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Surprise finding! Pot raising AA utg


Lowest level
Blinds 2,5
Aggression level - more than normal

Challenge: play 50 hands utg raising pot
Results: won 14 buyins
Notable hands:
Lost to a couple sets
Was check/raise bluffed off my hand twice
My strat is always raise AA whatever the
Action in front or behind. For some reason I predicted that raising pot would be the least profitable. Surprise! Pot raising AA was the most profitable by a long way. I did win 20 buyins limping AA with normal aggression setting. With aggression level raised Hero won about 11 buyins on average. 14 buyins vs 11 buyins is a huge difference of an additional 28% profit!
When raising pot there are fewer callers, with different hand types. ( i had peek at end checked) Villans call with pairs, broadways, and Ax mostly. With the raise hero folds out most junk hands. Thus villans take these hands far. AA good vs QQ with low flop and so on.
The series does have the variable of my decisions. However I kept it simple: only fold to a 3bet & 4bet over my cbet.

Always raise AA for value and to thin the field. Don't get tricky.
I hope my AA challenge series helped someone. If not, I had fun anyway.)

Good luck, HighFive


  • boxjump

    I see it time and time again people flatting opens with AA and overall winning small pots and busting to hands that could not play against a 3 bet ..seems to be general strat in small stakes casino games.. not sure why?

  • highfive

    @boxjump I see it often too. Hopefully my series will help players understand the best way to play it.
    I had a friend in a vegas tourney who called AA in late position to
    " try to make some money " with his aces. Then he was lamenting his bad luck after his bad beat. I told him AA is not the fav 4 way or more. It still has the most singular equity but the aggregate equity of the other players is higher. Thus he gave up the strength of his hand by calling.
    BTW i did a late position challenge, AA from the cutoff. I won 26 buyins in 50 hands! 3betting AA from late position is hugely more profitable.
    As for the reasons, one can only guess. Maybe they're trying to be tricky. Or some think big pots are generated multiway. But as my series proved bigger pots appear when raising AA.
    Thanks for commenting.

  • boxjump

    I have talked to some players who employ the flatting AA strat and I asked them why they do it ...the general answer is that they feel they lose action because everyone folds to their 3 bet..IMO everyone folds because they do not have a wide enough 3 betting range...easy to see from the outside ...I don’t want to let them know how to play tougher against me...

  • 1warlock
    edited May 2018

    IMHO, whatever people tell you about why they employ this tactic, the real reason is because they want to seem clever. Their goal is not to make the most money but to appear as if they are the superior poker player. If you let ego get in the way of making money, you are a recreational player, not a serious one. You see it all the time at tables of recreational players, all trying to trap each other and playing an overall horrible game.

    If you want to incorporate some balance into your game and have AA as a flat, that's ok on occasion, I suppose. However, its a great hand that plays great heads-up and has massive negative implied odds multiway (unless you are really really solid and can release it). The data doesn't lie and the hand is most profitable HU with as much $ getting in the middle as possible pre-flop when playing normal stack depths.

    @boxjump - if I could get into a game where everyone folds to 3-bets, I'd borrow money to get on that table. Heck, rather than flatting their A's, the players you mentioned should be 3-betting mercilessly until the table adapts. Rather than throwing away value, they could be robbing everyone else blind.

    @highfive - awesome challenge! Glad the results showed a clear advantage for playing them strong preflop. Data don't lie :) BTW, do you know what percentage of hands went to showdown and of those how many were all-ins?

  • boxjump

    True true

  • highfive

    @1warlock you make a good point about raising/3bet more often being the correct adjustment rather than calling with AA "cuz they always fold when i raise aces".
    I know b/c I get read as tight everytime I sit. Example: last session I 3bet 5 times. All folded 4 times, 1 caller on the 5th. ) I just continued raising and eventually started to get action.
    I even developed a personal axiom, " i never make money until i get caught bluffing." Once that happens players cant stop calling me. Of course i switch to value betting.
    A cursory review revealed 52,54,54,64 WTS. Raised allin 9 times and called allin 3. Eliminated the first session against " normal " aggression.

    I think i could have improved profitability if I placed a bunch of smallish river value bets say 25 to 40% of pot.

  • 1warlock

    @highfive - I think you have it exactly right. If a player has a 3-bet range only of QQ+, AQ+ then they are crazy easy to exploit if you adapt. Same thing if a player is only betting top pair+ on any given flop. If you want to get paid for your monsters, you have to convince your opponents that you don't always have one. The higher caliber players we face, the more we have to balance our value with our bluffs.

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