Big Pairs and "Action Players" at lower limits

I was playing a 6/12 game tonight, when I looked down to find pocket aces. A player in early position raised, I re-raised. To my surprise, the player one-off the button capped the pot.

The rest of the hand is a blur. Yes, this is another suck-out/bad-beat story, but one with a point. The guy that capped the pot (and eventually won the hand) had a 7/6 off-suit. He was what I like to call an “action player,” a common beast at low-limit tables.

You see, this animal likes action. When he sees a big pot, one characterized by raises and re-raises, he wants a piece of the action. He’ll cap the pot (or call 4 bets) to see a flop with a weak, speculative hand– hoping to hit the flop hard and win a huge pot.

The action player’s logic is simple, if a bit flawed: he assumes that all of the raising and re-raising opponents hold big cards, so that must mean all the big cards are out– making it much more likely for his small cards to hit the flop. This would almost make sense if you could be certain that your opponents have “drawing hands” like Ace/King… but if they hold aces (as I did in this case) or kings (as did the early position raiser) you are such a huge underdog with a weak speculative hand that playing in these pots is always a losing proposition.

When he dragged the pot, I congratulated him on his “excellent” play… which is always the right thing to do in this situation. You WANT players to make bad plays like this. I know it sucks at the time, but when players call your 3 or 4 bets with a weak hand like this, you make money in the long run. Just be glad they are suckers, and that the suckers have some chips for you to win. If they didn’t occasionally win with plays like this, they’d stop making them… and that would result in less dead money for you to win!