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dougtalesYou need to get value for your hands. Sometimes that means going broke in spectacular ways. In fact, if you do not go broke you probably messed up. Let’s look at a recent hand from one player’s perspective.

Hero: A♠ A♥ UTG at $1-$2 with $200 Opens for $7
Villain: UTG+1 calls

All fold

$17 in the pot, Hero first of two players $193 effective

5♣ 5♠ 9♦

Hero bets $20 with A♠ A♥
Villain calls

$57 in the pot, Hero first of two players $173 effective

5♣ 5♠ 9♦ K♣
Hero checks with A♠ A♥
Villain bets $40
Hero tank calls

$137 in the pot, Hero first of two players $133 effective
5♣ 5♠ 9♦ K♣ 2♦
Hero checks with A♠ A♥
Villain shoves
Hero tank calls

Villain shows 5♦ 5♥ for flopped quads.

Hero was not a sophisticated player. I was Villain. Hero got stacked here, but that is not why I think he played this poorly. Hero was not going for a check-raise on the turn. He was not trying to induce a bluff on the turn and river (evidenced by the fact that he tanked on both check-calls.) He was not protecting his checking range. This player was not capable for any of the more advanced reasons you might use to justify the passive play.

What he was doing is allowing a ton of second best hands to not pay him off. Can I, or other players in this spot, have a King on the turn? Sure we can. There are strong Kings and weak Kings.

We might have a strong King like Ace King (We might not three-bet a nitty UTG raiser in this spot) there are good two pair Kings like K9s. These hands should value-own themselves in this spot and go broke to the Aces and Fives. Even though they should, they often will not.

The real concern is the missed value versus weak Kings like K♦ J♦. By checking the turn and river the Aces denied the KdJd the opportunity to stack off to his Aces. It is very realistic that KdJd bets the turn and checks the river. If the Aces bet the turn and shove the river, this K♦ J♦ is often going to the felt. Maybe AKs would only bet the turn and check behind on the river. Again this is a huge value loss for the Aces.


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Go out and get paid more when you are ahead. Value-owning yourself is just a natural consequence of a more aggressive style. It is a cost of doing business, but all those times AA stacks a King on this board pay for the times he would barrel into unicorns like trips, boats and in this run out, quads.

Should this guy feel bad about stacking off with Aces to quads? Yes, but only because he went down calling not by betting.

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