The best possible hand dealt in Texas Hold’em is pocket Aces and a pair of Aces beats any hand at that stage. However in Hold’em, the game isn’t over (most of the time) until five community cards have been placed at the middle of the table.
Your Aces will win about 80% of the time when you are heads up against one player but there is only a 31.1 percent chance of winning with a pair of aces against nine random hands played to the end.
Two Aces is in average only going to show up in your hand once out of every 220 hands dealt and the odds of catching a set (three of a kind) by the river is 11.8%.
You’re always going to have the best chance of winning before the flop when you have pocket Aces, but the more people there are in a hand, the less chance you have of actually winning. Common sense should therefore tell you to always raise a big enough amount when holding a pair of Aces to eliminate the field and at the same time getting more money in to the pot.
A poker simulation program will show you that A-A heads up (out of a 100 hands played) will beat K-K, 81 times, Q-Q, 81 times, J-J, 80 times, A-K suited 88 times and A-K, 93 times.
Pocket Aces all in pre-flop against three opponents holding K-K, Js-10s, and 7-7 will only win 51% of the time.
K-K wins 15%, Js-10s wins 18% and 7-7 wins 16% of the time.
This essentially substantiates what’s been said above. Pocket Aces decreases in value as more players are in the hand to the bitter end.
Even though pocket Aces is the best possible hand dealt in Texas Hold’em, folding A-A will in many situations still be the correct decision to make. Many players refuse to lay down pocket Aces no matter what cards are on the board or whatever situation they are facing.
Lets say you have been dealt two black Aces and three hearts come on the flop and there is a bet and a raise before its your turn to act. You will, in this situation, most likely be up against a made flush, so folding your hand will be the right move to make.
There are also many occasions in tournament play when you should seriously considering mucking A-A pre-flop depending on your own and the other players chip stack, position, places paid, and amount paid.
Lets say you’re in a satellite with only four other players left. The top three spots pay a seat into a tournament, the fourth place pays nothing. All four of you have equal chip stacks and two of the other players goes all-in.
Another example when it can be correct to fold pocket Aces is in a super satellite when you have around a third of the chips, eight players win seats, there are nine players remaining, and a player with more chips than you moves all in.
Another situation where you should fold pocket Aces pre-flop is when you don’t like money.
You will see many novice players overplay this hand when in reality unimproved you still only have a one pair hand, which likely isn’t good when facing resistance.
The majority of times, however, a pair of aces should be played aggressively in order to narrow down the field, but there are also some situations when only calling or checking with them can be very profitable.
Just calling with your pocket Aces when you are one of the first players to act in a no-limit 10-handed game can be dangerous but also very profitable. What you are hoping for with this move is that someone bets big and than you go all-in when the action comes back to you, hoping for a heads up showdown.
Letting your opponent see the flop for free in a heads-up situation can also be a dangerous but profitable way to play a pair of Aces. What you hope for here is that he catches some of the flop or tries to bluff you out of the pot.
You have a lot of variables to consider every time you find pocket Aces staring at you, and every hand seems to play different from the previous one. How you play them depends on whom you’re up against, your position, and what kind of game you are in.
Just try to analyze your situation every time and you’ll end up making the right play most of the time after being dealt pocket rockets.