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Playing Pocket Aces In A High Stakes Cash Game

The Hustler Casino Live Stream continues to bring eyes to poker as it shows off some of game’s best taking part in high stakes action. When you’re at the poker table with the likes of Phil Ivey, there’s no better hand to be dealt than pocket aces. Professional poker player Matt Berkey was in this exact situation as he sat on Phil Ivey’s left on the Hustler Casino Live Stream. Holding the best hand seated next to arguably poker’s best player, Berkey showed viewers at home how a pro gets paid with pocket aces.

The Game: $200/$400 + $200 Big Blind Ante Cash Game
Effective Stack:
154 Big Blinds
Where:
The Hustler Casino – Los Angeles, CA

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This video comes from Jonathan Little’s YouTube Channel. If you would like to stay up to date with more video content such as this, including hand breakdowns from Hellmuth vs Dwan, Garrett Adelstein, Brad Owen and more, be sure to check out the channel.

Under the gun holding K♠-J, Phil Ivey limped into the pot contributing the $400 minimum. Next to act, Matt Berkey looked down at A♠-A and naturally raised $1,400. Folded around to Krish Menon in the small blind, the high stakes regular peeked down at A♣-10♣ before calling Berkey’s raise. High stakes crusher Garrett Adelstein would also call the $1,400 raise after peering down at his own set of suited clubs (K♣-J♣). Not going anywhere with suited connectors, Gal Yifrach would get in on the action calling the Berkey’s raise holding 8♠-7♠, with Ivey calling as well.

This hand certainly displayed a lot of playable hands from all players involved. Berkey makes a straight-forward raise with a proper bet size, while Adelstein, Krish, and Gal make reasonable calls with very playable hands. With A♣-10♣, Krish Menon could have considered three-betting, while viewers had the benefit of knowing he would be walking into Berkey’s pocket aces, ace-ten suited is a viable hand to three-bet with and has the potential of flopping extremely well.

The Pot: $7,200
The Board: 10♠-7-5
Effective Stack: 151 Big Blinds Effective

Krish: A♣-10♣
Adelstein: K♣-J♣
Yifrach: 8♠-7♠
Ivey: K♠-J
Berkey: A♠-A

Flop Analysis

Post-flop, it would quickly check around to Berkey, who had the benefit of position with his pocket aces. Pursuing some value, Berkey executed a $3,000 continuation bet, which was met by an immediate check-raise from Krish holding top pair-top kicker. Adelstein, Yifrach, and Ivey would all get out of the way. Not wanting to scare his opponent away, Berkey elected to call.

Berkey’s continuation bet was well placed and well sized. On this board facing so many players, there was a high likelihood that at least one of his opponents made some type of hand that would call the $3,000 bet. 

Evaluating Krish’s reraise, with top pair-top kicker his action was solid. Although Berkey’s aces had Krish dominated, Berkey could make this play with hands other than overpairs, like J-10 suited. 

Berkey was wise to call, as he was well ahead of the majority of Krish’s range. If he was facing an opponent he thought would blast it off in reaction to a re-raise, Berkey could have considered a raise, but the majority of the time he wants to keep his opponents involved holding pocket aces.

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The Pot: $25,200
The Board: 10♠-7-5-4
Effective Stack: 128 Big Blinds Effective

Krish: A♣-10♣
Berkey: A♠-A

Turn Analysis

Following a check from Krish out of position, Berkey bet $15,000, unafraid of the flop reraise. Not giving up with top pair-top kicker, Krish made the call.

While the turn card brought some straights into the mix, neither player’s ranges provided much board connectivity. If Krish had the best hand on the flop, he likely still had the best hand on the turn, encouraging him to stick around. Even though Berkey still had all of the overpairs in his range, Krish could have executed a small or medium bet on the turn, and was also fine check-calling the $15,000 bet.

Holding the best starting hand in Texas Hold’em, Berkey had to bet again on the turn. While sometimes he will be crushed by a set of tens, the majority of the time he will still be ahead and should keep firing. 

The Pot: $55,200
The Board: 10♠-7-5-4-K
Effective Stack: 91 Big Blinds Effective

Krish: A♣-10♣
Berkey: A♠-A

River Analysis

Despite the overcard coming on the river, Krish showed no fear leading out with a $30,000 bet. Admitting he was scared of K-10 and that he would have jammed if Krish had checked, Berkey called the bet and revealed his aces. Despite not being able to get his whole stack into the middle, Berkey was still rewarded with a hefty $59,800 pot.

Krish’s lead is not one that should be encouraged, while Berkey may be able to find some hero folds with hands like pocket jacks and queens, Krish should lead on river cards that benefit his range and not his opponent’s. The K connected much more with Berkey’s range than Krish’s, which should have dissuaded Krish from betting. Krish was much better off checking the river and hoping to get to showdown against paired tens he out-kickered.

Facing a lead and playing a board in which a lot of draws missed, Berkey had a very easy call. For his patience and well-played strategy with pocket aces, Berkey was rewarded with a valuable pot for his efforts.

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