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Poker Strategy | Beginner's Poker

Poker Plays with Pokerpeaker: Stacking With A-A When You Want A Call

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I'm holding the nuts.


I'm a happy man.

I'm playing .25/.50 on PokerStars, and I've got A-A in early position. No need to get cute here. I raise to $2. I prefer to raise a little more in early position with a big pair, as I really don't want a bunch of callers coming along.

But the button re-raises me to $8.

I'm really not sure if there's a better feeling in poker than being re-raised before the flop when you're holding A-A. I don't even like it nearly as much when I've got K-K because you always have to wonder if you're opponent has the goods and you're getting coolered.

Now how do you get more money in the pot?

Well, here's what I'm doing lately.

I'm just shoving the rest of my chips in the middle.

Why? Well, I play lower stakes Hold 'Em. That's a level typically filled with passive play. And a big result of that is players rarely re-raise, or three-bet, preflop, unless that player has A-A. You might see it with Kings, and you might see it with A-K, and you even might see it with Q-Q. But it's usually Aces.

Since I have Aces, it's doubtful that he has Aces too (though that did happen to me just the other day, and I was actually relieved to see that he did indeed have Aces after a King hit the flop).

The problem is, again, at these levels, if I raise to, say, $24, that leaves me with half my stack, so I'm almost committing myself to the hand. Yet I've also screamed that I have Aces to the group.

A raise like that means "I have Aces and I would like a call, please."

In fact, when an opponent does that to me, and he hasn't three-bet the whole game, I will fold Kings in that spot. I've done it before, and I can't remember the last time I felt bad about it.

BUT if I shove here, it's really hard to know exactly what I'm saying. My range opens up a bit. It's saying I might want a call. But it's also saying I might want a fold, or that I have A-K and want to see all five cards, or that I have K-K and I don't want to play the flop in case an Ace hits.

Plus if he does fold, well, I've won with Aces - which is not always easy to do - and I pick up a decent pot with just a pair. It's really not a bad result.

So I shove the rest of my full stack in. I have him covered. He thinks for a bit and calls.

The board does me no harm, and he turns over K-K, says something whiny in the chat box and leaves me with all his chips.

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