If you're into heavy poker discussion read the comment left on my last post before you read this one! Otherwise, you can skip this post!
Gavin wouldn't have any idea how I play. I know who he is (and actually met him in person at the Commerce once years ago), but I'd just been moved to the table. Another thing to consider in this problem is the fact that we were playing six handed. In a full game it takes a much stronger hand to make plays than it does with fewer players. It might not seem like going from 9 to 6 players is a monumental difference, but it is. As a result he might not fear my reraise as much as you would in a full game.
You make a good point when you say "I can't see him making a play on you here. I wouldn't call your re-raise with AJ but maybe he does and then there's a chance he would push all in, but what would he put you on? You re-raised preflop and called a big overbet on the flop with a player to act behind you. You almost certainly have AJ beat."
It's pretty unlikely that he'd push with a hand that couldn't beat KK. In fact I had some small hope that he might even fold AA if he had it! The one exception might be if he had something like a straight flush draw or a pair and a flush draw and just decided to get it in there and take his chances.
While I presented the case that it was possible that he could have other hands, and even though it was six handed which tends to produce more action, my read was that he had AA. And that's the brass tacks of the hand. It just felt like AA to me. In fact, I would have put the likelihood at around 70%.
To be successful at poker you have to trust your reads. Even if you can't fully justify it (and you never had time in the moment to do full analysis) you just have to go with your feelings sometimes. It happens much more in person when you find yourself thinking "I don't know what he has, but I feel like I'm beat."
If I let the hand go and I was wrong it's a minor mistake at most. If I call 7,500 and then have to fold to an all in, it's a good sized mistake and doing what I did by moving all in was a major mistake. The blinds were 25/50 and I had 25,000 chips! You don't need to take chances for 80% of your stack when you're not sure if you have 500 big blinds left!
Another thing that this hand brings to light is the idea of making big laydowns. That's often mentioned as one of the things that separates the pros from the good amateurs. When you play thousands of hands a day like I do, especially in limit cash games, you don't need to make huge folds because one hand isn't really that much more important than the next. But playing $1,000+ tournaments requires you to sometimes say "This is a great hand and normally I would never do this, but since I have a ton of chips and thus plenty of time, I'm going to wait until I'm a little more sure to put myself at risk."
These are all things I know. I try to remind myself of them frequently. In fact I think I'm stronger than most pros when it comes to theory and justifying action with solid logic. But poker (online poker especially) moves quickly and it's easy to make mistakes. That's why experience is so important.
I'd like to say "the next time I come across a situation like this I'll be ready!" But there is no way in hell I'm ever going to be in a 6 handed game with kings, reraise, get smooth called by someone I know is a world class player, and have someone move all in on the flop for 3 times the pot in front of both of us!