Playing Pocket Aces

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Playing online poker is full of ups and downs. You will spend a lot of time simply waiting for hands to play. Spend this time watching your opponents, so you know who you are playing against when you do pick up a hand.

One hand you play just about every time you get it is pocket aces. Sure you would play it shorthanded at the final table of a tournament, but you are no less likely to play them while grinding out the best party poker bonus you could find.

One of the most challenging situations in poker is when you are dealt a pair of pocket aces. Considered the best starting hand in a game of Texas Hold’em, pocket aces are challenging. Owing to the potential they hold for winning the pot, play them carefully at the right position on all streets.

With pocket aces, you have a high chance of winning the hand pre-flop, however, the chances of winning after the flop, at the turn and river are contingent on a few factors.

Here are the streets on which you may have to play your pocket aces:

Pre-flop

At the pre-flop, you should ideally raise when you have a pair of pocket aces – irrespective of your position. When you raise, you will be better able to thin down the field to merely one or two players. This is possible when you catch the flop and add money to the pot simultaneously. A pre-flop raise with pocket aces is suitable only when you opt to slow-play them.

Early and middle positions: With pocket aces, you can opt to make a powerful opening raise if no one else has done so before you in the early and middle positions. The amount you raise for will be contingent on the nature of the game, so if it is extremely loose, you may be forced to raise very high. In case a player has raised the pot, you can re-raise that amount.

Late position: If you are in the late position and the pot has not been raised, your raise should ideally be small. If the pot has been raised, you can limit the number of players in the game by re-raising it. Ideally you should aim to go to the flop against one player when you have pocket aces.

Flop

When you enter the flop with pocket aces, your hand has a significantly high value. However, the probability of improving your hand on this street is relatively small. This is because, the odds of being able to make a set on the flop are 7.5:1, and winning the pot does not require you to improve your hand.

If the board has undercards at the flop, it can be extremely beneficial, especially when you have the pocket aces. If you get the strongest possible over-pair, you will have the best hand in the game. In this situation, it is best to bet high here so that the drawing hands pay to bet. If you are looking to make a flop at the set, and get a third ace, you have the potential to have best hand in the game if your opponent has a two pair or lower. However, if a player calls you on the flop, chances are that he has a top pair or is going to draw a flush or a straight.

Turn and river

When you are at the turn or the river and have pocket aces, you have two options: to fold or raise. It is best to fold when a player has re-raised here. The opponent is likely to re-raise when he makes a straight or a flush. He may do this if he has slow played his two pair or set, or has been bluffing. Also, if you get your third ace at the turn or river, your decision to raise should be based on your assessment of your opponent’s hand range. Because, if he made a straight or flush with the ace, it may be best to avoid raising.

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