I’m taking this hand from my Cardschat thread where we’ve been studying no-limit holdem with many players. I post responses to a lot of these kinds of hands, and they’re often teachable moments I should document more. So…. I’m posting this one and my response since there’s some good info here.

Party, $4.55 Buy-in (5/10 blinds, 30 ante) No Limit Hold’em Tournament, 8 Players

SB: 3,720 (372 bb)
BB: 3,000 (300 bb)
UTG+2: 3,285 (328.5 bb)
MP1: 2,580 (258 bb)
Hero (MP2): 3,645 (364.5 bb)
MP3: 2,120 (212 bb)
CO: 6,127 (612.7 bb)
BTN: 2,610 (261 bb)

Preflop: Hero is MP2 with A A
UTG+2 calls 10, MP1 folds, Hero raises to 30, 4 folds, BB raises to 200, UTG+2 calls 190, Hero raises to 760, BB calls 560, UTG+2 calls 560

Flop: (2,525) Q K 3 (3 players)
BB bets 2,210 and is all-in, UTG+2 calls 2,210, Hero tank folds not even waiting to see what i do….one of them has it more often than not right…. set of QQ or KK

Turn: (6,945) 2 (2 players, 1 is all-in)
River: (6,945) 7 (2 players, 1 is all-in)

Results: 6,945 pot
Final Board: Q K 3 2 7
BB showed K J and won 6,945 (3,945 net)
UTG+2 showed T J and lost (-3,000 net)
Hero mucked A A and lost (-790 net)


We’re poker players trying to piece together incomplete information so you need to do your best detective work with sometimes very little information. Maybe I should make another “John A” theorm for this one? I’ll call it slow = slow. lol

If someone is going to just call pre and disguise their hand with QQ/KK, they typically aren’t going to then fast play it post flop when they flop big. Even though stack sizes are around pot, you’ll still get a lot of checks. However, when stack does get close to pot, these are the rare times when that logic does differ. But we’re still using our best available info based on the likelihood and making our decision.

Secondly, UTG+2, limp and calling a 4-bet looks like a total fish. You already have AA, it’s doubtful they have either of these sets. It’s much more likely they have some kind of draw based on the fishy play and call. There’s a small chance they could have limp called those hands, but it’s very small. If we had even some basic stats, which I’m sure we do, we’re probably looking at a high VPIP out the gate.

So we’re mostly concerned about BB, and we’re likely looking at Kx, mainly AK which you crush, small percentage KQ/KJ. KQ he’s probably checking most of the time also. It can’t be an AcJc type hand since you have the Ac. So it’s a pretty tight range. If I was going to weight the range, you’re probably pretty far ahead with the price you’re getting.

You’re correct that you don’t want to gamble too early, but sometimes in the right spot you’ll need to, and getting a nice chip stack early can allow you to do a lot of things as the early stages fade out. In the heat of the moment, I know it’s sometimes hard to think through these spots, but try and not think about whether you’re beat or not when you face these situations. Just think about what your opponent is doing and their likely range, and then after that start trying to conclude whether you think you’re ahead or not. I say that because early in my poker career I’d get in situations and immediately think, “crap, no way I’m ahead here.”, and it would block me from really stopping and thinking the hand through.