How to Play a Set vs. an Aggressive Player


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Poker Player Tossing Card in AirToday I was at a ten player home game where everyone had forty chips, each counting as one.  The blinds were one and two to start out with.  I was in second position and was dealt pocket sixes.  The person sitting to my right calls the big blind of two and I raised three times the big blind to six.  Two people called before the action returned to the player who called under the gun.  He thinks about it, and then pushes in four more to call.

The flop is dealt and the cards are Qd 6h 5c, giving me the set and no flush draws.The player to my right checks, and I bet.  The player to my left folds and an aggressive player calls.  The player to my right who checked to start the round of betting folded.  On the turn came 8c.  I came out and bet heavily, knowing I was playing against an aggressive player who likes to call to see another card.  He took a long time deciding what to do, but in the end he mucked his cards.  I raked in a good sized pot on this hand, but I thought I could have gotten more.

After I won the pot, I realized that I probably would have won more if I had checked on the turn.  I knew my opponent on that hand very well, and he probably would have assumed I was giving up a bluff attempt after not getting the cards I needed if I had checked there after raising preflop and betting the flop.  Even if he hadn’t believed that, I know he would have bet in any case, because as I said before this was an aggressive player.

He would have bet to try and force me into deciding whether to fold or play the hand until the end.I felt pretty sure during the hand that he was not drawing to anything, so I probably should have checked and let him bet his chips away into my stronger hand.  At the time though, I had a good hand and I bet it.  It wasn’t a bad decision, it just wasn’t the best decision available.

I ended up getting knocked out a while later in the game when I got dealt pocket Queens.  I raised preflop, and I got one caller.  The flop came K J 5, and my opponent bet.  I thought about it, and decided that I should raise all-in.  I was low on chips and needed to make a move.  I knew that if my opponent had a king, I was in all likelihood done for, but I thought he had an ace and a card of middling importance.As it turns out, he had KJ for two pair, which didn’t really matter since I needed a Q anyways, and as another player revealed, there was only one Q left in the deck.  Sure enough, it didn’t come and I got eliminated.

The only thing I would’ve done differently would be to go all-in preflop.  It wouldn’t have mattered though, because the player who knocked me out was the same aggressive player from my earlier win, and he would’ve called me in an instant with KJ, given that he had a huge chip lead on me, and in fact, the entire table.

I wouldn’t have folded after the flop, because all it would’ve done would be to stretch out my life a couple more hands, as I would’ve been even worse off with my chip stack, and have to go all-in at any hand above mediocrity.  I’m not upset about this hand; my cards just weren’t good enough.


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