How To Play Pocket Aces Preflop

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In no-limit Texas Hold’em there are many ways you can play pocket aces. Your positioning will of course affect how you bet them but in general most people raise pre-flop. Sometimes you might push all in if you’re short stacked and try to entice some callers who think you’re just trying to push them around. If you”re lucky they’ll call and things will work out in your favor, but it doesn’t always work out that way. When you push all in and someone calls you it’s simply up to the gods. You can’t do anything anymore. There’s no chances for psychological warfare. The other person’s KQ off suit could easily bring them two pair and your only hope is that the rest of the board pairs. You never know.

Statistically, your chances are best when you raise pre-flop. The question then remains, how much. Three times the blind is a standard raise. So, if the table is a tight table and no one really seems to be pushing anyone around then three times the blind is probably sufficient enough to push out the junk cards that you eliminate. If the table seems loose however you’ll want to bump it up even more. Say five or six times the blinds. This will make people thoroughly examine their hands and decide whether or not they’re willing to push it all in. Why I say this is because if you’re willing to call something blind for five or six times the blind you have to be willing to also take it to the end which may or may not mean pushing all your chips. If you’re not willing to do this from the start you shouldn’t be calling. But none of that matters to you, heck, you want them to call because before the flop, you have the best hand.

Now a less conventional manner of playing is the “slow play”. When you”re slow playing your cards you might just call the blind or raise the blinds one time, a “baby bump”. This is my preferred method of playing when I have a sizable stack of chips or have just been seated at a new table because it makes me come across as less threatening. No one suspects you then. If you raised a hand like A 10 three times the blind earlier in the game and then you just call or do a baby bump with your aces, no one will ever know. The risk in slow playing is that you’ll let someone else catch something. If you just call then the blinds might have a 3 4 and the flop gives them a straight. Again, you never know. It’s a risk. But on the upside, say you do a baby bump and there are four callers, including the blinds, and the flop comes J 2 7. There are no flush draws possible and obviously no straight possibilities except for a runner, runner pull which is highly unlikely. You have the perfect set up to pull a lot of cash out of this hand. Small bets, enough to keep the majority of the players in but enough to make your efforts worth it. Or maybe you in the action seat of the dealer and can watch what everyone does. You might just call someone else”s bet, then on the turn raise their bet slightly. Slow playing pocket aces is risky but it can definitely be worth it. I’ve had hands that I walked away with five hundred dollars from a low limit table (a $50 buy-in table) because I slowly pulled it out of the other players. But the best part, was after that hand they had no idea how to read me. I never play a hand the exact same way so there’s no sign as to what I have. Why raise pocket aces when you can raise pocket twos then hit a set on the flop and really screw their minds? Psychological warfare.

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