How to Lose With a Set of Aces

My first thought was to name this post, “I am the worst poker player ever,” because that’s what I feel like right now.  But it’s arguably possible that my incredible stupidity may have actually saved me some money.  I don’t know.  I’ll let you decide.

I know I’ve picked up some new readers thanks to Poker Grump’s linking to my post about the importance of protecting your hand.  His post is here and my post about this topic should be directly below this one, or you can find it here. Thanks, Mr. Grump, for the link.  That said, after you read how I butchered this hand today, you may never read my blog again, and may be tempted to remove your link.
So, for those new readers who may not be aware, I have played almost exclusively low limit (2/4, 3/6, 4/8) Hold ‘Em until very recently.  Now I am trying to learn how to play no limit, with mixed results (stories about this all over this blog).  But I swear I know better than to play a hand like I did just now.  Honest.
Playing 1/2 No Limit, I bought in for $200 and was down to about $130.  I was totally card dead, except for one oddity.  I kept getting pocket Aces.  Aside from them, I had pretty much nothing.  And the Aces never paid off.  I saw a flop with them only once.  Raised twice, once no call, once folded on my continuation bet.  I 3-bet them once, the lady who raised asked me, when she folded to my re-raise (pre-flop), “How big was your pocket pair, mine was under 10”.
So my image was rather tight, to say the least.  At one point I was able to loosen up and I did raise pre-flop with J8 offsuit and won on a continuation bet.  But opportunities to do that again disappeared when a guy started making big pre-flop raises every hand….just before he took off, as it turned out.  This hand happened a few minutes after he left, and featured the guy who took his place.
For the fourth time in less than 90 minutes, I looked down at AA, this time in early position.  I raised to $12, a reasonable raise for the table.  A brand new player on the button called.  He had only played a few hands prior and couldn’t have known about my tight image, keep that in mind.  He seemed to know the dealers so he may have been a regular in this room.  Big Blind also called.  He was a pretty bad player from my observation, had called down with very weak holdings, and I wasn’t at all worried about him.
Flop is A-10-3, two diamonds.  Yes, the diamonds should have set off alarm bells for me.  So should the A-10 for the straight draw.  But dammit, I hadn’t won much with my Aces three times before, and now I not only saw a flop with them but hit my top set, I was gonna win some money here, come hell or high water.
BB checked, I checked and button bet $5.  Yeah, a whole $5.  Into a pot of over $30. That was a very strange bet, which the BB called and it gave me a chance to make up for my error of checking.  I could spring a nice check-raise here and take down the pot before a diamond or another straight card hit.  Did I do that?  No.  Why?  Because I’m an idiot, that would be my guess.
I just called.  When a Jack hit on the turn, I got scared.  Scared enough to make a big bet?  No.  I was still greedy and stupid.  I figured this was my chance for the check-raise, so I checked after BB also had checked.  But the button fooled me by checking too!  Boy did I feel stupid.
I didn’t feel any smarter when the river was a Queen.  Neither the Jack nor the Queen was a diamond, but anyone holding a King had Broadway (Ace-high straight).  People don’t like keeping Kings in Hold ‘Em do they?  No, not at all.
If you think I can’t get any stupider, wait.  BB now leads out with a $20 bet.  For no logical reason that I can think of now—or then, either, for that matter—I call!  Button counts out a lot of chips and puts in $80.  That is more than BB has so BB calls all-in.  Now, I wasn’t quite stupid enough to call that bet, not with two people betting and only one of them needing a King to beat my set, so finally, finally, I folded without losing any more.
BB had King-rag (not diamonds) and played it really stupid but was rewarded with half the pot.  Button showed not one King but two!  Wow.  I was so mad at myself I knew I would never recover fast enough mentally to have a chance of doing well at this table.  I got up and left before I could do any more damage to my psyche or my bankroll.
I was beating myself all kinds of ways as I walked around and cashed out.  But then I started thinking more and more about the guy on the button, the new player.  Very interesting, I thought, that he didn’t 3 bet me with his pocket Kings, wasn’t it?  Most players would.  And I repeat, he had only seen me 3 or 4 hands at most, and didn’t know me from Adam until 10 minutes ago, so he couldn’t know I was a really tight player (he also didn’t see me raise pre-flop with J8 off, but then nobody did, since I didn’t have to show).  So I found that interesting.
Made me wonder how he would have reacted if I bet out on the flop as I should have.  Would he have called with his cowboys?  With an Ace on the board.  With me having raised in early position pre-flop?  I’ll never know, but I think he might have.  He might have put me on a lower pocket pair (or just high cards) and thought I was just making a continuation bet.  I have no evaluation of his play but his call pre-flop with those Kings smells of a trap, and he might have been willing to call a flop bet, even with the Ace on there.  So I am trying to comfort myself—just a little—with the thought that I might have lost more money if I played it smarter.
Even if that’s true—and it probably isn’t—believe me, I know, I know, I know I played it or horrifically, and will really try to learn from it.  So I’m not taking any lessons from this except a lesson in what not to do.
Anybody think he would have called a pot-sized bet on the flop?  Anybody?
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How to Lose With a Set of Aces
How to Lose With a Set of Aces
Reviewed by asiana
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Rating : 4.5