Finding folds at the poker table can be extremely tough, especially when you’re facing a wild maniac and happen to be holding pocket aces! Playing in a meet-up game at the Aria in Las Vegas, Brad Owen was in the dream scenario of having pocket aces facing a maniacal opponent he had just attempted to bluff in a previous hand. The table had been set for poker’s number one vlogger to get it all-in, but was that the correct play?
The Game: $2/$5/$10 Cash Game
Effective Stack: 113 Big Blinds
Where: Aria – Las Vegas, Nevada
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Playing Pocket Aces Preflop
The hand began with a wildly aggressive player limping into the pot UTG+1. As previously mentioned, Owen had just attempted to bluff this particular opponent in a previous hand, so when he looked down at A♥-A♣ on the button, he knew it was time to raise it up. After Owen raised it to $45, only the maniacal limper called.
While Owen certainly should have raised preflop, taking into account the loose, wild table presence of his opponent as well as their history at the table, he should have raised for a larger amount like $55 or $60. If you know a particular player is never folding to you and they just so happen to be attending your very own meet-up game, all of the dynamics have aligned for you to bet even bigger. When you have literally the best pocket pair in poker and you know you’re going to get action, get it in because you’re getting it in good!
Overpair On The Flop
The Pot: $107
The Board: K♣-J♥-4♦
Effective Stack: 108 Big Blinds
Brad Owen: A♥-A♣
Following a check from his opponent, Owen threw out a $55 bet. His opponent would quickly call.
Much like preflop, Owen was better served sizing up for a larger bet. The K♣-J♥-4♦ board connected well with his opponent’s range, the maniacal limper could have easily had a hand like top pair that would call a bigger bet. When it is extremely likely you are ahead, get as much money in the pot as you reasonably can. Holding pocket aces, Owen essentially had the nuts against a calling station, the perfect opportunity for a bigger bet.
The Board Gets Slightly More Connected On The Turn
The Pot: $217
The Board: K♣-J♥-4♦-Q♥
Effective Stack: 102 Big Blinds
Brad Owen: A♥-A♣
Following another check from his opponent, Owen continued his aggression with a $130 bet. Not wanting to go anywhere, Owen’s foe made the call.
As with Owen’s preflop raise and flop bet, increasing his bet size a little bit more was in his best interest holding pocket aces. By executing larger bets, Owen would have increased the size of the pot substantially, in turn allowing him to bet larger sizes on later streets. The bigger the pot, the bigger bet sizes you get to utilize, a great spot to be in when you have pocket aces.
While Owen may have no longer had the effective nuts on the turn, if his opponent was a true calling station, there was a decent chance the GPI award winner was still ahead with aces. Despite the pot being too low for an effective river shove, Owen was sitting good if he could avoid a spoiler on the river.
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Brad Owen Faces A Tough Spot On The River
The Pot: $477
The Board: K♣-J♥-4♦-Q♥-3♠
Effective Stack: 89 Big Blinds
Brad Owen: A♥-A♣
For a third and final time, Owen’s opponent checked out of position. Going for even more value, Owen fired out a $400 bet, but instead of calling, the maniacal maniac moved all-in for his remaining stack of $902. Despite sitting pretty preflop, Owen was now in an incredibly tough spot with a brutal decision to make.
Before making his ultimate decision, it was important for Owen to consider just how wild and crazy his opponent’s play style was. Would his opponent make this play with K-7? In a $2/$5/$10 game, probably not, which strongly suggests Brad Owen should have mucked his hand. Opponents rarely check-raise all-in on the river if they don’t have a hand, with the lack of fear his opponent was exhibiting Owen should have made the fold, but was he strong enough to fold his pocket aces?
Not able to get away from it, Owen made the crying call and saw the bad news: his opponent had two pair with K-J offsuit to crack his aces. It is always brutalizing to see your pocket aces get cracked at the poker table, especially when it results in you getting stacked. The career of a poker vlogger can be a perilous one, as while you always upload the wins, you also have to upload the bad beats. A special thank you to Brad Owen for letting us review this hand. If you enjoyed this hand review, be sure to check out this previous article reviewing Brad Owen’s play with a set.