When should I be folding pocket aces? I seem to lose a lot of pots with them. Ben from UK
We chose Ben’s question as our featured free question this month. Folding pocket aces is an issue many beginners and even experienced players have, particularly in cash games or early stage tournaments so we thought this would be a useful question and answer to share with our readers.
Thanks for your question. Pocket aces are the best possible hand before the flop in No Limit Texas Holdem but they are also one of the most overplayed after the flop. Professionals pick off beginners who have trouble folding pocket aces in cash games all the time. They will tap the table and say unlucky while raking in a 200BB pot.
To answer your question though, there are many occasions when you should be folding pocket aces.
- Facing a turn re-raise from a tight player is almost always 2 pair or better in cash games
- Facing a check raise in a multi-way pot
- On a 4 to flush board (if you are lacking the suit)
- On a 4 to straight board
The scenarios above are simplistic and obvious to experienced players but not always to a player new to the game.You also need to be careful on paired boards or boards where two pairs easily fit your opponents preflop calling range e.g KQx, KJx & QJx.
Above all you need to think, as the pot builds, is your opponent the type to play a one pair hand for this much? If it’s unlikely then you need to step back and assess. Your opponents tendencies are just as important as board texture when choosing how much to commit to a hand with pocket aces.
The other thing to remember with pocket aces is you always remember the times you lose with them. You expect to always win but the fact is you are not guaranteed to win, even in tournaments you are about 80% against a lower pair. That’s favourable odds but you are expected to lose 1 in 5 in this situation. That’s not so rare is it?
Pocket aces should be your most profitable hand to play but it is also just a one pair hand. In deep stacked games, the better players are manoeuvring and looking for spots to play big pots with better than one pair hands. This means you need to adapt. Consider the board texture, your image, your opponents likely range and their tendencies before playing a big pot. As you gain experience you will appreciate the value of pot control and effective bet sizing. You will also learn to hand read and have less trouble folding pocket aces.
Hope this helps.