Laying Down a Monster Pre-Flop

I was presented with the question of would I ever lay down pocket aces before the flop. The short answer is yes. I have folded aces before the flop. I will share with you the circumstances and the reasoning behind laying down pocket aces before the flop in live games.

I will cover the three times I can remember laying down aces before the flop in a live game. The first was just a matter of frustration and was caused by a dealer mistake and an emotional outburst on my part. While it may seem hard to believe I was a class one asshole at the table when I was younger and this story is just another memory of those earlier times. The dealer flipped my first card over accidently and it was an ace and had to go back. When my second card came in and it was another ace I just lost my cool and began to rant and cuss and just generally be disruptive. I of course threw the card toward the dealer face up. When I got the replacement card that should have been the burn card it was also an ace and I threw that one face up as far as I could throw it and said even worse things even louder than before. Somehow I thought this might help the situation. I had exposed three aces in the same hand. I would have been playing pocket aces if I had just kept my cool. So yes I did fold pocket aces before the flop.

The second time I folded pocket aces before the flop was in a shady card room where nobody could be trusted and I was returning from the bathroom. Too many people at the table seemed to want to let me know I had a hand and needed to hurry back to the table. The game was no limit and I have a general rule in all no-limit games that I want to see the shuffle and cut every single hand. Because I did not see these cards shuffled and I did not like the urging from the group to get back to the table I was pretty sure I was folding. I motioned for them to kill the hand and they did not kill it and chose to wait for me. I took a little longer wandering back and slid into my chair to look at a pair of aces. I looked around the table to see who had a hand and I counted my chips and stacked and restacked them as I often do while stalling. I looked into the eyes of each and every player. I tried to be as menacing as I could and hoped I could break somebody. Soon I saw an elderly man shaking his head no. I went into a rage and started to rant about the fact that everyone at the table was willing to risk their lives for a cut of $500. I said, “If I find out that you guys are trying to cheat me I will hunt you down one by one”. The players began tossing their hands toward the muck. I was the last one with cards and I too threw mine in face up. I said, “Shuffle up and lets play”. I pushed the blinds back where they were and said, “Let’s pretend that didn’t happen”. So yes anytime you do not see the shuffle and you are in a game where people are prone to cheating it is best to just fold the aces.

The third time I folded aces before the flop in a live game was in a heads up game where I received the exact same two aces in three consecutive hands. I had received aces two hands in a row and was pretty certain they were the same two cards. I watched the dealer very closely on the next hand and saw the poor shuffle and false cut. I was sure he was cheating and trying to help me. I did not want any part of that cheating and I did not need any help to beat the guy I was playing. I simply folded the hand and watched the next shuffle to make sure everything was on the square. If he had tried to stack the deck again I would have asked for a big table scramble to mix up the cards.

Folding aces before the flop in a live game is hard to do. I think I have shared two situations where it is the right thing to do and one where I let my temper get the best of me.

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