How To Play Pocket Aces On A Paired Board

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Poker vloggers continue to provide heart pounding content from the tables as their channels grow within the poker YouTube space. Lex O Poker, one of YouTube’s most popular poker vloggers, was surely envisioning lots of views and a profitable pot looking down at two black aces. Making sure the camera saw the pocket aces, Lex O was in for a wild hand facing a loose, splashy opponent.

The Game: $5/$10 NLH
Stack Sizes: 500 Big Blinds Effective
Where: The Wynn – Las Vegas, Nevada

This video comes from Jonathan Little’s YouTube Channel. If you would like to stay up to date with more video content such as this, including hand breakdowns from Hellmuth vs Dwan, Garrett Adelstein, Brad Owen and more, be sure to check out the channel.

Lex O’s Pocket Aces Preflop

Preflop Analysis

Folded to in middle position, Lex O looked down at A♠A♣ before making it $30 to go. Enjoying the two calls behind him, Lex O was delighted to see the splashy player from the small blind three-bet $180. Money signs behind his eyes, Lex O four-bet $510 drawing a call only from the small blind player.

When three-bet preflop by an “action” player, some poker players often make the mistake of trying to slow play their aces. Playing deep stacked, you want to get as much money in the middle as possible when you have a premium hand like pocket aces. By raising the hand and adding value to the pot, you open up opportunities for loose, aggressive players to make mistakes.

Although four-betting was the right play, Lex O could have likely raised for even more considering the two players yet to act and the tendencies of the small blind. Regardless, he was in great shape holding the strongest starting hand in Texas Hold’em.

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A Pair Of Queens On The Flop

The Pot: $1,080
The Board: Q♥-Q♦-9♣
Effective Stack: 449 Big Blinds Effective

Flop Analysis

Heads-up on the flop, the small blind player checked and Lex O returned the favor.

Lex O’s best options in position were to either check or bet small with his aces. Betting large on the queen-paired board would only force weaker hands to fold out, and when called it is likely by a hand holding a queen. Checking allowed Lex O to avoid the check-raise, and it provided his splashy opponent additional opportunities to fire bets on the turn and river.

If Lex O’s opponent was tight and straightforward, a small bet would have been the ideal play, but considering the small blind’s splashy nature, checking was the optimal play.

An Inconsequential Four On The Turn

The Pot: $1,080
The Board: Q♥-Q♦-9♣-4♠
Effective Stack: 449 Big Blinds Effective

Turn Analysis

With the 4♠ not changing much of the board texture, the splashy small blind led out for $600, which Lex O quickly called.

Seeing a turn card that didn’t really impact the board, Lex O was wise to call this small turn bet. Assessing the splashy small blind’s range, there were plenty of hands like pocket jacks and pocket tens they could bet for value. Lex O was wise not to attempt a raise on the turn, as it would have only been called or shoved on by hands containing queens.

A Full Boat On The River?

The Pot: $2,300
The Board: Q♥-Q♦-9♣-4♠-9♦
Effective Stack: 389 Big Blinds Effective

River Analysis

Out of position, the splashy small blind didn’t think twice before moving $2,900 into the middle. A huge overbet out of position was extremely polarizing, but with pocket aces could Lex O really lay such a strong hand down? Citing a lack of hands ahead of him and his two aces blocking ace-queen combos, Lex O threw out three $1,000 chips to make the call.

Given the splashy read Lex O had on his opponent, calling this overbet was the proper play despite the full house getting there on the river. If Lex O had been facing a tight, straightforward poker player this call would have been a blunder, but facing an opponent capable of bluffing, calling with aces was the proper play.

If players in your games are not capable of overbet bluffs, it is okay to lay down the aces, but if you know an opponent is capable of bluffing you must recognize it and make the tough call.

Result: Lex O’s Pocket Aces Get Cracked

Despite playing the hand strategically sound, Lex O’s pocket aces got cracked, whipped, and scrambled by an opponent three-betting preflop with K♣Q♣. It is absolutely brutal when even pocket rockets can’t hold through three streets, but remember most of the time you will see profit when you play aces properly. Although Lex O lost a sizeable pot in this hand, it resulted in a quality video which we appreciate him letting us review. If you enjoyed this footage from Lex O poker, be sure to check out his YouTube channel for even more footage from the felt.

Author: Eileen Gilbert