MTT survival tactics; Ace on the flop
Whenever an Ace flops, there is something you should be aware of; Absent of any flush or flush draws present (a “rainbow” board), if the other two cards are not one or two of the following: 6,7,8, or a 9; then there is always a possible straight or straight draw on the board! Think about that. Only those middle cards prevent this possibility. So any two cards that are held - 2,3,4,5 or K,Q,J,10 - makes any ace flop a possible straight or straight draw if there are no middle cards present. Even then, another oddity about this can felt you as well...If you have a 4-5 and the flop is A-2-3, you got the nuts, right? Only for right now;
Both players now have a straight! Hero goes to zero. In this example, the dumb end of the straight is also an completly different straight. So, if the Hero slow played it or faced a calling station, he could end up dead by the river. Again, this only applies when there is no flush present. Always keep that in mind. A weak player will call bets hoping to hit top pair, despite the clear straight and over card present! This is why they so often “suck out” to a win.
If you give your opponent the pot odds
to call with any two card combination of K-Q-J-10 on any ace flop they will. They have 3 parts of a straight! A calling station will, even if not getting the right pot odds
, as they do not understand pot odds. This gets tricky for the low end. When I flop a 5 high straight with a board ace, I occasionally move all in. That is dangerous (I’ll get to why in a minute) yet once the fourth higher straight draw card comes on the turn, now there is even less chance of getting a fold. Maybe a good player might not risk it on the turn with only one card to come, yet a weak player or a calling station most certainly will.
Yet there is a dangerous problem with moving all in on the flop. Again, from a calling station, mostly. In the above example, if the weak player or calling station has say, 5-6, then he only needs a 4 to make a higher straight. That is more than enough to call an all in and chase that 4 for a calling station or weak player.
So you might have to risk taking it to the turn; just bet the flop and see if another bad card misses on the turn if called. For this 4-5 example, that would be:
5 (4-6 wins)
6 (5-7 draws to a four on the river)
7 (5-6 draws to four on the river)
8-9 are the only ones preventing a higher straight by the river, no matter the small card combination you have for a 5 high straight. When you make that flop bet keep in mind if it is too big, the other player might feel pot-committed if he calls. If not going all in on the flop, no need to bet more than 3/4 to full-pot size if that is your standard bet.
If not 8-9 and they have called, you have to ask yourself; could this guy have 4-6, 5-7, or 5-6? In a cash game, who cares? The odds will dictate all this. In an MTT, survival is a major factor. If you are facing a loose or weak player, then those hands are very possible. Weak players will bet into you or shove/over bet if they make a straight on the turn. Loose players are waiting for you to hang yourself. In either type of game you cannot ever play scared. So once a dangerous card hits in this situation in a MTT, you should give serious consideration to pot control, just in case.
Now all that being said, why agonize over all of this? Well, by now I am sure you can see one advantage. Keeping this all in mind can help pick off a bully or bluffer. If he bluff-bets the river and you know there is no way there is a higher straight beating you, then you do not want to go all in over his bluff! That will just wise him up. If you simply min re-raise he might just flat call at worse or at best do that himself and go all in to make the bluff/semi-bluff look scarier. Since you have the nut straight, you just got him to do what you could not otherwise;
Go all in with a weak hand when you hold the nuts.