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What is the best way to play Pocket Aces?

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Why is it that Pocket Aces seem to rock preflop, but rattle away in strength postflop?
asked Sep 30, 2015 in Strategies by Poqery ( 81,023 points)

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THE MONSTER
 
The hand starts and the cards are dealt around
 The two red Aces are what you have found
 You consider your options and the players in the group
 Do I slow play check raise or all-in in one swoop
 The hand seems to haunt you at every turn 
 It usually ends with a terrible chip burn
 You choose the slow play and take the chance 
 It seems the best way for you to advance
 You flop a rainbow with a Jack the high card
 Still you don't trust this hand so you bet it hard
 With two calls made you start to doubt
 And start to remember that's what this hand is about
 The turn rolls off and shows you a Three
 One more big bet you hope is the key
 With one caller in you hope for the best 
 And a Ten comes out to destroy your quest
 Four to the straight is what's on the board 
 He goes all-in and it strikes a cord
 The best hand in poker is what they say
 But it's so irritating to have to play
 The chase will kill it half of the time 
 And the pre-flop all-in will end in a crime
 You think back to the beginning and what you were dealt 
 It's taken your chip count down to the felt
 No matter how you play it or plan in your head 
 It seems the end is always The Monster is dead
answered Oct 1, 2015 by dreamzofdark ( 3,235 points)
selected Oct 2, 2015 by Poqery
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In a tournament, A-A is very strong preflop because you can move all-in with it when you are short-stacked and you can call someone with it after someone moves all-in, which happens frequently to avoid the danger of blinding out ignominously.

A-A enjoys about a 19-to-1 edge over A-x (and this includes A-K and A-Q), a 17-to-3 edge against any two unpaired cards, and a 4-to-1 edge against a lower pocket pair.

Of course, K-K and Q-Q are the biggest casualties here; even big stacks in a torunament explode because of these two hands facing A-A.

However, postflop, A-A  seems to have less and less of invincibility.

Consider the following AA examples:

1. If the Flop comes K-Q-J, you have a Straight draw, but someone may have a made Straight, or even Two-Pair.

2. If it comes 8-5-2, a player will not be in there with you unless the player has 8-x (and don’t expect that player to continue betting big unless that player has 8-8) or 7-6.

If the Nine or the Four comes you and your Aces will be drawing dead.

3. With a Board of 9-Q-Q-10 you should be scared of the extra Queen especially if the other player keeps bashing on you.

And, since you are holding A-A, it is psychologically difficult to give up.

It would not be as hard as to give up smaller Pairs (like J-J).

Do not hope of building up a large pot with A-A beyond the Flop.

At the end, if A-A is the only hand you have, then do not be surprised once they get racked by a Straight, a Flush ot Two-Pair – It is once mentioned that Two-Pair is the average winning hand in Texas Hold’em.

  • > A player does not hope to be in there unless he has a premium strength made hand or at least Two-Pair, and players, at the end, do not play top pair strongly.
  • > Thus, in a board of K-10-6-5-3, if you want a large pot with A-A, you should have played strongly at the Flop and gambled that your opponent had K-Q or K-J.
  • > If both of you get all your chips on a Board of K-10-6, this is what you want with your A-A.You are still the favorite at this point.
  • > Whereas, if the Board reaches K-10-6-5-3, your opponent might not play K-Q or K-J strongly, and so will just call small bets and fold to large ones.
  • > Perhaps your opponent will suck you out – with a 6-5.

Finally, the last weakness with A-A is that it breaks down in the presence of a Set.

Because a Set is difficult to read, if you have A-A in a flop of 10-5-2 (all relatively rags), your opponent plays strongly.

You suspect 10-x or an overpair, and then and you suddenly play A-A more strongly and your opponent calls – with a 10-10 or 5-5.

You’re almost finished. There are no overcards, so you will not be tempted to fold, (K-K does not suffer from this defect in that in a flop of A-x-x, it will be easy for you to give up K-K or play is slowly.

Both of you – the one with the 10-10 and you with A-A – should get their chips in preflop.

If 10-10 wins, it’s just bad luck for you. If, postflop above, if 10-10 wins, it’s both skill for him and bad luck for you.

Of course you want a large pot preflop with A-A. Just move all-in and hope that someone has a strong hand like Q-Q or A-K to call you.

  • > That is the most probable way to win a large pot. If everyone folds, still the pot is yours.
  • > Postflop, control the size of the pot (unless you hit a Set or a Full House).
  • > Try to win a small pot.
  • > Big pots postflop should be typically won with complete five-card hands like Straights or Flushes.
answered Sep 30, 2015 by Poqery ( 81,023 points)