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Aces getting cracked. Did I play it right?

Cash Game: Blinds (25/50)

  • UTG (8000 - 160BB ) 
  • UTG+1 (4000 - 80BB)
  • CO (7000 - 140BB)
  • BU (6000 - 120BB)
  • SB (8000 - 160BB)
  • BB (7000 - 140BB)

Preflop: Hero is UTG with AcAh. 

Hero raises to 150, 2 folds, BU calls, SB calls, BB folds. 

Flop (Pot size 500): Kd4s2h

SB checks, Hero bets 300, BU calls, SB raises to 900, Hero calls, BU folds.

Turn (Pot size 2600): 9s

SB bets 1500, Hero raises to 3600, SB calls.

River (Pot size 9800): 6s

SB shoves 3350, Hero calls.

SB shows Kc9h and wins the pot.


Preflop is standard.

The first point to note comes on the flop when the SB check raises. Let's think about what hands he can be doing this with.

SB can be doing this with top pairs. If he is the kind of player who doesn't slowplay his sets, he can be raising with those too. There are not a lot of draws on this board so he is unlikely to have any draws. But just for the sake of discussion, let's give him some backdoor draws like 35ss or A3ss. Also, we assume that SB is not bluffing here with complete air, since when we c-bet, and the BU calls, it shows that at least one of us has to have something. 

Based on this, we can say, we are ahead of some of villain's value range and behind some. Also, we are ahead of his draws. So how should we proceed?

What Hero did was the best option - flatting. The SPR (Stack-Pot Ratio) on the flop is big (~7850/500). In such scenarios when the SPR is high (anything more than 4-5 is high enough), we want to play our top pairs/overpairs cautiously. Because it would be bad to get it all in on the flop when we are more than 150 big blinds deep. Remember, the key to winning at poker is to maximise winnings and minimise losses. So, we want to lose the minimum when we are up against sets. And since we are in position, we can always extract value from worse hands (like Kx) on future streets.

The second point to note is the turn 3bet by Hero. Once the villain check raises, he is no longer representing just top pair. And against that range, we are not doing well. We are behind sets, two pair (K9 and in unlikely cases K4s and K2s which villain decides to play this way). There is still a lot behind in our stack, so we should get into a bluff catching mode. It sounds weird given we have Aces. But aces do get cracked sometimes. And when they do, we want to lose the minimum. So, we should just call on the turn.

The river is bad for us. It brings in the backdoor flush. And when the villain jams, it is a tough spot. It is unlikely the villain is doing this with a hand that we beat - Ak, KQ, KJ, KT. Because the line we took represents a lot of strength which villain is also aware of. So even though we are getting a decent odd to call (2.9 :1 ; i.e. we need to be good 25% of the time), it just feel like a spot where unless the villain is a maniac, he is unlikely to be bluffing. Hero cannot be blamed for calling here given the odds. But, the key was the turn 3bet which should have been avoided to keep the pot smaller, and then the river call would have been much easier to make.

Getting beat when you hold aces (or commonly knows as Getting your Aces cracked) is one of the worst feelings in poker. We hope this analysis improved your understanding of how to play pocket aces in a deep stacked situation.



Prashaste Sinha

Prashaste lives to eat and write. She's our very own homegrown poker sceptic who's gone on to enjoy her stint with poker and loves writing and interviewing people who are passionate about poker and life.