw.

Sure, he could have some sort of ace that, for some reason, he didn’t raise with pre. and checked the flop for reasons known only to himself. Maybe he waited until he was beat on the turn to overbet an ace. People do all sorts of goofy things.

Most of the time, though, you’re either ahead or chopping. You’re getting almost 2-1… make the call.


That’s pretty much how I saw it, too. But the real deciding factor for me is that it CAN’T bust you out and you’ll still have enough chips to play a rational game if you lose.

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These are all fine points, and here are my answers:

  • I didn’t raise preflop with K5o because it’s been the case most often for me that if I raise more than 2BB, either I collect the blinds and win a min pot, or I get called by a better hand. I also seem to miss the flop more than the 2/3 of the time predicted by probability. If I miss, I can c-bet bluff, but many players will be calling even a pot-size bet with any draw, and I mean any draw as in drawing to bottom pair. Now, normally that’s great, because they’re going to be missing a lot of the time, which means that I’m going get paid on a lot of hands when I do have it. But the thing is that when I don’t have anything, it seems like they inevitably do end up showing down something that beats High Card, and they won’t fold if they have made a pair with their weak card. So if I do bet, they call, I have to wonder why, what are they calling me with. And if I inflate a pot that they cannily win by flatting with a pair of 33’s, say, which happens to me all the time, after I’ve barreled at them for three streets, then all I’ve done is tilted myself giving away 1/3 to 1/2 of my stack on a weak-nothing bluff hand. And when I do hit and bet on it, they fold out of the way so fast it’s like they can see the hand face up, so I’m not getting paid on the flipside. So I’ve been bluffing very, very seldom lately.

I didn’t bet the flop because of the Ace over me on the board. Since I limped pre, I have little/no info on the strength of V’s holding. All I know is that they didn’t raise. Could be he has nothing, could be a trap. If I bet, and they call, on a board with AKX, to have to give them credit for having something. They could also raise me off of a second pair, weak kicker hand pretty easily. So I checked.

  • The Turn play was an eyebrow raiser. I have no idea why they bet so big, nearly 700 chips into a 80 chip pot is rather nonstandard. Either it’s a pure bluff, or they had a weak Ace that they didn’t want to lead/open with, and are now trying to build a very large pot by overbetting to look like a bluff, or possibly they’re fearing that I could have come ahead of the pair of Aces by hitting trip Kings, but maybe it’s a weak King and they think they can fold me off of it and get 80 for 700. Which is such a poor play, risking so much for so little, maybe they’re just a fool. Or maybe they just want me to think they’re a fool, and are holding AK.
  • I just flatted because well, I do have trips, and it’s likely the best hand at this point. But my kicker is weak, and I don’t want to be a fool myself and shove my stack into a stronger King or a hand like AK. I feel like it’s rare to be up against AK in this specific spot, but I could have been duped by a slow play trap and maybe they’ve grown impatient and decided to take a different track with the hand in order to confuse me. Maybe he does just have an Ace, and is doing what I often see bad players do, which is slow play while ahead, then speed up when the board texture is threatening to give the hand away to another player. What if he’s “cleverly” not playing a set of 888s, slow playing, and just filled a boat, or something like AA88, hoping to induce me to bluff, only I’m not taking the bait, and now he’s in danger of being behind a player who just hit trips with a weak King and has been over folding and can definitely fold a big hand, so he’s trying to salvage something?
  • Why not jam the Turn? Because I’m only going to get called by a better King, AA, AK, or, maybe a hand like badly played QQ or JJ. And I still don’t think he’s on something like that, because of the no action preflop. So if your opponent is making a mistake, let them.
  • I did call on the river, expecting to see another King and chop, or just maybe that terrible play on AX just paid off. V actually had 63o, and I won the game. But I hated that river card. On the one hand, it guaranteed me a chop if indeed I was up against a stronger King. On the other, it gave me a second best boat against any Ace, and I see all kinds of passive preflop play with Aces in these games. On the Turn, I had hoped that V was playing an Ace, but now if I’m calling, I have to hope they were playing a (likely better) King, which would have meant that I should have been folding the Turn. Second guessing is how I outplay myself, and being wrong is how I get outplayed. This time, I happened to be right, and I liked the outcome, but I didn’t feel like I was making correct decisions throughout (my own history has shown me that folding K5o is the correct play, even short-handed. But I guess since it surprises you that I didn’t raise with it that I must be wrong about that, too…)

I don’t know that I can play a rational game but the thought that I did have V covered helped a bit to make the call.

On the other hand, it seems that in about 70%+ of these heads up games I’ve been playing, I’ll initially take a +1000 chips stack advantage through the opening dozen or 20 hands, only to get reversed on one big pot, usually by a bad beat, suck out, or cooler, and then have to play with a cripple stack and have to get lucky and double up myself, or lose, or sometimes it just brings me back to even stacks and back to square one, and I have to beat the same player again and again, each time I wear them down to where I am able to go for a knockout, they hit another double-up and resurrect their chances, so it’s almost like I have to beat them 3-4 times just to win the chips for one match.

Get out of the past and play the NOW hand. Kx is probably ahead, bet it.

V should have raised any ace pre. Had you raised pre, he would probably think you have an ace and fold. Bet the flop and put him in a bad spot.

So they checked the flop with an ace because…? Then bet the turn with a pair on the board?

Yes, trips are likely to be the best hand, so bet it. There’s 1 king left in the deck, and you worry about kickers? You will most likely be playing the board for your kicker. What better kings are checking to a button limp preflop? Do you really think AK is taking that line? If you were that afraid of a “better king,” why not fold?

The better hands you mentioned would have raised pre and probably not checked the flop. Hope is the curse of gamblers, you could get called by flush draws, pocket pairs, even broadway draws. People do goofy things.If they fold to your jam, that’s fine, but give them a chance to call bad and make them pay to be goofy!

I’ve been burned in that spot, I think we all have. So what? You can’t live in the past. If we let past bad beats make us play scared now, we have already lost. Play your best poker now, today, and forget all those past misfortunes. Poker is a game of statistics, make correct decisions and it all works out in the end.

K5o is a 51% hand against any two cards. Against 63o it’s about a 67% winner preflop?

Aggression works if it works. What I notice if I start raising a hand like K5o, ok they fold and I win min-blind pots for maybe 5 pots in a row, maybe 10. If I C-bet the flop on the grounds that they’re missing the flop and folding to significant pressure about 2/3 of the time, I win even more hands. I win and I win and I win… until V catches any pair, and I bluff my way through 3 barrels, miss all the way to the river with AK and give it all back to them because they flopped a pair of 2s and felt like they should hold on in case they pair the kicker as well.

So, I should learn from that, and play smarter. Well, I can still bluff sometimes. And I can raise some hands. And I do. And I win some small pots.

And sometimes I give up and let them have the small pot, because they stood up to me and they called, and when I backed down it told them I was weak and they pressed on me and I collapsed. But I’d rather be the one conceding the small pots and winning the big ones, than the other way around.

To be clear: I do mix it up. Sometimes I will open K5o for a raise. Sometimes I’ll C-bet with it. I can win pots with it that way, too. Sometimes I’ll hit top pair, or trip 555s, or sometimes I’ll hit two pair KK55. A lot of the times, it misses (I feel like 2/3 missing on the flop is low for me – need to back that up with statistics tho). If I miss the flop 2/3 of the time, and V calls any flop bet 100% of the time, and hits some pair 50% of the time, while I miss the entire board (seriously, I think it’s easily 70% of my hands miss the board entirely, I know it’s supposed to be about 50% that your best five cards will be one pair or better at the river, but a significant number of those hands seem to be the pair is on the board, not one of my hole cards.)

Of course, they should have done that.

Could it be that I hae made an adjustment that works to the style of play that prevails here, rather than play GTO?

(That’s not a rhetorical question.)

Possibly they’re check-raising? Or have a weak Ace and are checking to see if I’ll bet with a stronger Ace, and if not then they feel safe to open on the following street?


I worry about the kicker because when someone throws a nearly 8x pot bet into a board that just paired, I think it makes the odds of them having just improved from second pair to trips pretty high.

And with a 5 kicker, the odds are very good that I’m outkicked.

Granted, yes, with a kicker that low, the Ace and Eight on the board are my kickers, so my hand is made slightly stronger in a sense. Unless I’m up against AK, A8, 88, K9+, then I’m still boned.

But still, as you say, there’s only one more King in the deck, and he didn’t raise preflop, so I feel maybe slightly confident that I have the only King in this hand.

Agreed, most of the time, those better hands are raising. HU, though, sometimes players will limp very strong hands in order to trap. I especially see this if the opponent folds to too much aggression. If you’re at 20/40 with a stack of 2800, what good is it to open all-in shoving AA if 99.999% of the time, your big stack opponent is going to fold and let you have the 20 chips?

How do you build a big pot against a hand you’re beating? You have to either A) hope you’re up against a hand that is drawing to something strong, but will miss; B) hope your opponent hits their draw, but it’s still weaker than your hand; C) convince your opponent that you’re weak or don’t know what you’re doing.

So, are better hands than what I have raising against me? Well, they should, probably, much of the time. Sometimes, though, I know, they won’t be, in order to induce me to bet a weak hand like less-than-top pair.

It’s true, V could have had two hearts in his hole, drawing to a flush, and wanted to either get the hand early if I wasn’t interested in it with an unmade draw, or build a big pot if they did hit a nut flush draw with QhXh.

I don’t know what possessed them to bluff, but they did get the perfect river card to make me fold KX if I did think they had it, or if I didn’t have an Ace or a King.

By your logic I “should” have raised my K5o pre, and thus shouldn’t have had a King, which might be why 63o felt compelled to stack themselves bluffing me off of whatever I happened to have. So there’s limits to thinking this way. You can reason yourself into a position that tells you your opponent “can’t” have something, because of how they are playing the hand, and then it turns out, well, whoops, they can. And they’re just bad enough at poker to call with the second-nuts when you go all-in on them after a scare card lands on the river.

In a way, their bluff did work – I was pretty surprised to see they had absolutely nothing. I truly expected to get beat by AX or chop with a KX, and I figured it was about 50-50 either way, with maybe a 1-2% chance they were shoving on a busted hearts draw. Not stone cold nothing. In that situation, I felt like calling was a bad play, but I also felt like folding was a bad play. So they outplayed me, kindof. And lost the hand, but that’s immaterial in the long run. If they run that situation into me 100x and I play it the same way 100x, and they have chops and stack me more often than they’re bluffing, in the long run don’t they profit?

If we look at this another way, I could have been playing 8X and still had the best hand in this particular hand, but how could I have called the Turn, much less the River with such a holding? Even QhTh is beating what V is pressuring me with, but it’s an unmade hand at the river. Can a pro call here with a holding like that? Not without a very good read on the opponent, and even then I have strong doubts.

It’s way easier to avoid such difficult calls by simply folding K5o preflop, and playing a stronger range, raising those stronger hands preflop. That’s why that’s a strategy recommended to beginners learning to play the game.

I’m hopefully well past the point of being a true beginner, but still trying to feel my way around the deeper strategies of the game. HU, I’m finding I’m able to play a very wide range of hands, if limping can be called playing them, and I seem to be winning at a clip that shows that I’m better than chance, and better than my opponents. Am I legitimately a decent poker player, or just better than the average Replay player who’ll play at 100k stakes? How do I know I’m truly good?

Or does it not matter whether I am “truly” good, as long as I’m better than who I’m playing against?

If that is the case you can start raising even more hands and keep chipping away at the stacks. You don’t always have to barrel. You can check and give up. At 50bb, I would raise or fold. Being able to steal the blinds pre or take it down on the flop is a big advantage. Only when the stacks get shallower with the threat of a 3b jam would I start limping.

I think checking the flop is fine. K5o is one of your weaker Kings and V still should have some weaker aces that don’t raise pre like A6o.

Turn, you should just call. His large bet is very polar. Either he has trips+ or air. If you jam you are only getting called by worse (unless villain is spewy and calls flush draws). By calling, you can induce another bluff.

River, I would just call. The only hand that beat you is an ace and if villain had an ace, that just sucks. You’re not getting exploited by calling a K as betting an ace on the turn like that is -EV.

Overbetting the turn when IP checks flop and is a strong play as long as OOP has a big nut advantage. If villain believes you bet most Kings on the flop(which I think you should), then he should bet 2x or 3x the pot to punish your weak range and get value from trips. That is also the reason we have to check some of every pair, so we have strong hands when we check and the board pairs.

If you are playing on a play money site, then you are probably not a very strong player. I don’t believe there are any strong players, myself included, on this site. Some of us are just a bit better than the average recreational.

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I’m not one of the GTO guys. I’ve also said many times that I’m far from one of the best players here. I can only share my opinions on how I approach the game, here, against the players I face, not against some theoretically optimal players the accountants have trapped inside a machine somewhere.

I raise pre because any K is likely to be the best hand and because people tend to over-fold. You said K5o is 51%, but if they will fold half their hands, then K5o will win 75% of the time. Raising helps me define their range, wins more pots preflop, and makes my flop c-bets more effective.

The people I play don’t use mixed strategies, especially when they are behind in chips.

Heads up? Please cite any source anywhere that suggests you only play strong hands and always raise them preflop when heads up.

Anyway, I raise pre and c-bet most of my range on the flop in this particular hand. I force my opponents to make hard decisions rather than face them myself. My (mostly) MTT ROI is now 41%, so it seems to be working for me.

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Fair; that is how you describe yourself, and you’ve said on more than one occasion that you’re not a GTO player.

If it’s the better hand, then you want to show it down and get full value, not get folds.

Not to discount the value of winning uncontested pots, the more you can do that the better. It’s good, though, with a strong hand, to get more chips in the pot before you put your opponent to a decision where they’re likely to fold. Otherwise, you’re leaving chips on the table, no?

I’ve heard it said that good strategy is to play in such a way that, whether your opponent calls, bets, or raises, they’re making a poor decision more often than not. That’s a pretty obvious strategy – the trick is how to do that. And that varies according to too many factors to get into here.

But anyway, you say “[I] said K5o is 51%, but if they will fold half their hands, then K5o will win 75% of the time.”

Well, I’d ask you to consider: If they’re folding half their hands to your raise, the K5o may not win 75% of the time. We have to consider that the hands most likely to fold are the ones that K5o would have beaten anyway. So, sure sometimes you might induce hands like K6, K7, K8 to fold, or weak Aces by raising. And that will gain you some increase in the win rate. But the hands that call may be the ones that are better than 51% against K5o, so now you raised the stakes, and need the board to fill a hand that improves K5o to a better hand than the one your opponent’s got, or hope they miss and you can apply continuation pressure on them and get them to fold, or that they otherwise misplay the hand. Depending on how well you bluff, that may work out well for you. I am apparently not that good at bluffing, perhaps.

In the hand we’re discussing, if I raise K5o, probably 63o folds to most any raise. Maybe a 2.5BB open is all it takes, and wins me 1.5BB. That’s certainly a much safer hand for me, and is not remarkable at all, and would never be used as a Hand Analysis topic. I guess we can say it’d be a better way to play the hand, then. No hard decisions to make on your end, guaranteed 100% winner for the hands where they fold. What’s not to love about that?

Just because I seem to have a hard time winning hands that way, doesn’t mean it’s not viable.

Heads up? Please cite any source anywhere that suggests you only play strong hands and always raise them preflop when heads up.

Sorry, I didn’t mean heads-up necessarily. I think in HU games, you do need to play a wider range.

Normally in 6- and 9-seat tables, basic beginner strategy says to play late position hands with a tight range, and raise high in order to isolate, at which point you’re basically playing a heads-up hand against the player you’ve isolated.

Indeed, good strategy! I didn’t find any decision particularly hard in this hand until the river. Preflop, it’s a cheap hand, easy to get away from. Flop, I don’t have top pair, middle pair, weak kicker is pretty marginal, so check and play small ball. Turn, I suddenly have trips, much stronger, V likely doesn’t have a better King, but suppose maybe have something. A smaller/reasonable bet here folds me if I have nothing, I feel compelled to call here. I can see the case you’re making to jam it, too.

The river though? Classic screw-me river card. I’m ahead, I even “improve” from Trips-weak kicker to full house, and now I’m behind any Ace. Pretty easy for a lot of players to have a weak Ace and play the hand like this, hit the nut boat, and shove it, although the Turn play is still pretty screwy. It was suspicious enough that I decided to call, for better or worse. At a real money table, I’m not sure I’d have done the same. Hence why I came here to discuss it.

It’s probably the best hand now, so now is when I bet it. It will only remain best hand half the time. I don’t limp the button and hope the deck hits me in the head because it mostly won’t. I would rather never get to showdown. Does this leave value on the table sometimes? Sure, but it also gains when they fold a better hand. I have never lost a hand where my opponent folded.

No, it will win 51% of those times they don’t fold. Yes, mostly worse hands will fold, but what would happen here on a K63 flop? Bad cards have the same chance of hitting as good ones.

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Good points, and thanks for clarifying :slight_smile:

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No you wouldn’t have done the same at a real money table people don’t really slow play unless they have the have the absolute nuts, its far more aggressive in both ring and tourneys (online that is) 90% of hands never make it to the river and half of them are decided pre flop. All I want to know is did you call or not? lol

I did, and won the game. The hand is linked above.

oh I see it thx

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Of course you raise K5 if you are heads up, because if your opponent does not have an Ace or a better King, or a pocket pair, then you are starting ahead, and if opponent does not have a pair, then 2 times out of 3 he misses the flop.

In most of my games recently I have hardly even raised more than 2 BB preflop, because that is usually enough to knock out the really weak hands, plus it gives you bluffing credibility if an Ace comes on the flop.

Does this work? Well it seems to work well enough on RP is all I can say. My last 11 multitable tournaments at 1 million chips to enter have yielded 3 wins, 1 second place, and 2 third places.

Stop playing abstract theoretical poker and find a way to beat the opponents in front of you.

And I have told you before, try playing some higher entry price tournaments, because there you will meet the better players on RP, and have more fun trying to outwit them. If you are always playing against the dummies who are just playing for a laugh, you will start to play like them.

Sometimes I play the low entry tournaments just for fun, if I don’t really have enough time to play a full tournament, and I get knocked out early most of the time, because those games are just a knockabout. If you play in the more expensive tournaments, most of the players, not all, tend to be much more cautious and will fold when the odds are against them. In the low level games the players don’t even know that the odds are against them, so once you get a big stack you should have a big advantage, but it can be tough getting started.


No problem.

You’re right though, I would have very likely played the entire hand differently if it was for money. What I wasn’t sure about though was whether the river call was still something I would have done if actual money was on the line. I think in a real-money game, it’s a lot more likely they have it there than are bluffing air. Then again, you do see some really sick bluffs sometimes on high stakes money games that get posted on Youtube. I tend to think those get views because they are the exception to the norm, though.

Please try to keep this hand review on topic, posting one hand for review. Thank you.

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Is this the Proceedings of The Royal Academy of Poker, or a discussion on a play money poker site?