The Beginners Guide to Pocket Kings

Pocket Kings

Pocket Kings

Pocket kings are the second nuts pre flop. That’s not something people say very much but worth remembering. Otherwise known as cowboys, they are the second-best possible hand in Texas Hold’em.  They have a slight disadvantage to pocket aces. There is the possibility of an overcard on the flop. This makes them more vulnerable and cause players to make 2 common errors.

Bet them too hard and lose action

Play them scared and miss out on value

Beginner Texas Hold’em Question

What are pocket kings?

Pocket kings are when you have a pair of kings in your hand in Texas Hold’em.

What are the odds of pocket aces vs pocket kings?

It may seem crazy, but at a full ring table, the odds of you having pocket kings and another opponent pocket aces is 4.4%. That is quite high isn’t it? That’s almost 1 in 20 times you have pocket kings.

How to play pocket kings

King should be played aggressively and fast. They come round roughly 1 in 220 times and should be one of the most profitable hands for you. They should be raised from every position and 3 bet too. There are situations to be wary of, particularly in deep stacked cash games though.

Paired boardsIf you are getting alot of action on a paired board, think about slowing down. Paired boards are notorious for breaking overpairs.
Multi-way potsRelative hand strength is an important concept to understand. Kings are a great hand but if you are 4 way and there is alot of action going on, think twice. Regardless of board texture, a lot of action 4 way is reason to slow down. One pair rarely wins when there is more people in the pot
Flush boardsThere’s no reason to always fear a flush but sometimes its obvious. If there are 3 to a flush and your opponent has check called down and started firing turn or river, it may be time to get out of the pot.
Connected boardsIn a deep stacked cash game, kings don’t look so great on boards like 6-7-8 or T-9-8. Cash game players love suited connectors and will happily call a pre flop raise hoping to bust big pairs.
Turn check raiseA check/call followed by a turn check raise represents supreme strength. It’s rarely a bluff and often a monster. This is a concept lost on beginners but heed this warning and you will save money.


Pocket kings are a great hand and should make you money. Yes an ace will come out sometimes but as long as you don’t get wedded to the hand, you will be fine. If an ace comes or a dangerous board, just exercise some pot control. You can always value bet more on river if you’ve judged your hand to be good still.

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Narciso Baldo is the Director and Head Coach of Texas Hold'em Questions. He has been playing poker for over 16 years. After spending many years as a professional, he now runs UK poker training site Texas Hold'em Questions. Narciso regularly writes poker articles sharing tips, strategy, news and experience with gambling enthusiasts. Narciso also writes for reputable gambling portal Casino City Times, (bio here). Contact: