Its not hard to slip from following your own rules sometimes. And when you do, it amplifies the importance of identifying the level of player you are up against.

My example is the pocket aces. Im sure youve heard the saying “never fall in love with your hand.” Its true, its very true. Cards are like women. Sometimes you find a hand so very beautiful and promising and you decide you want to get married but in the end they break your heart and take all your money šŸ˜›
Well of course thats not true for all women, or all cards for that matter, but it made for a funny analogy..

But its true, they do say not to get married to your pocket aces, or any hand at all.Ā  A good lay down is just as valuable as anything in poker, and without that discipline one is that much further from playing to the best of their potential. And if youre anything like me, you are uncomfortable letting leaks and weaknesses live in the walls and crawlspaces of your game.

“Its not hard to slip from following your own rules sometimes! And when you do, it amplifies the importance of identifying the level of player you are up against!”

So I got married to my aces the other day and it cost me my chair in the tourney. The tourney begins. Theres a couple of friends chatting to eachother, predicting which one of us will take the other out of the tourney. Theyre talking like theyre more experienced than anyone present, and theyre talking like they arent playing for money, or dont care about losing the buy-in. Theres an underlying sense of ego In the words they are choosing. So I watch carefully for about 4 hands.

The 1st guy is limping in under the gun preflop and going right to a river showdown with Q4hearts. The other guy raised on the button with T6off and won the hand with 2 pair in another showdown. These are signs to me that I can beat them and they are not that strong. Well, after identifying that, I forgot to give them the proper credit, meaning I shouldve expected them to make a poor play with a mediocre hand. But I didnt.

So Im excited because now I have targets. I was going to take their chips first because, because I dont know, because if people refer to being able to take me out and everyone else out at the table because they think they are that good, and hold that much of an ego to chat it and share it and laugh about it, then it becomes that more rewarding to prove them wrong and send them packing with nothing but their own poor play to reflect on. Its about 6 hands in.

I look down at AA. The dealer is to my left one seat, so im in pretty good position too. First to act is the guy with the mouth, the Q4 limper. And what does he do? Well, he limps in of course. Calls 100. The next guy is his buddy and he limps in too. Couple of sharks they are!

Now its to me, theres 350 in the pot, I have about 11000. My raise is to 600. Yes, 600. Why? Cause I know I am going to get some action from atleast one of these douchebags. Thats why.
The dealer folds and now I have superior position with the best starting hand in poker, up against a couple of big talkers. Its quite exciting. The small blind folds. The big blind folds. douche # 1 decides he has a better hand than me and raises. The pot is 950. He pushes the min raise button so I think that became raise to 1100, his partner quickly calls. I contemplate an all in here, and maybe I shouldve, but I felt like they would fold, and that amount of chips to win was not good enough for me (maybe I am the ego one here :P) so that makes the pot 3050 I think, and the action is to me.

I raise it another 2500. Back to the first guy, I guess he didnt think his hand was that good afterall cause he folded after a few seconds, but his partner snapcalls. Now theres close to 8k in the pot, and I have about 8k left. The flop comes 49T. No flush draws. I bet 3k, which in retrospect shouldve been higher, but thats what this blog is about, hindsight, and the ability to have the foresight enough to finish the day without any retrospective regrets. I guess I wanted him to call cause I married my aces and for that 15 seconds it took me to decide what to bet, I believed my hand was invincible. oops. No he didnt have pocket nines or something clever like that, we Identified him as a clown, remember? So he calls. The turn card is an 8.

49T8. He goes all in. Ive got about 5k left and the pot is like 13. I started to put him on hands and the one he seemed to be repping was QJ for the nut straight. It didnt make sense to me at that moment that he would have QJ because 1, who calls two reraises with QJ? especially when the reraiser has position on you. Every single poker book ever written talks about QJ, and describes it as a losing hand. If you flop top pair, you will lose to AQ, and KQ. If you hit a J, you will lose to AJ and even KJ. or QQ for that matter. Its deceiving because it is two high face cards, but anyone will tell you, limp in with it if you can, play it cautiously, play it from the button, or throw it away to begin with. Your best hope to win with QJ at a full table is by hitting a straight, and investing 1/3 of your stack before the flop is even dealt, essentially means you are putting your chips in the middle hoping to end up with a straight without even seeing any of the cards yet.

And any poker book ever written will also tell you the importance of position. Im not going to go into it but jesus christ. I guess a fold was the right move but forgettaboutit, I called and he had QJ. QJ offsuit.

Calls two re-raises with QJ offsuit, out of position 6 hands into a tourney? Might as well be playing super slots at the corner bar, or buying a scratch ticket. Im not going to lose any sleep over this LOL, because thats the game and those are fish, and we love fish šŸ™‚ They have to win hands like that to keep the balance real, and I understand this. It just gives me something to write about in hopes of educating myself and a handful of readers. And something to do while I am folding. When I left the table i read his partner say nice hand, well played. LOL. I thought the hand was rather ugly and the way he played it was horrible, but at the same time I just had my aces cracked so who knows the validity of anything I say šŸ˜‰ But if thats what works for him then thats what works for him, right? guess so.

I mean Im just as guilty for playing my hand wrong too, I mean, not necessarily wrong but, Maybe I shouldve raised higher my second raise, and maybe I shouldve bet higher on the flop, or went all in, and maybe I shouldve played it weaker and minimized my losses, and most importantly, I shouldve absolutely known that he in fact was holding QJoff. I had a read on them two from the start in their manner of speaking to eachother, and it makes perfect sense to me that he would play QJ from that position for that price. But I got married to my aces because I tried to convince myself that he had AT or JT, or 77 or something.

Its an art in poker to find a balance between greed and chance. How much do you want to win here? How much risk will you trade for a bigger pot? I see people raise before the flop with AA, and the flop comes 449rainbow, and they go all in 8000 into a 1200 pot. Its like wow! You really want that 1200? I cant do that. 1200 is not enough, so I trade a little bit of risk to grow the pot, Ill let him have a free card, or bet small so the turn might give him a draw enough to call a nice turn bet. I dont want that puny 1200 pot, I want his whole stack, all the time. And going all in will usually pay IF you can get a caller. But thats not always guaranteed, especially on a 449 flop. The art is getting them to put more chips in the middle without letting them draw or suckout a better hand than you, and that amplifies the importance of identifying who you are up against, and what hands thay are playing. If its a donk, then yes, they probably have QJ in that situation. If its a good player, they probably have KK or QQ and it will pay you off. But they could have 99 too, which in that case, well, theyre just going to have to show me 999and I will lose contently.

Youve all seen that commercial for full tilt poker where the guy peeks at KK and raises it, then the flop comes with 2 aces on it and somebody bets big to the guy with KK, and he throws it away.
What a great commercial, demonstrating the discipline it takes to make it in this game. Its always beautiful to see AA in your hand, but you got to know when to hold em, and know when to fold em, right? Do not get married to a hand unless it is unbeatable, or good enough to put all of your chips in the middle before the flop and take a shot against one caller. Big folds are just as important as big wins