I am definitely an advocate of the poker school that says you should never disgrace an Ace. However, getting yourself to fixated on playing or hanging on to any Aces that come your way could also just be another road to a form of poker perdition, if you don’t properly understand what to do with pairs or single Aces coming your way.
A pair of aces in the hole
She looks loaded with more than a pair of Aces?
I’m pretty confident that I’m correct in saying that every poker players
dream is to get a pair of Aces as their hole cards
. The reason for this is quite simple, with a pair of pre-flop aces
– at that moment you’re holding the best hand possible. OK after the flop an opponent might yet turn a royal or even a straight flush
against you, but statistically at that moment you’re the one in pole position going into the flop. However, do remember that there are five more cards
to come and anything can happen, like you everyone else has two cards that are merely the building blocks for the final hands
that are held. So, with the confidence you should gain from holding a pair of aces
now is the time to put pressure on your opponents – before the flop comes. As soon as the betting comes around to you – you have to raise
and make your raise a bold one, simply oozing confidence. If someone before you has already raised – raise the fear of God in the rest of the players by re-raising
and don’t forget to make it a bold one! You’ll quickly learn just how good the opposition hands are and you can always bet out
after the flop. If someone tries to raise after your raise, then you do need to be a bit cautious, they could well be holding two pictures
of the same suit and be looking for a royal flush – but remember we’re still pre-flop
so anything could happen to them and you’re still the favorite. If the flop should reveal the possibility of a Royal flush and nothing for you then it might just be time to let the aces go
; however, somehow I doubt it happening. If you have a pair of Aces there really is no point in immediately calling everyone else
at this point, as you’ll simply end up with a pot that could have been oh so much bigger – had you stuck to your guns.
Getting same suit Ace-King pre-flop
Same suit Ace-King is a pretty good pair of hole cards you know.
I guess if you can’t have a pair of Aces in the hole then Ace-King
(AK) has to be a pretty good second best for a Texas Hold ‘em
game. Even better if they’re in the same suit then you’re automatically the prime candidate for a winning Royal flush
and only a pair can be ahead of you at this point. So, exactly the same as for a pair of Aces, you’re in a really strong position here and must test out your opponents by raising as soon as the betting come around to you. Again, if someone else has already raised then it’s time for you to put that bold confident face on again and re-raise. If you’re a fan of TV poker games, don’t pay too much attention to the fact that the big TV players will shove everything into the pot as soon as an AK comes their way pre-flop. Such play is fine in a poker tournament
, if the odds are 50:50 against there being a pocket pair lower than the lowest table card. So, in a side game
be it online poker
or in a casino, or even at the start of a tournament, bide your time and gather that all important intelligence as to what the other players are holding. Raising or re-raising before the flop
will always alert your opponents to the chances of having a big hand
to play against. Missing the flop and betting out
as a bluff isn’t really an option for you here as your opponents will in all likelihood sense you’re holding AK and simply play their own regular game – rather than one that you dictate to them by having raised. However, chances are that you’ll get the pot
as it stands, if you do miss the flop
to get the next card or, if you think someone else is weak and bluffing
bet again and see what the response is. If someone still wants to play hard-ball with you, it might be time to give up – no point in risking all of your chips
Playing the single Ace
A single Ace like this deserves a little attention don't you think?
In the hole I’d still assert that a single Ace
is better than none. Here the principle of “never disgrace an Ace” can fall apart somewhat, leaving aside the same suit AK scenario outlined above – it really is a question of what the Ace comes with
. The problem arises if someone calls after you’ve raised with an Ace
, they too in all probability have an Ace and your problem is what do they have with it? If you should be fortunate enough to get a King as a kicker
then you’re in business; however, if you get something like a six or worse – you’re in a no-mans land with the risk that the opponent(s) have better kickers. You can’t miss the flop and even if the flop brings another Ace to give a pair
– you could still be behind. Going into the flop AK, AQ and just about AJ will be OK, anything less and you need to be very weary of hanging on to that Ace. Your best bet is probably to look for two pairs
. But whatever you do, even with two pairs, don’t get carried away and go all-in
as the bigger Ace hand will call you.