How to Play Ace High Flops in Three-Bet Pots

World Series Of Poker 2012Learning to play ace-high flops in three-bet pots is a crucial basic strategy in a game of poker.

Imagine that you are playing a $1/2 six-max cash game in the Satellites for WSOP 2012.

Your opponent raises to $6 from the button, and you decide to three-bet from the big blind, making it $20 with [Jh] [Jd], and your opponent calls. The flop is [Ac] [7h] [2s]. What do you do next?

It is important to note that on boards such as this, you should be c-betting 100% of your range, and this includes a pair of jacks.

If you have been showing the propensity to three-bet a lot, then this can still be a bet for value. But more importantly, if you check-call, then you turn your hand face up, and this makes it so much easier for a good opponent to apply pressure.

You also get caught up in something called the reverse bluffing vortex. This is when you start out-thinking yourself. You realise that you could be floated in this spot, and so you call down all three streets, only to see your opponent turn [As] [Ts] for top pair.

So if you are c-betting 100% of flops in these situations, wouldn’t it be safe to assume that your opponents on Betfair Poker are doing likewise? Of course they are, and this is why they create excellent spots to float in position.

When deciding to float, it is always better to choose hands with good equity; this makes barreling the turn much easier, because you still have outs to hit the best hand.

On the [Ac] [7h] [2s] example, a hand such as [Kc] [8c] gives you a backdoor flush draw, thus making it a great choice to float.

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Pocket Pairs in Poker

Once you have mastered the basics of when to raise pocket pairs, pre-flop, you need to consider how you should play them when someone raises in front of you.

The first thing to consider is where on the poker table the raise has come from. Is the player in early or late position? After that, you need to assess what type of player the raiser is: are they loose, aggressive, or are they tight?

If you are facing a bet from an early position raiser who has not played a hand for an hour, then it is very likely they have a premium hand. Thus, in this situation, your pair of sevens probably will not fare too well, post-flop.

Indeed, if you call and see anything other than a seven on the flop, you will have very little option but to fold. Conversely, if the raise comes from late position, and the raiser is a loose player, then it is much more likely that your pocket sevens will be in good shape, even if the flop contains some over cards.

Once you have assessed these factors, you need to consider the relative stack sizes. This means the amount of money each of you will be playing for.

Poker PairsFor example, you are sitting at the poker table with $50 and your opponent has $35. In this case, the effective stacks are $35 because that is the most that can be won in the hand. Whenever you are sizing up someone’s stack, you are doing so for the purposes of set mining (hitting a set on the flop).

The odds of hitting a set on the flop when you hold a pocket pair is around 7-1 against, so this means that, in order to make a mathematically correct call pre-flop, your opponent needs to have stack of 70 big blinds or more.

When this dynamic is in place, you will be able to make enough money from your opponent when you make a set to compensate for all the times you call and miss – in theory, at least.

Playing pocket pairs in poker can be a tricky proposition but, if you remember to watch the position, player, and stack sizes, you will soon see your profits increase. Pocket pairs are often a risky, but lucrative move in the WSOP 2012 Satellites.

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