Pocket Aces [Bullets, Pocket Rockets, American Airlines, Weapons of Mass Destruction, or whatever name you want to call them] remind me of a first date with a beautiful woman, present wife excluded. When you first see them, you’re really excited and have high expectations, but then you often suffer a big disappointment. Who doesn’t get excited (hopefully not giving off any tells ), when we look at our hole cards and see AA. And, doesn’t it seem that more often-than-not we suffer a huge letdown later when we realize that she (I mean they) were just a big tease? Phil Helmuth has been quoted as saying he can “dodge bullets” – but then again, who can’t?
If you read my WSOP Tunica blog, you may remember that the one hand that haunts me the most is the one where I eventually folded pocket Aces after loosing a sizable portion of my chips to what I suspected was at least three Queens. Not long ago, I was playing in a local cash game, where after being up and down, I was about even for the night. I announced that I was playing my last hand for the night, then jokingly asked the dealer to give me a good hand. He did, in fact, deal me pocket Aces, which eventually lost a sizeable portion of my buy-in to 5-6 suited.
According to my Poker Odds app, AA vs a “random hand(s)” preflop, are: an 84.9% favorite against one player, 73.4% favorite against two players, 63.5% to win against three players, 55.8% favorite when played against four players, and so on. AA vs 22 (where the Aces and Twos are the same suit), are a 83.0% favorite to win. If they’re different suits, the Aces are an 81.4% favorite. It doesn’t matter much what the lower pair is; for example, Aces against Kings (same suits), are 82.3% favorite, Aces vs Tens (same suits) are 81.1% to win. And, against suited connectors, like QJ, Aces are 81.4% favorites. Again, it doesn’t really matter much what the two suited connectors are; AA vs 78 is about a 78% favorite. And, statistically, you will get pocket Aces once every 220 hands.
Awhile back, Andre’, one of The Boblagio’s regular players, sent the email below to a couple of us, asking our opinion about how he played his pocket Aces. Would you have played them the same, or played them differently in this situation? The game was $1/$2 (I think):
Here’s what I think is an excellent and well thought-out response from Randy, one of our other regular players:
Ok like I said, I really like these discussions. This is how I get better.
Lets put ourselves in his shoes. After you made the $36.00 bet, the pot
would have been about $70.00. So he would have to call and additional
$24.00 (he already had $12.00 in the pot).
So from his perspective his pot odds are ($24/($24+$70.00) or 25%. Now we
calculate the pre flop percentage of your hand versus his hand.
Ad-Ac vs. 5h-7h, With this scenario you are a 78% favorite. So from his
view, his call was not that bad. I am sure with the amount of your
re-raise, he put you on a big pair.
However, he did not know if you had a heart as one of your cards. So let’s
do the math and assume you had an Ah instead of Ad. You are a 79% percent
Let’s do the math if you have Ah-Kh. You are a 63% favorite.
So in summary his call seemed to be a donk play and it was to some degree
but not the degree I thought it was.
Let’s take a look after the flop:
You AdAc. Him 5h-7h on a flop of 2h-4h-9c. You are a 61% favorite.
You Ad-Ah. Him 5h-7h on a flop of 2h-4h-9c. You are a 66% favorite.
You Ah-Kh. Him 5h-7h on a flop of 2h-4h-9c. You are a 80% favorite.
So in summary any way you slice, you were ahead and got caught. However,
his play was not as bad as I initially thought. I don’t think you played it
wrong at all…In a game with a bunch of donks…you might want to bet a
little more pre-flop
On your question about flat calling the straddle with Aces. Given how
aggressive the player on the button was, I think it was an excellent play.
He did actually what you wanted; he three bet…giving you an opportunity to
four bet…good job.
So, in conclusion, despite usually being at least a 3 to 1 favorite, as I stated in the beginning, why do Aces seem to disappoint us so often?