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Playing Pocket Kings With a Short Stack

Jonathan Little

Today I have an interesting hand that a lot of people might view as somewhat standard, but I think if you really focus on earning full value from your strong hands, you'll find that often it isn't as simple as just reraising and getting your money in the middle.

While it's nice when you can simply get your chips in the middle with your strongest hands, sometimes you have to be a little more deliberate when going about it so as to ensure you keep your opponents' ranges wide.

With the blinds 75/150, a player sitting under the gun raised to 375 and the next player called. It folded to me in middle position where I had 4,500 (30 big blinds) and was dealt {k-Spades}{k-Diamonds}.

I reraised to 1,100, and in the video below I talk about why I decided on that amount — deliberately chosen because of my stack size (I want others to think I might still fold if they reraise) and so as not to frighten away potential callers (I want calls with my kings).

It folded to the small blind where a 40-year-old player cold-called, then both the original raiser and player next to him called as well, making the pot just over 4,500.

The flop then came {10-Hearts}{7-Spades}{8-Spades} and it checked around to me where I had 3,400 left.

I chose to bet 1,800 and after two players folded the remaining player who had me covered check-raised all in. See what I chose to do and my explanation for my action, and hear as well my analysis of other players' decisions in this hand:

This is always a difficult situation to navigate because it is extremely easy to be against a premium hand that has kings beat. In this situation would you have gotten all in?

Jonathan Little is a professional poker player and author with over $6,500,000 in live tournament earnings. He writes a weekly educational blog and hosts a podcast at You can follow him on Twitter @JonathanLittle.

  • Consider how you would play @JonathanLittle's pocket kings with a short stack in a four-way pot.

  • It's nice to get all in with K-K when short, but as @JonathanLittle shows it isn't always that easy.

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