You would think that this would be one of the easiest articles I have ever had to write. Aces? Hell yeah, raise! Easy.
The objective of playing Aces, as with any other hand you play, is to make as much money with it as possible. With the elusive bullets being dealt to you on average only once every 220 hands, the opportnity to play them well is few and far between. Playing Aces well can only be acheived by first understanding a few key facts about those pocket rockets.
Aces get cracked from time to time. You should never expect to win just because you hold the best possible starting hand pre-flop. And no, getting your Aces cracked is not automatically a bad beat, it’s just plain unlucky. It’s part of poker. Get over it.
Aces will win against any one random hand roughly 84% of the time. But this fairly large percentage soon starts to dip as more and more players fight you for the pot. To combat this, you need to be raising with your Aces so as to weed out mediocre hands.
Remember, when betting and raising with Aces, the aim is to isolate one, maybe two other players by jacking up the price so that it’s not a cheap call for players with average hands that could connect on the flop and beat you. Also, you have to be careful not to price out the other premium hands that are at the table otherwise you will not get paid. Every situation is different, so use the above as a guide and adjust according to your situation.
Ideally you want to be up against another pocket pair, or a big ace such as AK or AQ. Opponents with pocket pairs will only have 2 outs to hit, and opponents with big aces will have to catch some miracle cards.
This can seriously come back to bite you hard. I will admit, it is always tempting to think that you can disguise your hand by flying in under the radar and limping to the flop. But be warned, this will always get you into trouble. As mentioned before, you do not want to give loose players the opportunity to outdraw you on the flop for cheap. Make your opponents pay to see the flop and usually the only cards left in the hand will be those smaller pocket pairs and big aces I spoke about earlier.
If you really want to disguise your hand when you bet, then just bet or raise the same amount as you did with your last premium hand.
Sometimes you will raise only for the rest of the table to fold. This happens from time to time and can be frustrating when you do not get paid off. However you still win the blinds and get to project a more agressive table image.
If everyone folds to you, do not show your aces. You do not want to let your opponents know how you play your aces. Instead, if you like, just show one ace and you will get a bit more respect for your raises from the table in future.
Right now, pre-flop, you have the best hand at the table. No one is beating you. At worst its a draw. However once that flop comes out it could all change.
The trouble with Aces, as good as they are, they hardly ever get better by the river. The only thing that can make your hand better is hitting another ace to make trips. Which is unlikely with only two aces left in the deck. Making a nut-flush with one of your aces is near impossible and if you flop a full house, you still can’t be 100% sure you have the best hand.
By the river you want to either have won the hand already through agression, or be left against just one other opponent. Study the community cards and try to put your opponent on a hand that would justify them calling all of your previous big bets and raises.
Remember, if your hand does not improve by the river and there are still a few players in the hand, all you have is a single pair which is only one up in hand-rank from a high card.
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