Last night I was in a hand and picked up Aces in early position then threw out a standard raise on the heavy side (eight I think). One caller, Mr. Trey, followed me in to a heads up clash. I check dark and J3 check's dark behind me. Flop was Q- rag-rag (Q74?). Just happened to be about as good a flop as you could hope for with Aces. Since we both checked the flop, the turn came out and it put a 9 on the board. Still, just about the dream board for Aces in terms of not being likely to have hit anyone too hard, certainly not as scary as a connected KQ or three in one suit or anything like that. I lead out for a pot-ish sized bet, either 13, 17, or 19 I'm pretty sure. I think it was 19 because I think J3 made it 35 to go after that or basically a min raise. I am ranging the hands that Jeh has now and my hand history on him tells me that he has a Q/any kicker. I have seen him vigorously defend top pair before. I don't feel that I can flat call here so I bump the price up to 80. Now he goes in the tank. I have committed roughly half my stack to this pot and am considering what I'm going to do if Jeh pushes here. With the board texture what it is, the worst I can be up against is a set. Since Jeh has taken this long to ponder I cannot put him on a set. Top pair still is at the top of the list for what he could be holding and I feel like I will not be able to lay my hand down since I am beating so many of the hands that Jeh would be taking this long to act on. He is even talking out load about the red flags that he sees on this hand and is having a hard time figuring out where I'm at. He finally folds bottom two pair to the strength that I was projecting by (mistakenly) feeling that I was ahead.
Bad read. I did not even consider two pair based on the flop. If there were two connectors then I could see a two pair more easily or maybe a semi-bluff raise to try to push me off of a (street delayed) cbet or a pair. Turns out the double check in the dark saved me. If I had led out on the flop and Jeh raised me, I think it is much more likely that Jeh is going all the way with that hand. When the turn comes out there is now much more ways that I could be beating him. Pocket Nines, Q9, 97, are all now ahead of him but none of those hands would be beating him on the flop. Jeh and Marshall both correctly read strength especially with the lead-out/re-raise which I think is stronger than a check-raise. It obviously shows that you are more committed to the hand because you are not only committing more of your chips to the pot but also do so knowing that your opponent is more invested in the pot as well. If Jeh had called, I certainly wasn't drawing dead. I had two Aces, three Queens, and three Nines which could have still won me the pot, sure, not a ton of outs but in a better spot than just pairing a Queen and needing to catch my side card or pairing only one board card.
Anyway, the point that I wanted to get to and what I had alluded to in the middle of the hand was that I was going to write a post about strange behavior/red flags. I have noticed that Aces (primarily but Kings too) can really change the play of hands. I don't know how many times I've seen odd behavior in a hand and it turns out someone was holding Aces or Kings. I also have noticed that when a player is lost as to whatever the other person has, that it turns out to be Aces or Kings. One example was when Ryan and Jason were in a hand. Jason had played his AA a little slow and was sparring with Ryan. I think Jason may have even check/called the flop and the turn. Then when the board rivered the fourth of a suit, Jason leads out for a sizeable bet. I forget if Ryan called or not but he remarked words to the effect that he didn't know where Jason was at. Jason ended up showing AA with A of the suit to make the nut flush. And I know we have all seen a player holding KK get aggressive on the flop when an Ace comes out trying to get their money after being outflopped. Those rare big pockets can be intoxicating and make people do funny things. So whenever odd behavior shows up on my radar, one of the possible hands I will throw into the range is AA or KK.