Pocket Aces in Texas Hold ‘Em

It’s the most powerful hand you can be dealt in Texas Hold ‘Em, but it’s not the easiest to play — something like 72 offsuit would be because you’d know to just fold! In fact, I’ve found that if you go in hard with AA, you end up scaring off other players, particularly in limit games and let’s face it, stealing the blinds is great if you’re holding garbage, but slowplaying through the flop and to the turn can be the best way to go, especially in Limit games.

In limit, betting it preflop is typically the right move. You can choose to reraise it, but I’ve found that if I have a chance to be deceptive after someone has reraised and cut down the field, I take it slow and low so I can actually play poker and get the most out of the cards I’m holding. For no-limit, card play tends to be much more situation-oriented. However, I would seldom slow play AA at a full table, especially in cash games.

For any table of five or more people, slowplaying is not usually the best option. You want to raise preflop just like you would any other decent hand: make a standard 3x or 4x raise, or raise the most you expect will be called by your opponent if you’ve managed to get a read on them. It can sometimes be a good idea to slow play after someone else has raised, but that’s really only if you expect the pot to go to heads-up or three way. The last thing you want is to pick up AA and end up in an 8-way pot with it. Playing AA into an 8-way pot in no-limit can often lead to problems, especially as a donkey may well fumble their way into a great hand.

That said, you want to make sure you don’t shut out all of the action before the flop. It’s no fun to steal the blinds with AA, so wait until there’s action to go in guns blazing. AA in late position is the best way to make the most money from a little bit of work.

Perhaps the best AA advice I can offer players is to stay a bit fluid with how you play it. It’s common knowledge that everyone slowplays AA, so you want to make sure you monkey around a bit and keep your opponents on their toes.