Getting Lots of Money in With Pocket Aces

Getting Lots of Money in With Pocket Aces

This week's tournament hand involves me getting dealt a big hand preflop, then having to decide how best to get as much in the middle as I could as long as it seemed prudent to do so.

The blinds were 150/300 with a 25 ante, and after picking up {a-Spades}{a-Hearts} under the gun I made it 800 to go from my relatively deep starting stack of about 55,000. It folded around to the small blind who three-bet big to 3,200 with what appeared likely to be a somewhat narrow range of strong hands. I had him well covered as he began with about 35,000.

Given how my opponent's reraise was such a sign of strength, I definitely wanted to go ahead and four-bet and did so to 6,800. Looking back, I would have liked to have reraised even more, but that was fine and my opponent called, making the pot just over 14,000.

The flop came {9-Diamonds}{2-Clubs}{3-Diamonds} and my opponent checked, and I definitely wanted to continuation bet. I bet 5,500 and he called, then the turn brought the {k-Hearts} and another check from my opponent.

Here I bet 5,500 again, the same size bet but smaller relatively speaking (less than a fourth of the pot). I could have gone all in, but as I explain in the video below if I had shoved my opponent was only going to call off (probably) with ace-king or better. My opponent called once more, making the pot just over 36,000 and leaving himself just over 17,000 behind.

The river was the {j-Diamonds}, making the final board {9-Diamonds}{2-Clubs}{3-Diamonds}{k-Hearts}{j-Diamonds}, and the small blind checked one more time. Now my choice was between going all in or checking behind, so I had to think about what hands my opponent would call with that I had beat.

Take a look below to hear my thought process throughout the hand and see how things played out:

After getting a lot of money in on the flop and turn, I chose the cautious route on the river as the board seemed a bit too coordinated for me to continue value betting. What would you have done on the river here?

Jonathan Little is a professional poker player and author with over $6,700,000 in live tournament earnings. He writes a weekly educational blog and hosts a podcast at You can follow him on Twitter @JonathanLittle.

Photo: "Pocket Aces" (adapted), World Poker Tour, CC BY-ND 2.0.

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