Nasty Spot with Aces

10/20 NLHE at Commerce

UTG opens to 80, I 3bet AA to 220, guy cold calls in CO, UTG calls. I started the hand with about 2000, both of them cover.

Flop (690) JsTx2s

UTG checks, I bet 440, CO calls, and UTG shoves. I decide to call, CO folds, and I end up losing a race with Qs9s.

This is just about the worst flop for my hand in this spot and after thinking about it more I think I prefer a flop check. I expect CO to bet with most of his range, and if UTG check-raises I can get away from the hand without investing any more money. If UTG check-calls or folds, I can check-shove, perhaps representing AK or AQ that was giving up, but now sees an opportunity to bluff.

As played, when UTG shoves, it’s not hard to see that I’m screwed, but it’s also very difficult to fold with so much money in the pot. He should be especially strong here because he was deeper with CO (although not by a lot, he started with <3000), so he certainly can’t shove with impunity here. Even so, I need less than 30% to call profitably. It’s hard to come up with a range that I do that poorly against. For example:

Board: Js 2s Th

Hand 0: 36.217% { AcAd }
Hand 1: 63.783% { JJ-TT, AsKs, AsQs, AsTs, As9s, As8s, KsQs, KsTs, QsTs, Qs9s, JTs, Ts9s, 9s8s }

You could argue that the possibility of the guy behind me waking up with JJ or TT pushes it towards a fold, but I think with that much in the pot it’s just very tough to lay it down. If I was going to get away from the hand, checking the flop was the way to do it. That has the downside of potentially giving a free card, but I think it’s worth it.

Sometimes when I play higher stakes than usual I find it difficult to make big lay downs, even when my analysis indicates I should. There’s some vague fear that I’m being exploited or that this opportunity won’t come again. In this hand I didn’t even get it in bad, but I did put myself in a bad spot against his range, one that I might have avoided if I was really on my game.


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