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Playing AA Under The Gun - 4 bet or flat call?

WillHungPokerWillHungPoker Posts: 89Subscriber
edited September 2018 in NLHE Strategy Discussion
$5/$10 NLHE Cash Game at the Commerce
Effective stack: $1,550 (my stack)

I raised to $35, UTG+1 re-raised to $105, everyone folds, action back to me.

Young white guy probably in the 30's. Have not played with him before but I have no reason to believe he will get out of line so I can assign him a fairly tight range (JJ+, AK).

I don't want to have a 4-betting range here because then he can hero fold everything except KK. I plan to under-rep my hand by calling preflop and check call at least 2 bets postflop on most boards to maximize value.

Flop: Qd Td 3h
Check - check

Weird! He checked really quickly too.

Turn: 8c Pot is $215

I bet $150 for value. He thought for a few moments, and slam down a big raise to $525.

I tanked for a minute or two and then I decided to fold.

Instead of asking what he had, I asked him if he doesn't want to see the river. He said he had a big hand.

Based on this, I can be fairly confident he checked set of Queens. But should I 4-bet big preflop to something like $350 or $400 with AA?


  • dpbuckdpbuck Posts: 2,060Subscriber
    If he's going to hero-fold everything except KK, then you can probably have some 4bet bluffs in your range - things like AQ/AJs/KQs, blocking him from having AA/KK. In which case you can still 4bet AA. That's my thought anyway - interested to hear what others think?

    Do you have the Ad? If not, you definitely need to call the turn with AA, unblocking AdKd.
    Thanked by 1CycleV
  • WillHungPokerWillHungPoker Posts: 89Subscriber
    No, I had As Ah.
  • SonnySonny Posts: 390Subscriber
    edited September 2018
    I would like imput on this subject as well. Whether in position or out of position. It seems like in live poker these days, but especially at $5/5 and below, almost all players 4 betting range is KK and AA.
    I undertand somewhat the idea behind having other 4 bet bluff hands like AQ/KQ, but how much does this matter when we are playing against an opponent we have never seen before. He doesn't know what our range might be. All he knows is that 98% of live players are only 4 betting AA and KK, and maybe AKss once a month. So if we 4 bet, and he has KK and blocks Kings, we probably have the Aces and he can make the hero fold. If we 4 bet this player that doesn't know us, how will having 4 bet bluffs in our range make much of a difference? We might be able to steal the pot preflop, but I dont see how it helps get action when we do have AA. Sure if the hand gets shown down then he can see that our 4 bet range isn't just AA or KK, but how often is that going to happen in a 4 to 10 hour session? It might not happen at all.

    This all changes obviously when playing with the same pool of players on a very regular basis, but I don't really see the advantage for those of us in Vegas or LA we are usually playing against unknowns. They don't know what we are capable of, so why even risk it by having a 4 bet bluff range? When even 3 betting ranges are pretty tight already.

    Again, this is something I am very courious about. Maybe my comments are all off base and I'm completely wrong but I would love to hear thoughts from those with more expirence.
  • WillHungPokerWillHungPoker Posts: 89Subscriber
    I agree with Sonny. I don't play all the time so people don't really know how I play.

    With that, it is absolutely terrible to "balance" your range by 4-betting with hands like A5s in this spot. AQ and AJ is similar to A5s because you are turning your hand into a bluff. Not good. The person 3-betting me from UTG+1 against my UTG raise almost always has a very tight range like JJ+ and AK.

    The way I want to "balance" is to exploit people opening too wide preflop. For example, I 3-bet from button with A6s against the MP raiser. I don't like to show my cards but if I had to show down even once, something like 3-betting with 79s, that's good enough in terms of letting people know I am not a total nit.

  • dpbuckdpbuck Posts: 2,060Subscriber
    edited September 2018
    With that, it is absolutely terrible to "balance" your range by 4-betting with hands like A5s in this spot. AQ and AJ is similar to A5s because you are turning your hand into a bluff. Not good. The person 3-betting me from UTG+1 against my UTG raise almost always has a very tight range like JJ+ and AK.

    You indicated in your original post that he would 3bet JJ+/AK, but would fold all but KK+ to a 4bet (folding 28/40 combos). Why wouldn't we open our 4betting range, especially when we block KK+ as an exploit when he's overfolding?
    Thanked by 1CycleV
  • WillHungPokerWillHungPoker Posts: 89Subscriber
    Because I don't know for sure. I am playing against an unknown opponent here but I've seen other people make hero folds with JJ, QQ, and AK.
  • dpbuckdpbuck Posts: 2,060Subscriber
    To clarify, I'm not saying we should always be 4betting A5s, etc. I'm saying if that is villain's range, and we're confident on that, then we can exploitably 4bet more. If you're doubting you can do that, then you likely need to reassess your range of villain for the 3bet and continuing to a 4bet.
  • dpbuckdpbuck Posts: 2,060Subscriber
    Getting back to general approach to this spot, only 150 BBs, don't hesitate to put in the 4bet with AA. I don't think villains are that tight at that stack depth, and you will see people get it in with far weaker than KK+.
  • WillHungPokerWillHungPoker Posts: 89Subscriber
    Okay, let's say I 4-bet preflop to $400, he calls. My stack is about $1150. What is my plan? Am I looking to just shove every flop?
  • FuzzypupFuzzypup Posts: 2,577Subscriber
    My 2c on calling 3bs like this.....

    IF the SPRs play themselves and there is no way the other person can get away from the hand then I don't mind calling the 3b. So say his 3b was $135 and you had $1000..... I'm 100% fine with calling for balance because you are basically never folding when he puts 13.5% of his stack in the middle. I shoot for 10:1 which is the break even point for set mining.

    In your case..... with $1550 stack I would 4b really small and play it the same way as above. So 4b $255.

    Now at this point pay attention. So with this small 4b you basically are denying set mining odds. If he folds now you know you can make that same 4b bluff later.

    Some players will see set mining as if Oh I only need 7.5:1 to call. But 10:1 is required for about break even when dealing with redraws by the other player. Like QQ on a mono board vs AA with a FD.

    Now one thing I think about that really isn't written in any books and is counter intuitive to how people treat bets and raises is the following. And I could be totally wrong here. Never really tested this.

    Raise $30, reraise $105, reraise $250..... 3 better things ok I have to call $145 to win $385 + $1255 = ~$1640.... ok I got odds to call..... While technically it is correct since the pot is no longer his but is it a mistake from the 4 better's point of view?

    We could our opponent to bet $250 before any of the flop is seen.
    So say our opponent folds every single time because he knows hero has AA after this call and the hero shoves every flop. Hero wins $1868 in the 7.5x this plays out (the $250 profit of the villain). On the 8th time our villian stacks the hero for $1550. We assume no weird flops no out draws.

    Still a profitable play. So if I can get my opponent to dump more money in the pot before he knows how the hand will play out I think it's profitable for me.

    In his case he is forced to call to lose less money than if he folded every time. If he calls his overall winnings is -$338. If he folds preflop everytime he loses $850.

    Maybe I am wrong on my math. But I like smaller 4bs if I can get the SPR under 10 vs a 3 better and give the illusion of set mining.
  • dpbuckdpbuck Posts: 2,060Subscriber
    Okay, let's say I 4-bet preflop to $400, he calls. My stack is about $1150. What is my plan? Am I looking to just shove every flop?

    No. Play range vs range, taking into account board texture, player tendencies, yada yada yada. With AsAh on QT3dd, for example, you're likely bet/calling against all but the nittiest of villains.
  • WillHungPokerWillHungPoker Posts: 89Subscriber
    Okay thanks for the feedback.
  • neverlearn2neverlearn2 Posts: 2,862Subscriber
    I'm not folding.

    Anyone else like leading flop ?
  • CycleVCycleV Posts: 1,196Subscriber
    I agree with dpbuck on bluffing pre. It's not about balancing our range, it's about printing money in a specific spot, where we have blockers to make it profitable.

    As played, in theory we're ahead of 6 combos of KK, behind 6 combined combos of QQ and TT. If he had diamonds or AQ he bets the flop. If he had AK and wants to bluff, he bets the flop. JJ, I can't see this play. KK that checked the flop is not going to raise the turn, that doesn't make sense. But top set, people think they have to check the flop, b/c they think you never have AA/KK in this spot since you didn't reraise pre. So I think this is pocket queens all day. I can find a fold here.
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