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Poker Strategy | Beginner's Poker

Aces vs. Kings

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Over the last few years as a poker dealer, I have often heard players at the table discuss whether or not they had ever thrown away pocket Kings pre-flop. I remember the very first time I ever heard this discussion. It was during the 2003 World Series of Poker. Annie Duke and another pro were discussing this very topic. While Annie said that she never had, but believed that she could in the right situation, the other pro said that under no circumstances would he ever do it. He said that the situation of Aces vs. Kings is just too rare, and folding Kings just can’t be profitable.

A few nights ago, while dealing at the Bellagio, I came across a situation where if there was ever a time that folding Kings was correct, this had to be it. Since this was an actual hand, I have changed the names of the players involved to protect their identities.

The game was $10-$20 blind, No Limit Holdem. It was a full, nine handed game with almost all of the players being seasoned pros, or experienced amateurs, when the following hand came down.

The action was folded around to Jimmy, a long time Las Vegas pro, in middle position who opened the pot for $120. Three other players called the raise, and the action was to the small blind, Roger, who began to think. Roger, an up and coming Internet pro who is getting his feet wet in live games, decided to make it $620 to see a flop. Now Bill, a highly experienced, but nonprofessional player, was in the big blind and holding two black Kings, went into the tank (thinking long and hard about what he should do). After some deliberation, Bill decided to make it $2200 to go, leaving himself with another $4000.

Jimmy and the three original callers in the hand now got quite a little chuckle as they all looked back at their pathetic hands. Mostly they were just wondering how they got themselves into this pot. Needless to say, they all folded back around to Roger. After only a few seconds, Roger announced that he was “all in.” He had in the neighborhood of $10,000 which means that Bill was well covered.

In my opinion, Roger’s hand is now ‘face’ up. I just can’t see a player making this bold of a move with any other hand other than Aces. Let’s replay the action to show exactly what I mean. Let’s assume that you have the two Aces.

There is a raise and three callers when you decide to reraise with your Aces. The next player now reraises you a substantial amount, and everyone else folds. Then, you go over the top of all of that, declaring that you are all in. With all of those players in the pot at one point or another, I just fail to see how you can be holding anything but Aces.

Apparently so did Bill, as he called the all in. In my opinion, Bill’s call here is absolutely horrendous for a player of his caliber. I believe he knew it too, as we could all see him shake his head and mumble about his bad luck before he made the call. I think that he just got stubborn, and tried to convince himself that maybe Roger had Queens. Keep in mind, this isn’t a tournament, so that $4000 that Bill still had was real money.

The two hands were flipped up and we all saw what we already knew was there…Aces vs. Kings. Unfortunately for Roger, the Poker Gods were smiling on Bill this day; he flopped a King, and then turned another King for good measure.

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