One of the best things you can do as a poker player is study the hands that put you in tough spots. While we would all like to be dealt pocket aces every hand, it can be discouraging when three diamonds come on the flop and both of your aces happen to be black. Just because the board is monotone doesn’t mean your aces are no longer good, take the analysis from this hand and apply what you learn to your own game.
Scenario: You are 9-handed playing in an $800 buy-in tournament with a stack of 20,000 and the blinds at 100/200. It folds around to you on the button and you look down at A♠-A♣. You raise 500, and only the big blind calls. The flop comes K♦-T♦-6♦ and your opponent checks.
The Game: $800 Buy-In NLH Tournament
Effective Stack: 100 Big Blinds
Your Hand: A♠-A♣
Playing Pocket Aces On A Monotone Flop
The Pot: 1,300
The Board: K♦-T♦-6♦
Effective Stack: 98 Big Blinds Effective
A lot of poker players often misplay these monotone boards. While your opponent has more flushes in their range, they also have plenty of calling hands that you beat. Additionally, many players in the big blind’s shoes fail to check-raise enough on monotone boards, incentivizing you to bet with what is likely the best hand. Add money to the pot and bet a small size before the board gets worse for you.
Action: You bet 400 and your opponent check-raises 1,000.
Responding To The Check-Raise
By check-raising for barely more than the minimum, your opponent has made your decision easy. While they could have flopped a flush, they could also just be on a draw, which means your pocket aces could still very well be good. Take the great odds your opponent is offering you and make the call.
Action: You call. The turn is the 6♣ and your opponent leads out for 1,300.
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A Paired Board On The Turn
The Pot: 3,300
The Board: K♦-T♦-6♦-6♣
Effective Stack: 93 Big Blinds Effective
While the 6♣ on the turn may seem inconsequential, it actually adds some merit to executing a raise. Your opponent has some two pairs in their range, the most likely being K-10. With the second six on the turn, you had now counterfeited any two pairs they may have.
Much like on the flop, the bet sizing of your opponent continues to provide you with easy decisions. If your opponent is on a flush draw, they are still behind your aces, being offered the proper pot odds this is a standard and easy call.
Action: You call, the river is the 3♥ and your opponent leads out for 3,000.
Facing Further Aggression On The River
The Pot: 5,900
The Board: K♦-T♦-6♦-6♣-3♥
Effective Stack: 86 Big Blinds Effective
Continuing to bet for too small of sizings, your opponent has yet again provided you with the proper odds to call. There are a plethora of value hands in your opponent’s range that you beat, they have a number of paired king combos that would play in this fashion. With the proper odds and a lot of flush draws missing, this call is a slam dunk.
You make the call, and your opponent reveals A♦-J♠. Your opponent could have very well bluffed you off of the better hand if they had bet more polarized, but their mistake ended up turning into your reward. Take the lessons from this hand analysis and work on applying them to your own game, if you enjoyed this article, be sure to check out this hand breakdown by Evan Jarvis.