We all know this great feeling that you get when you peek at your hole cards and find you’re holding a big pair, like two Aces, or two Kings. Of course, there’s also nothing worse than watching your big pair go down in flames to a hand like the Jack-Nine of Spades. That’s why this article is devoted to teaching you about how to get the most value out of your big pairs when they come your way.
Well, we can’t guarantee you’re going to win the pot every time you’re holding pocket Aces, Kings, or Queens. Well yeah, no kidding! But what we can do is to give you some guidelines that will improve the odds that your big pairs will indeed stand more often than not.
Firstly, and most importantly: don’t be afraid to raise or re-raise your big hands before the flop.
Aces, Kings, and Queens are the strongest starting hands you can have in poker, and there’s no reason you should be scared of playing a big pot when you’re holding these hands. Especially when you can narrow down the field to just one or two opponents!
Remember, the value of big pairs goes down as a number of players in a pot goes up. Which means, limping in from early position with a hand like Aces can be very, very dangerous. By limping into the pot, you’re giving everyone acting behind you better odds to see the flop with a wide variety of hands that can beat you on later streets.
If no one raises behind you, you’re gonna have to be very, very careful about playing your hand; unless you flop a set, or better!
Also, don’t be afraid to raise with a hand like Kings or Queens, purely because you’re scared of running into Aces. If it happens, it happens! And that’s just part of the game. The fact is big hands don’t come around very often. You should be looking to play them aggressively, by raising and re-raising before the flop. Once the flop is dealt and you feel like you are facing a better hand, then don’t be afraid to fold your big pair, and then look for a better spot later in the tournament!
For example, if you’re holding Queens, and the flop comes down Ace, King, Four, with your opponent’s betting into you, you have a pretty good fold there. Chances are your hand is no good! We would also say that if you have two black aces, and the flop comes down Eight, Nine, Ten of Diamonds, you’d better have a look at minimizing your losses, or even fold, if the action becomes too intense. They’re just our horrible flops that come out sometimes when you have pocket Aces or pocket Kings. And you just have to be smart, and make your exit with a smaller loss.
In this entry, we’ve tried to explain that you don’t always have to go all-in pre-flop if you have top pairs. Even some major pro players like Phil Ivey and Daniel Negreanu show that it’s OK to do this, as their later games have demonstrated. Remember that the value of your top pair decreases drastically if the pot goes multiway; and that the deeper you are into the game, the more chances you have to face some strong hands that are capable of beating your own pairs.
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