Straight Flush vs Ace High Flush

Hello, everyone!

This hand happened to me at the beginning of Team Tournament A, and everyone seemed to think about it like a terrible cooler; even I thought it was terrible (I said “so sick” in the comments afterwards, and I meant it), but, on second thought, I believe AlecRome’s play was strange from the beginning up until at least the turn:

I’d like to hear everyone’s thoughts on it. Could he have avoided that river?

By the way, I’m definitely not showing this because I got a straight flush or anything like that (I wouldn’t brag, especially after finishing 28th); I’m honestly curious about the way it played out.

I’m not clear on the definition of cooler, but I thought that a river miracle wasn’t a cooler. Whatever the case, I don’t think he can avoid paying to see a showdown there. He hung in with A2s on the hopes that he could hit a flush with it, and that’s exactly what he did. He beats anything but Tc9c and 9c5c and 5c4c. The sequence was there on the board for him to see, but the odds of someone else having one of those three cards were pretty unlikely, except that they were 1:1 in this particular case.

This is the most ridiculous hand you have EVER seen, but I don’t want to spoil it for you yet. I was playing in tonight’s 1 million chip entry tourney and had a nice big lead… until my wife called me to pick her up from work, one of our cars being in the shop with brake problems.

By the time I got back I only had 2 or 3 big blinds and was bottom of the table in 10th place, with prize money only available for 4 places. This hand put me on my way and I was able to hang on for 4th place and add a couple million chips to my stash and cross 20 million for the first time.

Here is the river card of the century.


Runner runner to a royal! Haha, that’s the way to do it.

(2/47 X 1/46) X 100 = 0.16%

That’s about 1 in 625

But I’m not talking specifically about the river; I’m talking about the whole hand. Pre-flop raise from UTG with A-2s, flop comes rainbow, bet, someone who has position on you raises, you call, and then comes the flush draw. At that point I can understand the call as much as you do, but what about the previous steps? Would you have done the same?

RaIsing from UTG with A 2s seems pointless, then calling the flop bet with only one overcard and three to the flush, then shoving on the river, when only the straight flush would call. None of it makes sense, but they you see stuff that makes no sense all the time.

I would be more inclined to raise from UTG with a pair of middling suited connectors, but representing a good Ace, then if Big Blind calls and checks with an Ace on the flop, play your nonexistent ace, or if you hit your flush or straight draw play a continuation bet. If the flop comes paired, the odds are that opponent does not have trips, so that is also an opportunity, But A 2s is a drawing hand and you just want to see the flop as cheaply as possible and throw the hand away if you don’t hit a draw on the flop.

In the hand that follows, I played the hand purely as a bluff as I had a premonition that opponent had nothing, and bluffed on the flop, the turn, and put him all in on the river, and he called the river bet and did not even have enough to beat my bluff. What was he thinking? But maybe he had to leave anyway. You can never really tell.


Straight flushes (and quads) are so rare that I basically play as though they don’t exist when I have a flush. I’m more worried about paired boards giving someone a full house. If I’m on A2 there, I have the nut flush, and figure why not, I can shove here. It’s unlikely someone calls, but if they do I maximize value for the hand. Maybe a smaller bet for value is a better idea, but why lose sleep over it. You certainly don’t check here, unless it’s to check-raise. But to do that you’d need to be very sure that you’re going to get bet back at.

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Personally, I wouldn’t have raised that hand preflop, but once you do, you either have to back it up (by betting) or let it go if someone bets. I would have probably folded to your raise on the flop, considering only one club was on the board, especially early in a tournament. He was representing a big hand from the start, so I do understand the call. Turn gets checked and he hits a big hand on the river. Here is where I definitely would have played it differently, but I have been burned by straight flushes enough to watch for them. I’d still bet, but it would be a value bet and much smaller than the one made. If I think I have the best hand, I want to get called. Betting too much would scare away straights and low flushes, so the only call you are likely to get is by one of the 3 hands that can beat yours.

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Like people said ; AlecRome’s mistakes IMO are :

  1. Raising A2s UTG
  2. Betting flop is horrible, and calling afterwards ; he should check/fold. He raised UTG, he misses this board 85% of the time, a bet doesn’t make sense
  3. Call 1/2 pot turn is even a bigger mistake… Why, just why ?

This hand shouldn’t have existed, but in the end he got punished for playing this hand way too loosely, so I pretty like the outcome of it. Anyway, nice hand mate.


For what it’s worth, A2s through A5s are in my open-fold range UTG. They’re rare enough that it provides balance to my open value range without becoming too bluff heavy, while still having some equity if I get called.

Can’t speak for the rest off the decisions in the hand, but that particular choice isn’t too far out of line.

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“Open-fold” UTG means raising and then folding if someone 3-bets, right? And when you say “open value range” you mean the range of hands with which you open that are actually very strong hands, am I correct?

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You have what you think is the nut flush and you are to bet first on the river. You WANT an opponent to call, but shoving vastly reduces that chance that you will get a call, especially if the opponent is putting his entire tournament on the call. Sometimes you might shove on the end if you have been shoving on the end before with bluffs, so as to mix it up.

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You can use hands like this to see a flop and then decide whether to bluff, continue, or fold. Personally I prefer to use this for non Ace hands, since your raise will immediately have any callers thinking you may have an Ace. For example you raise with 6 8s, get one caller who has KK, an Ace comes on the flop, and you make him fold. That would be the best case!

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No one will fold KK with just one Ace on the flop. Think about it! If there’s an Ace in the flop, that means there’s a 25% less chance of anyone else having another Ace! No, KK will shove there, to stop anyone else at the table from getting an Ace later.

I don’t know. In tournament play you have to take into account relative stack size, blind size, position relative to the prize money, and some other factors like the table image of the opponent (if any).

If there’s an Ace in the flop, that means there’s a 25% less chance of anyone else having another Ace!

Well, yes, but if the opponent was first into the pot raising from early position, his chance of having an Ace is fairly high.

But back to A 2s–If you raise preflop, you don’t really want to see a 2, because a 2 makes third pair at best, and 4th or 5th pair if there are further streets or pocket pairs. And you don’t really want to see an Ace either, because any Ace is beating you, except another A 2.

I tend to be a little circumspect when playing KK if an A comes on the flop. It is the only possible overcard, but it considerable diminished the likelihood of KK being ahead;.

I posted a hand the other day where KK called a shove and another call on an Ace high flop against two hands with A 2 and hit successive Kings on the turn and flop to make four-of-a-kind. However, had I been the person with KK, I think I would have folded there, and I cannot consider that to be an EV+ play.

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I was completely kidding, but what I was saying is indeed the apparent mentality of some players I’ve witnessed at these tables. Especially the big raise after the board texture suddenly threatens a straight or flush for someone with the right two cards, as though raising now will scare the person who just made their draw ditch their hand.

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Opening A2s 6 handed is fine but his c-bet was terrible multiway and his call of your raise on the flop was beyond bad. Mistakes get bigger and bigger street by street and you end up with hands that should never meet up like this at showdown. Its not a cooler though - coolers are named for being nearly unavoidable. This was easily avoidable so it was just bad play resulting in a bad result.

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perfect example of a cooler. might as well be like Oprah. you flop a set and you flop a set and you flop a set. everyone flops sets.

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I got crushed flopping middle set (7’s) vs a set of A’s earlier. That happens and nothing you can do about it. Its the dumb crap that makes you want to spend time doing anything else. I get that you need bad players to make money but when they run in herds, its a meaningless way to spend time.

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I watched the hand and I think that I actually would play very similarly, allow me explain:

  • At a 6 handed table, I personally mix in suited Ace wheel hands when raising under the gun. At a 9 handed table I would fold this holding most of the time and mix it in 10% or so of the time.
  • The preflop raise is good for me, I think that an aggressive chip accumulation strategy can be very successful.
  • On the flop, we have a classic C-Bet, some players like to do this, other’s don’t. That’s fine. If you are playing an aggressive chip accumulation strategy then C-Betting at a very high frequency is part of that.
  • When raised on the flop, there is an option to make a backdoor straight or what looks like a hidden nut flush. Players often tend to feel that a backdoor flush is a lot less likely than a front door flush. It’s not that much more to call, combined with good implied odds, I would call in this situation too.
  • When there is an all-in on the river, I think that there are a few holdings that can call, specifically as the flush is a backdoor flush. I think there are some players who might call with a set or a lower flush and some who will call with the 9.

I think I go broke in the same way.

Just my thoughts,


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