Everyone knows this cool feeling when, after a long drought, you finally get dealt pocket aces (AA). While this is the best possible starting hand in poker, it still doesn’t guarantee you will win a big pot (or even a small one).
To maximize your value with your AAs, you must avoid many of the common and expensive mistakes that most people make with their monsters.
In today’s article, we are going to tell you about 5 AA mistakes that can cost you money .
Mistake # 1: Slow-play preflop (especially versus an open-raise).
When you have pocket aces in your hands, your best option is always try to inflate the pot as quickly as possible. This means that you have to open-raise if no one has opened yet, or 3-bet and 4-bet. This way you will be able to win larger pots on average. so you have to learn when to play poker fast and slow.
The only exception is when you can slow-play AA preflop is if you get 4-bet in 100bb stacks. With this action, the SPR will be very low, so it will be easy for you to expose and take the entire stack post flop. In addition, you give your opponent the opportunity to do something stupid on the flop.
This move is primarily appropriate against players who can 4-bet wide bluffs. If your opponent is a very tight player, from whom you do not expect to 4-bet / fold, then you can safely 5-bet so that the flop does not come out, which would allow him to jump off with a hand with which he could easily have exhibited preflop. You can also slow-play aces against 3-bets if there are 20-50 big blinds in effective stacks.
Mistake # 2: Changing sizing preflop.
You will often notice that some players, when they are dealt a strong premium hand, begin to change sizing (open-raise or 3-bet). If your goal is to play a big pot with AA, then you should keep your bet sizes constant with all types of hands in your range. This will make it much more difficult to play against you.
Using an unusually large size can alert your opponent, causing him to fold more often with hands that he would normally have planned to call. Or he might start calling hands that he would have 3-bet with by default. First of all, this, of course, concerns thoughtful, attentive players who will pay attention to your sizing and, in general, your playing style. Against cheeky fish, you can usually vary the sizing to your liking.
Mistake # 3: wanting to play a big pot in a multi-pot
Multi-pots are very different from heads-up pots. The complexity of the situation increases exponentially with the increase in the number of players in the pot. And that’s why: Against two or more opponents, your AA will have much worse equity.
- The more players there are in the pot, the higher the probability that one of them will run over your aces.
- In a multi-pot, the pot on the flop is about 50% larger than normal, which further pushes you to play a big pot.
- So when you see a multi-pot player looking to put a lot of money in the pot, especially on dangerous boards, you often have to find difficult hero folds with your AAs.
Remember that the relative strength of your hands is much lower in these situations!
Mistake # 4: Playing too passive postflop.
This error goes hand in hand with mistake # 1. If you hit a strong hand on the flop – and this will always happen when you have AA – you should generally try to play it quickly.
If you have the opportunity to bet, then you yourself choose which bet-sizing is preferable to you. If you check, you are giving this advantage to your opponent, who may choose a sizing that suits him, or may not bet at all.
In general, it’s important to remember one simple poker truth:
Poker players tend to call a bet much more often than they bet themselves.
Another advantage of betting is that you force your opponent to give out some information about his hand. If he calls, for example, on some kind of wood board, on which most of the two pairs + would go into a raise, then you understand that you are most likely ahead now, and therefore you can safely bet on the turn, especially on blank cards.
We remind you that this applies primarily to heads-up pots. In multi-pots with AA, passive flop play is often appropriate and correct. You can always get your value on the turn and river.
Mistake # 5: overestimating AA’s strength on dangerous boards.
Generally speaking, low to mid card draw flops are better suited to the preflop caller than the aggressor. As a result, you have to play much more passively on these textures with your entire range, including AA.
On such a board, your opponent will have a much higher concentration of sets, two pair, and sets in his range than you. Since you opened from UTG, your range will be heavily biased into Broadway overcards and high to medium pocket pairs. As for the caller, he can have all hands, such as 44, 87 or 65.
This upper-range advantage (aka the nut advantage ) allows your opponent to put a lot of pressure on your c-bets.
In these situations, AA can often go into a passive check mode and then bluff-catch. On these textures, one pair hands are usually not good enough to value bet three barrels, so when you check-call, you won’t lose much value. It is also important to clarify that it is worth checking first with high pocket pairs like KK and AA, as they are the least vulnerable to overcards that can come out on the following streets. With lower pairs like TT, it’s much better to bet the flop yourself, both for value and defense.
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