Category: Poker Hand Scenarios

Poker Quiz! Trip Kings Facing a Check-Raise, What Do You Do?

Trip Kings Facing a Check-Raise

DECISION POINT: In a live $1/$2 game it folds to the Cutoff player who raises to $5. You reraise to $15 from the Button with K♣Q♣ and only the Cutoff calls. The flop is K♥T♣3♠ and your c-bet of $16 gets called. The turn is the K♦ and the Cutoff checks. You bet $32, your opponent check-raises to $96, and action is on you.

What do you do here?

PRO ANSWER: In a $1/$2 cash game we are dealt KQs on the Button. Action folds around to the Cutoff who raises to $5. Our specific hand is an excellent candidate to reraise on the Button here, as it is ahead of Cutoff’s likely hand range and plays very well heads up in position. We reraise to $15 and the Cutoff is the only caller.

The flop is KhTc3s and the Cutoff checks. We flop top pair with a good kicker and a backdoor flush and straight draw. This flop also significantly favors the preflop raiser’s range over the preflop caller’s range so this is an excellent spot to continuation bet. Given our range advantage and our hand’s lack of vulnerability since we block QJ which is the most significant drawing hand here, a purely game theory optimal (GTO) strategy would have us c-betting closer to ⅓ pot. We elect to use a slightly larger sizing of $16, or closer to half pot, and our opponent flat calls.

The turn is the Kd giving us three of a kind and the Cutoff checks again. AK is likely not a significant part of Villain’s range here as most players would have reraised preflop, so we’re well ahead of many of their hands and really only behind KTs/TT/33 that they may have played the hand this way. We bet $32 and the Cutoff check-raises to $96.

Continued below ...

Now, realistically the most likely hands that beat us here are KTs (2 combinations remaining), plus TT and 33 (3 combinations each). Based on these assumptions that means we are currently behind 8 of the combinations in the Cutoff’s likely range. Our opponent could also be doing this with a hand like KJ (8 combinations).

Although realistically they may only play the suited versions here, slow played pocket AA (6 combinations), the remaining KQ hands we don’t hold (3 combinations), and the occasional bluff. We can discount some of the KJ combinations given the Cutoff is unlikely to play all the offsuit versions. Additionally we can discount some AA combinations as they would elect to reraise preflop with some frequency. This decision is actually much closer than it appears on the surface, even though we have 3 of a kind and a strong kicker.

Since our hand is very close when up against the Cutoff’s value raising range here, if we continue it is very important to allow our opponent to keep bluffing with AJ/AQ/QJ type hands in their range.

If we go all-in here the Cutoff may fold some bluffs that they would potentially shove the river with if we continue by calling the check-raise, costing us value. When we’re behind in this situation our opponent is unlikely to fold to aggression if we do take that round.

Trip Kings is too strong to fold in this spot, so proceeding in a way which allows our opponent to get the rest of their money in with the widest range possible is best.We should call this check-raise on the turn, with the plan of calling any bet on the river as well.

Calling is the best play.

How would you play it?
Share your answer in the comments below!


LearnWPT-Poker-Training

Train → Play → Think → Like a Pro

We created LearnWPT with the goal to provide a place that empowers players to ask questions, help get them focused, and provide a solid game-plan to bring to the table every time they sit down.

Some of the ways we accomplish this is by:

  • Teaching and presenting examples of proven, winning concepts through our Strategy Episodes (short 10-15 min videos)
  • Having Members Practice, Drill, and Play Hands using the WPT GTO Trainer for instant feedback on their decisions
  • Providing a place where Members can send questions to receive answers and guidance with the Ask a Pro Forums
  • Giving Members the ability to record and send hands they've played to receive expert analysis using the Hand Input Tool


Not a Member?
Click below to join (just $5 your first month) and start improving your game today!


Poker Quiz! Pocket Eights Facing an All-In, What Do You Do Here?

Pocket Eights Facing an All-In Online


DECISION POINT:
In an online Tournament with blinds at 500/1,000 and a 1,000 big blind ante you are dealt 8♣8♠ in the Cutoff seat. Stacks at the table range from 10BBs to just over 40BBs. The early position players fold, the MP1 player open shoves for 15,000 (15BBs) and action is on you with 21BBs behind.

What do you do here?

PRO ANSWER: We are in the middle stages of a major Sunday online tournament. The blinds are 500/1,000 with a 1,000 big blind ante. The stacks range from 10 big blinds to just over 40. We are dealt black eights in the cutoff and it folds to MP1 who open shoves for 15,000.! Everyone else folds and action is on us.

When analyzing spots like this after the fact, we should approach from two perspectives. First, we should estimate MP1 range and how our hand performs against that range, much like we would in real-time at the table. Second, we should double check our estimate in real-time by running the spot in a solver to see what things look like when both players are using optimal ranges.

Studying in this way allows us to exercise our brain in the same way that we will use at the table, and then either reinforce our thoughts with the solver or discover any errors.

If the decision was wrong in real-time we can determine if this is a fundamental leak and what adjustments need to be incorporated to our game plan. If the opponent was likely shoving different ranges than the solvers suggest which may often be the case, then we can consider the merits of making an exploitative adjustment against our real life foes.

A primary consideration is whether MP1 has a non all-in raising range here. It’s likely at this stack size that they would raise a more standard sizing and not just move all-in with AA/KK and some of their other biggest hands.

Continued below...

Given this we can assume that MP1 is likely to have a capped range that includes many suited broadway hands, some big Ax hands, and some middle pairs. The key factor we need to assess is if MP1 will ever move all-in with pocket pairs lower than 88 or Ax combinations where their kicker is lower than 8.

In real-time we thought it was possible our opponent is capable of shoving as light as 77, but 66 or less and A8s or worse seemed unlikely so we chose to fold.

Through post hand analysis using a Game Theory Optimal Solver we can see that if MP1 is splitting their range properly the all-in range will include 66-99, A8s-AJs, AKo, KJs, KTs, QTs+. The range of hands that prefers to raise a standard amount first-in at 15BB blinds includes a mix of stronger hands (TT+/AQs+), some smaller suited Ax combinations, and offsuit broadway hands. Against the specific all-in range provided by the Solver we see that 88 has a +550 chip (+.55 BB) expectation. This means that against an opponent using GTO ranges we should be calling, although the decision is still very close.

In real world situations many players might shove hands such as TT/JJ, especially as they don’t want to encourage action and have to play postflop. If MP1 was the type of opponent to use this larger sizing with medium pairs that may be vulnerable on overcard flops then this spot would quickly become a fold. We would also have an easier call if we were in the Blinds with fewer players behind yet to act.

Against a GTO opponent, calling is the best play. Against specific opponents shoving narrower ranges or higher pairs, you could make an exploitative fold.

How would you play it?
Share your answer in the comments below!


Train Play Think Like a Pro

LearnWPT-Membership-Features

We created LearnWPT with the goal to provide a place that empowers players to ask questions, help get them focused, and provide a solid game-plan to bring to the table every time they sit down.

Some of the ways we accomplish this is by:

  • Teaching and presenting examples of proven, winning concepts through our Strategy Episodes (short 10-15 min videos)
  • Having Members Practice, Drill, and Play Hands using the WPT GTO Trainer for instant feedback on their decisions
  • Providing a place where Members can send questions to receive answers and guidance with the Ask a Pro Forums
  • Giving Members the ability to record and send hands they've played to receive expert analysis using the Hand Input Tool


Not a Member?
Join today for just $5 your first month and start improving your game!


Poker Quiz! A♥K♥ Preflop Vs a Limp & Raise, What Do You Do?

AK Preflop Vs a Limp and Raise-optimzd

DECISION POINT: You are in a large field online tournament with blinds at 100/200 and a 25 ante. An Early Position player limps, it folds around to the Cutoff who raises to 600, and the Button calls. Action is on you in the Small Blind with A♥K♥.

What do you do here?

PRO ANSWER: We are in a large field online tournament with blinds of 100/200 and a 25 ante and are dealt AhKh in the Small Blind. The Under the Gun player open limps for 200 and everyone folds to the Cutoff who raises to 600. The Button calls 600 and action is on us.

Our hand is likely way ahead of our opponents’ ranges here. The UTG limp is potentially a wide range and the Cutoff could easily be trying to isolate and get heads up in position with a wide range of their own. By limping behind the Button is encouraging more calls so it’s unlikely, but not impossible, that they have a premium hand and therefore have a capped range. The main question here isn’t if we raise, but what amount should we raise to.

Default in this spot would be three times the raise amount plus the call amount, or 2,400 chips. The issue is that two of the players involved have 5,000-6,000 chips.

Continued below ...

It’s important to be aware of when you are reaching the pot commitment threshold, a point at which you have enough chips in the pot that you are committed to continuing with your hand no matter what. For most players this threshold range is 25-40% of your remaining stack, with ⅓ stack as a standard amount.

With just under 9,000 chips to start the hand we are dangerously close to that amount and a raise amount of 2,400 chips would be in excess of the commitment threshold for two of our opponents remaining in the hand.

The amount already in the middle is also over 1,900 chips, an approximately 20% increase to our stack. Taking the pot down right here, right now without a showdown is a very good outcome.

Even if we don’t manage to take down an uncontested pot with our shove, getting heads up against a single opponent with lots of dead money in the pot and a top 5 starting hand is still a great result.

Moving all-in is the best play.

How would you play it?
Share your answer in the comments below!


Improve Your Game Today!
Join LearnWPT and Get:

LearnWPT-Multiple-Devices

  • The WPT GTO Trainer to play real solved hands and get instant feedback on YOUR leaks (over 4 BILLION solved spots!)
  • On-demand access to our full library of 500+ (and growing) in-depth Strategy Episodes from world-class players
  • All of your poker questions answered with the Ask a Pro Feature
  • Expert analysis from LearnWPT Pros using The Hand Input Tool
  • Community Forums to discuss all things poker with fellow LearnWPT Members
  • Downloadable Tools you can use at and away from the tables


To join (just $5 your 1st month) click the JOIN NOW button and start improving your game!


Have Questions about LearnWPT?
Email us at [email protected].


Poker Quiz! Q♠Q♥ In a Satellite to the WPT World Championship

In a Satellite to the WPT World Championship with QQ-optmzd

DECISION POINT: You are playing a milestone satellite to the $40 Million guaranteed WPT World Championship Main Event at Wynn Las Vegas with blinds at 50/100 and a 100 big blind ante. You are in the Small Blind with Q♠Q♥ and 4,600 chips (46BBs). An Early Position player limps, a visibly frustrated player in the MP2 seat makes it 300, the Button flat calls, and action is on you.

What do you do here?

PRO ANSWER: We are in the second level of a milestone satellite into the $40M guaranteed WPT World Championship at Wynn Las Vegas. The blinds are 50/100 with a 100 big blind ante and we have 4,600 chips in the Small Blind with Q♠Q♥.

MP2 has been active and recently frustrated by some tough spots, even tossing his cards aggressively toward the dealer in one instance. The UTG player limps and everyone folds to MP2 who makes it 300. The Hijack and Cutoff fold, the Button flat calls, and action is on us.

Queens are well ahead of MP2’s and Button’s ranges which makes folding out of the question. Calling is likely profitable but we’d be most likely to take a flop 4-ways, which can be quite problematic for a hand that is likely to make one-pair in a multiway pot. So in this instance if we are favoring a raise, what is the best size to use in this spot given our positional disadvantage?

Continued below ...

WPT Championship at Wynn

The standard raise in this situation is 3x the initial raise plus any call amounts. In this scenario that works out to 900 + 300 + 100 or 1300 chips. Given our positional disadvantage, using a slightly larger raise size in the 1400-1500 chip range would be standard. The issue with adjusting to larger sizing to accommodate for the positional disadvantage is that we have committed one third of our stack.

That could remove any illusion of fold equity our opponents have and inadvertently force them to play better versus our hand by not bluffing against us. If we bet a little smaller, for example a sizing of around 1150, we create the illusion of fold equity if MP2 or the other 2 opponents want to shove. The smaller sizing also creates a really good price for a squeeze with some of our bluffs here to ensure balanced range with other hands in this same spot.

If the table was quite soft there is also merit to just moving all-in preflop. This would not be the default play, but if you’re at a soft table where chips are coming easy, moving all-in can sometimes induce some light calls from smaller pairs hoping to be racing against AK. The shoving line, while also a little lower variance, is at the expense of some EV as opponent calling ranges vs the large shove size will be more narrow.

Reraising small to 1,150 is the best play.

How would you play it?
Share your answer in the comments below!


Improve Your Game Today!
Join LearnWPT and Get:

LearnWPT-Multiple-Devices

  • The WPT GTO Trainer to play real solved hands and get instant feedback on YOUR leaks (over 4 BILLION solved spots!)
  • On-demand access to our full library of 500+ (and growing) in-depth Strategy Episodes from world-class players
  • All of your poker questions answered with the Ask a Pro Feature
  • Expert analysis from LearnWPT Pros using The Hand Input Tool
  • Community Forums to discuss all things poker with fellow LearnWPT Members
  • Downloadable Tools you can use at and away from the tables


To join (just $5 your 1st month) click the JOIN NOW button and start improving your game!


Have Questions about LearnWPT?
Email us at [email protected].


Poker Quiz! K♣K♦ On an Ace High Board, What Do You Do?

KK On an Ace High Board


DECISION POINT:
In a live $2/$5 cash game you’ve just moved to a new table and have no specific reads. The action folds to you in Middle Position with K♣K♦ and you open with a raise to $15. Everyone folds to the Big Blind who calls. Your opponent checks the A♠Q♠9♦ flop, you continuation bet $25 and get called. The Big Blind leads $40 on the 2♥ turn and action is on you.

What do you do here?

PRO ANSWER: We are playing in a live $2/$5 cash game. We are new to the table with no reads and the effective stacks are 100BBs. We raise first-in to $15 with KcKd in MP2 (often referred to as the Lojack) and everyone folds to the Big Blind who is the only caller.

The flop is AsQs9d and the Big Blind checks. This is a flop where we have a tremendous range advantage as the preflop raiser. It is unlikely our opponent has AK/AQ or premium pairs such as AA/QQ, as they would reraise those hands preflop at a high frequency. We on the other hand can have all those premium combinations plus other types of hands in our middle position raising range such as 99, A9s, and Q9s.

If we were to consider a checking range on this flop it should favor some of the weaker Ax hands and KK, however defaulting to continuation betting our entire range in this spot is favorable. Taking a closer look we can analyze this hand with a solver which confirms our assumption of a mix between checking and betting with KK specifically, with the overwhelming majority of the remaining combinations preferring to continuation bet this flop.

Continued below...


We bet $25 and the Big Blind calls. The turn is the 2h and the Big Blind leads into us for $40. This strategy of check/calling the flop and then leading the turn is typically only utilized by the Big Blind when an equity changing card falls on the turn. In the case of this specific flop the 2h shouldn’t really change anything.

Reviewing the recommended actions for our opponent based on a solver, the only hand the Big Blind is supposed to have that could potentially lead here is 5s4s. Against human opponents on draw heavy flops like this one, certain opponents may call the flop then lead with medium strength hands on a “safe” card that doesn’t complete draws on the turn when they believe they could be ahead.

While that perceived leading range does include some Ax type hands, it also contains many Qx and 9x combos that might be attempting to buy a cheap showdown as well. Considering the Big Blind’s range as a whole and how it interacts with this board, our pocket Kings have far too much equity to fold getting nearly 4:1.

Calling is the best play.

How would you play it?
Share your answer in the comments below!


Improve Your Game Today!
Join LearnWPT and Get:

LearnWPT-Multiple-Devices

  • The WPT GTO Trainer to play real solved hands and get instant feedback on YOUR leaks (over 4 BILLION solved spots!)
  • On-demand access to our full library of 500+ (and growing) in-depth Strategy Episodes from world-class players
  • All of your poker questions answered with the Ask a Pro Feature
  • Expert analysis from LearnWPT Pros using The Hand Input Tool
  • Community Forums to discuss all things poker with fellow LearnWPT Members
  • Downloadable Tools you can use at and away from the tables


To join (just $5 your 1st month) click the JOIN NOW button and start improving your game!


Have Questions about LearnWPT?
Email us at [email protected].


4-Betting With J♥J♦ in a WSOP Event, What Do You Do Here?

4-Betting with JJ in a WSOP Event


DECISION POINT:
You are in a large field WSOP bracelet event with blinds at 1,000/1,500 with a 1,500 big blind ante. A very loose UTG player who has been opening 50% of hands (showing down hands such as offsuit connectors and Ax from all positions) min-raises to 3,000. The UTG+1 player 3-bets to 4,500 and you 4-bet to 15,000 from MP2 with J♥J♦. The Button calls, the original raiser folds, the UTG+1 player makes it 65,000, and action is on you.

What do you do here?

PRO ANSWER: We are in a large field WSOP event shortly after the dinner break. The blinds are 1,000/1,500 with a 1,500 big blind ante. The UTG player has been playing wildly, opening and 3-betting an estimated 50% of hands, showing down hands such as offsuit connectors and Ax hands from all positions. We are dealt JhJd in MP2 and the loose, wild UTG player makes a minimum raise to 3,000. The UTG+1 player then 3-bets to 4,500 and it folds to us.

Under normal circumstances an UTG raise and an UTG+1 reraise would make us think twice about playing our jacks. Given the tendencies of the UTG player though it is quite likely that the UTG+1 player would make a small isolation raise with a much wider range than normal in an attempt to isolate the UTG player’s wide range and play heads up in position.

With so many players left to act it’s unlikely they are isolating with a super loose range, but they could easily be isolating with the top 15% or so of hands and our jacks are well ahead of that range. We 4-bet to 15,000 and action folds to the Button who just flat calls our raise. Everyone else (including the wild UTG player) folds and then the UTG+1 player 5-bets to 65,000!

Continued below...

WSOP-Team-LearnWPT-Success-300x250

While UTG+1 might isolate the UTG player with a wide range, to 5-bet after we 4-bet and the Button cold call is likely a VERY narrow range, something like QQ+/AK. If we knew that the Button would fold 100% of the time we would have around 36% equity against the UTG range.

The raise is effectively all-in because if we elect to continue in the hand neither player should ever fold a future street, barring extreme circumstances like exposed cards. If we evaluate this as an all-in situation then we’d be calling 73,500 to win 125,500, which is a little worse than 2:1 odds.

If we knew the Button would fold 100% of the time this decision would be incredibly close assuming the assessment of our opponent’s ranges are accurate. However, given we can’t be certain the Button will fold, we have to consider a possible slowplay with a big hand that would have us dominated.

It feels bad to 4-bet and fold, but our jacks are in bad shape against a likely very narrow range from UTG+1.

Folding is the best play.

How would you play it?
Share your answer in the comments below!


LearnWPT-Poker-Training

Train → Play → Think → Like a Pro

We created LearnWPT with the goal to provide a place that empowers players to ask questions, help get them focused, and provide a solid game-plan to bring to the table every time they sit down.

Some of the ways we accomplish this is by:

  • Teaching and presenting examples of proven, winning concepts through our Strategy Episodes (short 10-15 min videos)
  • Having Members Practice, Drill, and Play Hands using the WPT GTO Trainer for instant feedback on their decisions
  • Providing a place where Members can send questions to receive answers and guidance with the Ask a Pro Forums
  • Giving Members the ability to record and send hands they've played to receive expert analysis using the Hand Input Tool


Not a Member?
Click below to join (just $5 your first month) and start improving your game today!



Poker Quiz! J♦J♣ at the Final Table, What Do You Do Here?

JJ at the Final Table-optmzd


DECISION POINT:
You are dealt J♦J♣ in the Big Blind at WPT Gardens Poker Championship final table with blinds at 5,000/10,000 and 3 players. The Button folds, the Small Blind raises to 33,750 and you reraise to 100,000. The Small Blind goes all-in and action is on you.

What do you do here?

PRO ANSWER: We are at the final table of the WPT Gardens Poker Championship with only 3 players left! We have the chip lead with nearly 775,000 chips while the other stacks are approximately 700,000 chips and 311,000 chips respectively.

We have position on the second biggest stack which puts us in a great spot. Since we have the Small Blind covered they are constantly under threat of busting out third before the shorter stack any time they play a pot with us. This gives us tremendous leverage making both floating and 3-betting light preflop great tools to accumulate chips in this spot. If the Small Blind is adjusting appropriately they should be entering fewer pots with a narrower range in this situation and potentially 4-betting a bit lighter to try and take advantage of our likely wider 3-betting range.

We are dealt pocket jacks in the Big Blind and the Button folds. The Small Blind then raises to 33,750 and action is on us. We’re already in a situation where we are often 3-betting lighter than normal to exploit our chip advantage, so the fact that we have a top 5 starting hand in this spot is a huge bonus. Even though the Small Blind should be opening a bit narrower against us pocket jacks should still be well ahead of their starting range. We 3-bet to 100,000 and the Small Blind shoves all-in.

In situations like this it is often best to start by analyzing the best and worst case scenarios. The worst case scenario here is that our opponent is moving all-in with an extremely narrow range for this situation with hands such as TT+/AK. In that situation, we will be all-in for a slightly over 1.4 million chip pot with 43% equity. This means that on average we will end up with around 677,000 chips (the 73,000 we have Small Blind covered by plus 43% of the 1.4 million chip pot).

Continued below ...

Folding in this spot leaves us with 673,000 chips, so even in the worst case scenario we end up with a positive expectation of around 4,000 chips. This doesn’t tell the whole story because chips we win in tournaments are often worth less than chips we lose due to the way tournament payout structures work. In reality if we use ICM calculations here there is probably a slight real dollar loss. Doing these calculations in our head at the table would be quite difficult however we can estimate our equity is somewhere between 40-45% vs a narrow range with dead money in the pot.

Our best case scenario is that the Small Blind recognizes we are 3-betting light and their value 4-betting range goes up to something like 66+/AQ+ with some suited Ace-wheel cards. We’ll say A5s and A4s for our estimate. In that case our equity increases to a 58% favorite with dead money in the pot which is a tremendous situation for us.

So the best case scenario here is quite good and the worst case scenario isn’t all that bad as even when we lose we have over 7BBs to try and rebuild our stack.

If we had some sort of specific read that we could just walk all over these two players with complete impunity and gain chips with relative ease we could make a case for passing this spot up and continuing to chip up without a big all-in confrontation. Absent that specific information this is just too good a spot for us to pass up.

Calling is the correct play.

How would you play it?
Share your answer in the comments below!


Improve Your Game Today!
Join LearnWPT and Get:

LearnWPT-Multiple-Devices

  • The WPT GTO Trainer to play real solved hands and get instant feedback on YOUR leaks (over 4 BILLION solved spots!)
  • On-demand access to our full library of 500+ (and growing) in-depth Strategy Episodes from world-class players
  • All of your poker questions answered with the Ask a Pro Feature
  • Expert analysis from LearnWPT Pros using The Hand Input Tool
  • Community Forums to discuss all things poker with fellow LearnWPT Members
  • Downloadable Tools you can use at and away from the tables


To join (just $5 your 1st month) click the JOIN NOW button and start improving your game!


Have Questions about LearnWPT?
Email us at [email protected].


Approaching the Bubble With A♠A♣, what do you do here?

Approaching the Bubble With AA

DECISION POINT: You are in a multi-table tournament where blinds are 3,000/6,000 with a 6,000 big blind ante. There are 13 players left and 9 places paid. The action folds to you in the Cutoff with A♠A♣ and your raise to 15,000, the Button folds and both the Big Blind and Small Blind call. Your opponents check the Q♦J♥T♣ flop and action is on you. What do you do here?

PRO ANSWER: We are in the mid to late stages of a multi-table tournament. There are 13 players left and 9 places are paid with a fairly standard, top heavy payout structure. The blinds are 3,000/6,000 with a 6,000 big blind ante. We are dealt AsAc in the Cutoff six handed and preflop the action folds to us.

At this particular table, smaller raises are frequently being called in multiple spots. Even though making it 12,000 is normally a fairly standard raise in this spot, we decide to raise to 15,000 in the moment and get called by both the Small Blind and Big Blind.

The flop is QdJhTc and both players check. This is a very coordinated board that often connects with the Blinds’ calling ranges. The issue we are facing is that we only have 95,000 chips and the Small Blind only 41,000 chips and there is 51,000 in the pot.

With a stack to pot ratio of less than 2, an overpair to the board, and a potential draw to a straight we have a situation where we really aren’t deep enough to ever fold here. However, our hand is also quite vulnerable to many of the types of hands the Blinds would call with and in some cases we are even behind on this flop.

Continued below ...

If we were much deeper stacked there could be a case for playing this hand a little more cautiously, but at this stack depth we really have to go with our hand and we can still extract a lot of value from KQ/KJ/KT/T9s/Q9s/J9s type hands.

The Blinds are also quite likely to have reraised preflop with AK/QQ/JJ/TT so most of the hands where we are really crushed shouldn’t be in their range,aside from 98s and if they call really loose perhaps some K9s. When we are behind it’s often against two-pair hands where we will have 9 outs on the flop and often when we miss the turn we pick up 3 additional outs to improve to higher two-pair.

Normally we would continuation bet a little on the higher side here to protect our hand but with the Small Blind’s shorter stack we can bet 20,500. If the Small Blind were to shove it technically reopens the betting which would allow us to shove over the top should the Big Blind decide to call.

This sizing adjustment may seem minor, however it avoids the awkward situation of us betting 30,000 and the Small Blind shoving that can entice the Big Blind to call. In that case we would have no option other than to call and then face the additional potential complication of an eight, nine, or some other action killing card coming off on the turn that will make our decision even more difficult.

Bet sizing must be a critical area of focus in order to improve your game, and in this spot the precision of your bet sizing will make a huge difference.

Betting half the Small Blind’s stack is the best play.

How would you play it?
Share your answer in the comments below!


Improve Your Game Today!
Join LearnWPT and Get:

LearnWPT-Multiple-Devices

  • The WPT GTO Trainer to play real solved hands and get instant feedback on YOUR leaks (over 4 BILLION solved spots!)
  • On-demand access to our full library of 500+ (and growing) in-depth Strategy Episodes from world-class players
  • All of your poker questions answered with the Ask a Pro Feature
  • Expert analysis from LearnWPT Pros using The Hand Input Tool
  • Community Forums to discuss all things poker with fellow LearnWPT Members
  • Downloadable Tools you can use at and away from the tables


To join (just $5 your 1st month) click the JOIN NOW button and start improving your game!


Have Questions about LearnWPT?
Email us at [email protected].


LearnWPT Poker Hands of the Month - Playing Aces

Aces-Canva

Ok, so you know Pocket Aces are the best hand you can be dealt preflop...

BUT do you know:

➟ When to hold 'em?

➟ When to fold 'em?

➟ When to walk away?

➟ When to run?

Practice your decision-making skills with everyone's favorite hand by reviewing this collection of Poker Hand examples featuring the illustrious "pocket rockets":

A♠A♦ on the Turn

In a Cash Game, you raise from Under the Gun with A♠A. It folds around to the Small Blind who calls. The Big Blind folds. The Flop comes K♣26♠. The Small Blind checks, you bet, the Small Blind raises. You call. The Turn is the 9. The Small Blind checks.

🡆 Do you Check or Bet?

AA on the Turn - updated
Poker-Hand-CTA-Check-Bet


A♠A♥ vs a Flop Check-Raise

In this cash game scenario a UTG+2 player calls, you raise from the hijack seat with A♠A, it folds around to UTG+2 who calls your raise. The flop comes 269♠, the UTG+2 player checks, you bet, and UTG+2 check-raises.

🡆Would you fold, call or reraise?

AA vs Flop check-raise - updated
Poker-Hand-CTA-Fold-Call-Reraise


A♦A♥ on the River

In a Tournament, you are dealt AA in an early position and you raise. It folds around to the Big Blind who calls. The Flop comes Q♣Q5♠. The Big Blind checks, you bet, and the Big Blind calls. The Turn is the T. The Big Blind checks and you check behind. The River is the Q♠. The Big Blind checks, you bet, and the Big Blind raises All-In.

🡆What do you do here?

AA on the River - updated
Poker-Hand-CTA-Fold-Call


Trip Aces vs a River Bet

In a Tournament, the UTG player raises preflop, MP2 calls, you call with A♣5♣ and the other players fold. The flop comes AA4♣. UTG and MP2 check and you bet. UTG calls and MP2 folds. The turn is the K. UTG checks, you bet, and UTG calls. The river is the Q♠, and UTG shoves all-in.

🡆Action is on you, what do you do?

Trip Aces vs River Bet - updated
Poker-Hand-CTA-Fold-Call


Set of A♠A♣ vs a Check-Raise

In a Cash Game, UTG+1 calls and so does UTG+2, both Middle Position players, and the Hijack. You are in the Cutoff seat with A♠A♣. You raise and it folds around to MP1 who calls. All other players fold and it’s heads up to the flop, which comes KA7. MP1 checks and you bet. MP1 raises. Facing this raise from MP1, what is your play?

🡆Do you fold, call, raise or go all-in?

AA vs a check-raise - updated
Poker-Hand-CTA-Fold-Call-Raise-All-in


When playing a poker hand, it's very important to look at all the hands in your range and not just the hand you hold. Pocket aces are the strongest hand in the game preflop, however sometimes it’s pretty obvious that your hand is behind postflop and you need to be present and engaged enough to know when you are beat and fold.

Understanding and mastering strategies such as fundamental 1-Pair Betting Lines, Relative Hand Strength Postflop, and Pot Odds, will give you the opportunities to exert skill edge against your opponents and play your aces effectively.

The concept of betting lines is crucial to understanding your overall game plan.

A betting line is the plan of actions taken across multiple streets, the blueprint of how to play various types of hands. If you have good betting lines that you use in your game plan, you shouldn't think street by street or find yourself on the turn without a plan for the hand.

Betting-Lines

With 1-Pair hands, specifically a top pair or an over pair, it's important to know when to continuation bet postflop, up against a single opponent and when to take a cautious approach. If you are just focused on the specific hand you hold and not on the situation, you may end up trying to get three streets of value where it's not profitable and find yourself up against much better hands by the time there's a showdown at the river.

Relative hand strength refers to your hand strength changing based on the situation, so your goal should be to start seeing poker situationally and pay attention to the number of opponents that saw the flop with you.

Number of opponents is key to relative hand strength because the more players that see the flop, the stronger the average hand at showdown. You should also pay attention to how coordinated that flop is, for example how many draws are present, how close together and rank those cards are.

Board texture will influence how likely it is that anybody has hit the flop. It’s also very important to note how position can change from preflop to postflop, where from the blinds for example, you can start the hand as last to act preflop but have to act first after the flop.

Stack depth is another crucial factor that you need to consider in every hand that you play, as the deeper the stacks are, the better hand you need to get all your chips in the middle.

Tying all these concepts together, in every single hand that you play postflop you should pay attention to estimate of opponent hand ranges based on actions taken. Note how your opponents played the hand thus far and what type of hand ranges would you put a reasonable opponent on that took those actions.

Lastly, when deciding whether to continue in a hand it’s essential to look at the Pot odds you are being offered in a hand to determine appropriate risk/reward.

Pot odds refers to how much is already in the pot for you to win versus how much you risk in order to win it, or in other words how much is already in the pot compared to how much you have to call in order to continue in the hand. As a quick reference you can always remember that you are facing a one pot-sized bet, the pot odds are 2 to 1, and if the bet is half-pot sized, your pot odds are 3 to 1.

We hope you enjoy these hands and that the strategies you learn will have you singing instead of crying the next time you are dealt the mighty pocket aces.

🗣️🎶 You never count your money when you're sittin' at the table. There'll be time enough for countin' when the dealin's done 🎶

(Sorry we got carried away....)

Keep on practicing!
-LearnWPT

PS: a Membership with LearnWPT is the easiest and fastest way to add more levels of complexity and nuance to your game. Members have access to over 150+ scenarios like this to practice their decision-making skills!


How are these scenarios helping your game?

Post your answers in the comments below.


Poker Quiz! 3♣5♣ Facing a C-Bet, what do you do here?

35-Suited-Facing-a-C-Bet


DECISION POINT:
In a tough Tournament where blinds are 100/200 with a 200 big blind ante it folds to the Cutoff who opens to 500. The Button and Small Blind fold and you call from the Big Blind with 3♣5♣. You check the J♥K♦4♣ flop and your opponent continuation bets 400.

Action is back on you, what do you do here?

PRO ANSWER: We are playing in a multi table tournament with blinds at 100/200 and a 200 big blind ante. The effective stacks are 10,000 chips to start and there are several tough opponents at the table. We are dealt 5c3c in the Big Blind and everyone folds to the Cutoff who opens to 500 chips. Both the Button and the Small Blind fold.

We don’t have a super strong hand here holding 53s preflop, however there are 1,000 chips in the pot and it costs only 300 more for us to call. We’re getting better than 3:1 immediate pot odds against a player with a very wide opening hand range. While we can fold many of the worst hands in our range here including offsuit combos like T2o, 53s is definitely good enough to continue considering the price. We make the call and it’s off to the flop.

The flop is JhKd4c. In this spot with relatively deep stacks in relation to the pot and both players hand ranges being wide, the Cutoff has a significant advantage by being the in position player. As is preferred when defending your blind by calling, we should be checking them with our entire hand range.

Continued Below ...


We check and the Cutoff bets 400 chips. A continuation bet sizing of approximately 1/3rd pot size is common in this scenario and the Cutoff will likely be using this size with a big part of their range. A good approach to countering this strategy of frequent c-betting with a likely wider range is to both do some check-calling to keep their range wide and get to controlled showdowns, and mix in some check-raises.

Our check-raising range should be a mix of some strong hands and some bluffing hands that have backdoor equity to account for the times when we are called. We do have good backdoor equity with 53s holding both a backdoor flush and backdoor straight draw. This board is reasonably coordinated and connects with much of our calling range as well. Taking these factors into consideration, we have a prime opportunity to check-raise and reverse the pressure back onto our opponent.

If we had opponent specific information that the Cutoff in this hand was opening with a much narrower than optimal range preflop, or they c-bet a lower than optimal frequency on the flop our approach would be different. We could make an exploitative fold either preflop or to their standard c-bet sizing on this board texture.

However, against good players who will be opening and continuation betting here appropriately, we must mix in some check-raise bluffs to balance and combat their strategy and this is a perfect opportunity.

Raising is the best play.

How would you play it?
Share your answer in the comments below!


Improve Your Game Today!
Join LearnWPT and Get:

LearnWPT-Multiple-Devices

  • The WPT GTO Trainer to play real solved hands and get instant feedback on YOUR leaks (over 4 BILLION solved spots!)
  • On-demand access to our full library of 500+ (and growing) in-depth Strategy Episodes from world-class players
  • All of your poker questions answered with the Ask a Pro Feature
  • Expert analysis from LearnWPT Pros using The Hand Input Tool
  • Downloadable Tools you can use at and away from the tables
  • Learn from a Team of world-class Professional Players and Instructors


To join (just $5 your 1st month) click the button below and start improving your game!


Have Questions about LearnWPT?
Email us at [email protected].