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Old 01-11-2018, 11:04 AM   #1
Teski
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Reasons why we don't like playing AA in a multiway pot.

Hi everyone,

What are the main reasons why we don't like to play AA in a multiway pot?

My thoughts:
AA is the best hand preflop. OTF, it’s usually the best hand. So if the hand ends preflop or OTF, AA is generally winning it. As we get to later streets, the pot grows, but also the likelihood of our hand to be beaten. With AA unimproved, the only hands you can beat are other pairs, which normally won’t get deep in the hand (Harrington, 2008). This is why we want to get as much money in the pot preflop, hopefully ending the decision-making here.

-> AA doesn’t play multiway pots very well, because it enlarges the above mentioned likelihood of us being beaten by the end of the river.

Is this reason enough? I'm not convinced yet.

What are your thoughts?

Thanks,

Teski
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Old 01-11-2018, 11:22 AM   #2
Fatboy54
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Re: Reasons why we don't like playing AA in a multiway pot.

Personally, I like playing AA in almost any situation, and I'd far rather play 4-way with 100bb effective stack than heads up with 400bb effective stack.

ducy?
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Old 01-11-2018, 11:27 AM   #3
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Re: Reasons why we don't like playing AA in a multiway pot.

I'm not entirely sure what other reasons you're looking for. The probability of AA holding against 1 opponent far outweighs the probability of it holding against 2,3,4,5 opponents. We want to win the pot that we enter, and we want to give ourselves the best chance of doing this. Taking AA against 3 or 4 opponents is 'generally' a recipe for disaster.
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Old 01-11-2018, 11:54 AM   #4
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Re: Reasons why we don't like playing AA in a multiway pot.

Hating money mostly
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Old 01-11-2018, 12:14 PM   #5
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Re: Reasons why we don't like playing AA in a multiway pot.

It's not just aces. In most circumstances, every hand benefits from being heads up rather than multiway, because poker is fundamentally a fight over the dead money created by the blinds and antes. You can win a bigger share of that dead money if you're up against fewer opponents.
That said, AA is actually one of the few hands that likes getting action, since it typically wins much more than just the blinds. Getting 2 or 3 callers can be (much) more profitable than just getting one, but the larger size of the pot will mean your post-flop decisions have to be spot-on, as there is more scope for making very expensive errors.
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Old 01-11-2018, 01:01 PM   #6
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Re: Reasons why we don't like playing AA in a multiway pot.

AA is still a 'favorite' (has the most equity) when facing 3-4 random hands Pre-Flop. I don't believe it drops below 50% until it's up against 5 random hands and it still has the 'most' equity among those hands, just not against all the other hands combined. Of course in poker, we aren't up against random very often and certainly after the Flop we should only be up against hands that connect or feel they are ahead of the Board somehow (overpair).

I think you are caught up in the adage of 'AA wins small or loses big', which just isn't true.

As with any poker 'spot' you need to be aware of your opponents and how they might connect with the Board. You are correct that you 'only' have 1 pair, but just don't forget that it's 'the' pair.

Are you suggesting that we play AA different than AQ on QJ9? Why? You are only ahead of one more hand (KK) and tied with the other (AA) in this spot. And depending on how you played PF you are more likely to be multi-way with AQ than AA. Are you going to play AQ more aggressively because you have 5 outs to improve instead of only 2?

We might be less 'comfortable' playing AA multi-way but we shouldn't loath the thought of it any more than a lot of other poker spots. GL
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Old 01-11-2018, 01:18 PM   #7
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Re: Reasons why we don't like playing AA in a multiway pot.

If you face more players, you chances of winning go down, but your EV goes way up.

In tournament play, you want to isolate to reduce variance, unless you are the big chip leader, in which case, increasing your EV and eliminating opponents is more important than playing it safe and reducing variance.

In cash game, assuming that you bet it appropriately, you don't mind playing multiway with AA.
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Old 01-11-2018, 01:20 PM   #8
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Re: Reasons why we don't like playing AA in a multiway pot.

Quote:
We want to win the pot that we enter,
Our primary objective is to maximise our EV, in both the long and the short term. That is wwwwaaaaaaaayyyyyy more important than saying we want to win the pot.

Playing AA multiway 100bb deep just means we win fewer, but bigger pots, just as the above posters point out. We like it because we are still winning.

We dislike playing AA in very deep spots because decent players will make our life hell on later streets, raising huge in spots we can't call. ((SPR 101).
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Old 01-11-2018, 01:23 PM   #9
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Re: Reasons why we don't like playing AA in a multiway pot.

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Originally Posted by answer20 View Post
AA is still a 'favorite' (has the most equity) when facing 3-4 random hands Pre-Flop. I don't believe it drops below 50% until it's up against 5 random hands and it still has the 'most' equity among those hands, just not against all the other hands combined.
Without looking it up, I believe that given equal stacks. AA all-in pre-flop against up to seven other hands is a long-term winner.
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Old 01-11-2018, 04:02 PM   #10
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Re: Reasons why we don't like playing AA in a multiway pot.

More opponents = less chance your hand is good post flop. Players tend to mis play AAs post flop a lot. More than any other hand expect AK in my experience. More opponents often means a bigger pot and consequently bigger mistakes.

'With AA unimproved, the only hands you can beat are other pairs, which normally won’t get deep in the hand (Harrington, 2008)'

I'm not sure if this a direct quote from Harrington but it seems over simplified and not a reason to avoid playing AAs multi way. You could say this about every pp [expect 22s]. The issue is post flop mistakes with AA. Opponents are able to fold other beaten pps far more easily.
In any case we do want to play aces multi way but less opponents is preferable. Ideal scenario is as much action as possible and one or two all ins when the action gets back to you. We're raising for value and to define our opponents ranges. Maybe thinning the field is in there somewhere as a reason but it's 3rd or 4th on the list.
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Old 01-11-2018, 09:14 PM   #11
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Re: Reasons why we don't like playing AA in a multiway pot.

Quote:
Originally Posted by sixfour View Post
Hating money mostly
This. People that tell you otherwise are probably just scared of losing with AA.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Didace View Post
Without looking it up, I believe that given equal stacks. AA all-in pre-flop against any number of hands is a long-term winner.
FYP, although there are some specific hand matchups where AA may not be a long term winner.
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Old 01-12-2018, 12:44 PM   #12
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Re: Reasons why we don't like playing AA in a multiway pot.

Quote:
Originally Posted by browni3141 View Post
FYP, although there are some specific hand matchups where AA may not be a long term winner.
Probabilities can usually be swung any way we want them. Certainly you should be able to find 'exact' combinations of 2-3 hands where AA equity significantly drops when they gang up on AA. But there are no match-ups where AA is a long term loser unless it involves multiple opponents.

What I was shooting for was the point where AA had near 50% equity overall, which essentially made it a flip. I believe that point is when AA faces off against 5 random hands.

There is an old story/query about the WSOP ME where a guy sees everyone at his table go all-in on the first hand and looks down at AA in the BB. Would you call in that spot? I'm certainly conceding that AA has the most equity when compared to each 'individual' hand, but it certainly doesn't have more than a 25% chance of winning the hand against 8 or 9 randoms.

Is it so 'simple' that I'm getting 9 to 1 odds as a 4 to 1 favorite?

There is plenty of chatter where they have a $1000 SNG 1 hand showdown for a 'seat' in the ME, but the decision facing you in the ME where you really don't win anthing (except a Day 2 chip stack!) is interesting. GL

Last edited by answer20; 01-12-2018 at 01:00 PM.
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Old 01-12-2018, 01:02 PM   #13
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Re: Reasons why we don't like playing AA in a multiway pot.

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Originally Posted by answer20 View Post
, but it (AA) certainly doesn't have more than a 25% chance of winning the hand against 8 or 9 randoms.
According to Poker Stove, AA has a 35% winning chance against 8 randoms and a 31% winning chance against 9 randoms
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Old 01-18-2018, 10:20 AM   #14
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Re: Reasons why we don't like playing AA in a multiway pot.

Random hands are more dangerous to aces than good hands. For example, a pair is in many cases considered a strong hand (88 is in the equilab top 5% of hands) but the last thing you want against aces is a smaller pair.

Also, a "good hand" often means high cards (KQs is in the top 5%) but aces are straight blockers for two broadways.
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Old 01-18-2018, 10:44 AM   #15
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Re: Reasons why we don't like playing AA in a multiway pot.

Quote:
Originally Posted by answer20 View Post
Probabilities can usually be swung any way we want them. Certainly you should be able to find 'exact' combinations of 2-3 hands where AA equity significantly drops when they gang up on AA. But there are no match-ups where AA is a long term loser unless it involves multiple opponents.

What I was shooting for was the point where AA had near 50% equity overall, which essentially made it a flip. I believe that point is when AA faces off against 5 random hands.

There is an old story/query about the WSOP ME where a guy sees everyone at his table go all-in on the first hand and looks down at AA in the BB. Would you call in that spot? I'm certainly conceding that AA has the most equity when compared to each 'individual' hand, but it certainly doesn't have more than a 25% chance of winning the hand against 8 or 9 randoms.

Is it so 'simple' that I'm getting 9 to 1 odds as a 4 to 1 favorite?

There is plenty of chatter where they have a $1000 SNG 1 hand showdown for a 'seat' in the ME, but the decision facing you in the ME where you really don't win anthing (except a Day 2 chip stack!) is interesting. GL
Doing some quick work with Equilab and escal, assuming that this is the first hand (all stacks are equal) and that players are shoving ATC, you get the following

# players= Number of players shoving (not counting Hero)
Eq=hero's equity in the hand
ROI=return on investment

# Players EQ ROI
1 85% 70%
2 73% 119%
3 64% 156%
4 56% 180%
5 49% 194%
6 43% 201%
7 38% 204%
8 34% 206%
9 31% 210%


So yeah, if I have AA, I am snap calling any number of callers . The more callers, the better.
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Old 01-18-2018, 05:00 PM   #16
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Re: Reasons why we don't like playing AA in a multiway pot.

I think its because of a stigma that poker players and the media have created.. The media always shows a big fat pair of AA in the hole or being flipped up and everyone cheering around the table and a bucket of cash thrown all over and glitter and confetti... you get the picture here.

It has nothing to do with percentages or pure math. Its all psychological.

I feel that people dont like AA because its the perfect hand preflop and that makes it hard to believe that it would lose and dont know what to do when they need to make a decision. Its the ONE hand that can never be beaten by any other hand preflop and can only be matched by the other AA.

Now, people that play poker know about the community cards that are about to come and odds and all that poker stuff. But I still think this all is almost hardwired in the back of our heads.
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Old 01-18-2018, 07:17 PM   #17
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Re: Reasons why we don't like playing AA in a multiway pot.

This is how the hand is going to progress:

.............................step 1
..................get into a multiway pot
.................... /..............................\
. get a good flop.*.............................get a bad flop.**
..................... /.........\ .................................... /.........\
. good turn............ bad turn..................... good turn. ........bad turn
. etc


* good flop implies that your share is positive, though not necessarily so large that you own part of your opponent's stack. This catch is particularly relevant with AA, because so many players forget that the opponent's cards almost always have equity in the pot. When you bet, you're not necessarily claiming the whole pot + part of your opponent's call. Often, the best we can do is to reduce the profitability of our opponent's cards. Only the strongest hands will see shares >pot.

** bad flop doesn't mean unprofitable. It just means that your profitability is probably less than your preflop investment. This doesn't mean you made a mistake, because you're still receiving profit thanks to the money in the pot. Once you're put in a situation where continuing is unprofitable, remember that folding is free and that you can't win every hand.

So, that's why I love playing AA in a multiway pot.
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Old 01-19-2018, 10:23 AM   #18
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Re: Reasons why we don't like playing AA in a multiway pot.

It's always fun to discuss these spots .. The main issue with the WSOP ME spot is that you really don't win anything and it could be your only chance to play the ME. The dynamics of the spot beyond the math is the interesting part here for me.

I've always said, and would love to be in this spot and be forced to decide, that if I ever had 180K or more chip stack from a Day 1 WSOP ME that I wouldn't even show up for Day 2 .. and I would still be well above average at day's end. The percentage of Day 1 top 'xx' stacks that don't cash is very high. GL
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Old 01-20-2018, 03:47 AM   #19
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Re: Reasons why we don't like playing AA in a multiway pot.

It’s not discussion worthy from a stretgic standpoint. Calling with AA obviously maximizes your monetary expectation from the tournament. If you are playing for the experience and care much less about money, make the fold I guess, but I could never do it and still consider myself a respectable poker player.
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Old 01-20-2018, 07:10 AM   #20
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Re: Reasons why we don't like playing AA in a multiway pot.

Quote:
Originally Posted by answer20 View Post
It's always fun to discuss these spots .. The main issue with the WSOP ME spot is that you really don't win anything and it could be your only chance to play the ME. The dynamics of the spot beyond the math is the interesting part here for me.

I've always said, and would love to be in this spot and be forced to decide, that if I ever had 180K or more chip stack from a Day 1 WSOP ME that I wouldn't even show up for Day 2 .. and I would still be well above average at day's end. The percentage of Day 1 top 'xx' stacks that don't cash is very high. GL
You nailed it. Playing aces in almost any situation is the right play over time. But most people will never get the chance to play the Main Event even twice. There is no long-term for smoothing out variance in Main Events.

There is an even more important thing to consider. It's an economics term called "marginal utility", or to put it another way for this example, life changing money.

In An Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations, Adam Smith explained marginal utility something like this:

If you are starving and someone gives you a piece of bread, that bread means everything to you. A second piece would mean almost as much, but if the bread keeps coming you eventually get to the point where one more piece of bread isn't very important.

So, let's take Smith's example and change "a piece of bread" to "life changing money" or "putting my kids through college" or "paying for my son's multiple surgeries" or "paying all the money that I owe the IRS."

In you are in a crisis situation and sitting at the final table*, you're happy to watch everyone else at the table play that hand, moving you up several pay jumps and instantly solving major problems like the above.

You don't need to win the thing. All you have to do is move up a couple pay spots and you don't have to worry about paying for your kid's surgeries. Why take the risk to play the hand?

-----------

*I'm assuming that this player got in on a satellite so paying the entry free wasn't an issue.
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Old 01-21-2018, 07:54 PM   #21
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Re: Reasons why we don't like playing AA in a multiway pot.

I can't say the spot ever happened in the ME, but it happens 'all the time' in the $1000 SNG sattys from what I'm told. Everyone just goes all in on the first hand by some sort of agreement. It would be interesting to see how the discussions go.

Another off topic item that did happen ... On DNegs "The Big Game" a 'Loose Cannon' had acquired over $100K in winnings and was down to the last 4-5 hands before he could cash out. He's facing a small raise and looks down at AA in HJ or B. After some serious vacillation he mucks them. Phil Laak is in the BB with 66 and flats the opening raise ... then Flops QUADS!! These spots are easy to speculate about since ...

1) Would the Loose Cannon 'played it safe' and only flatted the raise, not wanting to get into a big pot?
2) Would Laak have flatted a 3-bet from 'this' Loose Cannon knowing the original raiser would have a chance to 4-bet?

Fun Fun ... GL
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Old 01-21-2018, 08:11 PM   #22
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Re: Reasons why we don't like playing AA in a multiway pot.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Poker Clif View Post
You nailed it. Playing aces in almost any situation is the right play over time. But most people will never get the chance to play the Main Event even twice. There is no long-term for smoothing out variance in Main Events.
If playing the ME is a once in a lifetime opportunity for you, chances are you are not very good at poker.

If you are not very good at poker, you aren’t expected to have a (significant) edge over the ME field and therefore your best shot at cashing and potentially winning life changing money is to take that chance with AA.

OTOH, if you are very good at poker and estimate your ME ROI at over 100%, it’s a significantly closer decision for you to take a risk like that early in the tournament. But then again, getting it in 9way results in a 210% ROI and I wouldn’t be sure if anyone has an edge over the field that’s even close to that.
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Old 01-21-2018, 09:17 PM   #23
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Re: Reasons why we don't like playing AA in a multiway pot.

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If playing the ME is a once in a lifetime opportunity for you, chances are you are not very good at poker.
This is untrue on its face.
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Old 01-21-2018, 09:54 PM   #24
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Re: Reasons why we don't like playing AA in a multiway pot.

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This is untrue on its face.
There are certainly people who made 6 figures through poker and don’t have the chance to play the ME more than once, but what percentage?

And yes, there are certainly players who are “very good” at poker even though they didn’t make that kind of money from playing. But most people who are very good poker players but don’t play that much have some other job that makes them decent money. Which would allow for the majority of them to play the ME if they wanted to.

Or maybe we just have very different definitions of “very good”.
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Old 01-21-2018, 10:09 PM   #25
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Re: Reasons why we don't like playing AA in a multiway pot.

I think we have different definitions of "once in a lifetime opportunity". You said, "Which would allow for the majority of them to play the ME if they wanted to." Fair. But I would say many things could be a "once in a lifetime opportunity" because someone chooses to pursue other "opportunities" after experiencing something once. People can have wider interests than just poker. It's all good, though.
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