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Don't Fold Pocket Kings Online
I recently played the $1,000 buy-in, $1 million guaranteed prize pool Championship Event of the Ultimate Bet Online Championships
Early in the tournament, with the blinds at $40/$80, I picked up K-K in first position. I opted to smooth call for $80. Another player called and then the player in the big blind, sitting directly to my right, raised to $260. I re-raised to $660, letting him know that I had a real hand.
The limper folded but the player in the big blind hit it again, this time making it $2,020 to go. I min-raised to $3,480, he shoved all-in for his last $12,400, and I immediately called off my remaining stack.
The truth is that I wasn't all that surprised when my opponent's pocket aces were revealed. My cowboys were now a huge 4 1/2-to-1 underdog.
And then the flop suddenly appeared -- K-10-8. Top set for Phil!
The last two cards were 4-10 and I collected a nice $18,800 pot. Yes, I won the money but did I play the hand correctly?
My $80 call with K-K was by design. I normally raise pre-flop with K-K or A-A but occasionally I'll limp in, especially if it appears that the others at the table are playing tight. I don't want anyone to fold too soon when I've got such a big hand.
I'm thinking that I'd hate to win only the blinds with my K-K if I make an early position raise. I'd rather gamble a little and try to win a bigger pot by letting other players take the flop with me -- even though I realize that limping in with kings can be risky.
For the record, if you do limp in with pocket kings, you'll probably lose if the pot ends up exceeding one hundred big blinds. On the other hand, if the pot stays under sixty big blinds, you'll probably have the winner.
Tip: You need to be very careful not to lose all your chips when you limp in with K-K.
Okay, my opponent's $180 raise into a $280 pot with A-A is standard. My three-bet to $660 was reasonable although I could have called instead. I prefer the re-raise, though, because it gives my opponent the opportunity to overplay Q-Q, J-J, A-K, or even bluff.
My opponent's four-bet of $1,360 into a $1,440 pot was okay even though it was a bit higher than today's internet poker standard, which would have been about seventy percent of the pot, or $1,000. He put the extra money into the pot because he knew he had a hand that he'd have to go the distance with. He was destined to shove all-in no matter what cards fell on the flop.
My min-raise five-bet was just fine with me. I wanted to give my opponent the chance to move all-in pre-flop with any two cards. Maybe he'd think I was bluffing or perhaps he'd just get a wild hair up his, well, you know. Hey, all of us get a little crazy sometimes!
His six-bet all-in was the right move with A-A.
Now here's the big question: Could I have folded K-K for the last $5,800 raise? Nope.
I've never folded K-K in an online poker tournament, wasn't going to do it here, and advise that you shouldn't either.
Look, there are some wild players out there on the internet. Even if you have online stats for your opponent, there's still a good chance he's just overplaying a hand like A-K or Q-Q in this situation. So get it in all-in with your pocket kings, baby!
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