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How to play AA

Pocket aces are the best possible hand pre-flop and should be your most profitable hand in the long run. That doesn't mean they are easy to play, though, and playing them wrong will lead to disaster.

The most obvious advice is to never fold them pre-flop. If you can't call all-in with AA pre-flop, then clearly you have too much money at the table and/or are playing at stakes you can't afford. You should never feel nervous about calling all-in with AA pre-flop.

In order to play AA properly, you are going to want to raise or re-raise with them almost every time you get them. If you are in an early position and you have one or more players that almost always raise acting after you, it might be OK just to call and hope to re-raise, but the vast majority of the time it is best just to raise.

Part of the reason you always want to raise is that AA is beatable. You don't want to be playing against random cards because they might hit two pair on a board that gives you no chance to fold. The other reason you want to raise is to get money in the pot when you can. Something like K10 might call a raise pre-flop but surely won't hang around on a 7 3 J pot even if it is cheap to stay.

The next question is how much to raise (assuming you are playing no limit)? It is probably best to just raise your standard amount - four big blinds works well - and not try to get fancy. Raising more or less than normal might tip other players off that you have a good hand.

In the event someone re-raises you, it is usually best to go all-in. They have already indicated that they think they have a good hand and very well might throw their whole stack behind the hand. Re-raises are rare from most typical players, so you will more likely get one to two callers instead.

On the flop and turn AA should be played aggressively, but not excessively so. A half pot sized bet is good for drawless flops, while a 3/4 pot bet is advisable for draw flops, as you want to punish drawers. It is important to remember AA is only one pair and thus fairly beatable. If your bet is raised, it is probably best just to call and not re-raise in most situations. If a draw hits on the turn or river, you should probably check and call rather than betting out. This method has the added advantage of tempting silly bluffs out of novice players.

Finally, if you have reason to believe you are beat (such as big bets coming from a good player, or a very scary looking board), you definitely have to consider folding. Refusing to fold AA when it is clearly beat is a sure way to go broke.

JackRag


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