UK Poker Player Poker Strategy Articles Best Way To Play Pocket Aces

Best Way To Play Pocket Aces

Posted by David Cowell on August 25, 2010 at 1:33 BST

pocket acesThere is a lot of debate about the right way to play AA in Texas Hold´em poker, with notable figures such as Phil Hellmuth and Doyle Brunson advocating going all-in after a re-raise, and Dan Harrington and Randy Ray suggesting that it is better to increase the value of the pot first without driving everyone away with a big shove.

Although Harrington and Ray´s strategies allow more players into a pot (and once there are four players in a pot AA is no longer clear favourite to win) one has to agree that simply stealing the blinds, as would happen if there were no raises and everybody folded after your shove, does seem to be a waste of an opportunity.

With AA coming up once every 221 hands, you do not want to realise that you have made a mistake by shoving to capture no more than the few blinds and have to wait another three hours before you get the opportunity to redeem yourself!

When you get AA, how you play them should be determined by table position, the dynamics of the table, your situation in a game or tournament and how you have played your premium hands previously.

Limping into a pot with AA is never ideal, because you run the risk of letting somebody in late position crack your aces with 78 suited.

If you are chip leader in a tournament, you may well play AA more aggressively than when just outside the cash in a big tournament, or if you are short-stacked and have already seen a number of all-in bets get called, you may well decide that it is best to take the risk.

Probably the most important factor in how you should play AA, is how you have played your premium hands previously. In these days of poker software and instant hand histories, players only have to look at their screen to see that you only ever limp into the pot with anything other than a top pair.

Seeing this information, or referring to the notes they have maintained on you, will indicate to them that they should fold. Variety is the spice of life, and in poker, varying your bet sizes keeps your opponents guessing about the quality of your hand.

There may be circumstances when you want to convince the rest of the table that you are holding a premium pair in your hand, but as a rule of thumb varying your bets sizes and not going all-in with AA will make a 220/1 chance a lot more profitable.