Playing Pocket Aces After The Flop

I am now going to discuss how to play AA after the flop has come down. I will give a few different scenarios as examples so that you will fully understand most of the situations you will get into involving AA and can be confident in your game plan for each of these situations. Any other situation not listed here that you end up in means you messed up before the flop which I will not get into how to try and save you at this point. You will have to wing it when you break strategy that early in a hand.

Scenario #1, You limped in with AA before the flop, out of position

If you limped in with AA the saying is that you never go broke with AA in those hands. What this means is that you play the hand as if you have top pair on the board and that is it. Play safely, you can bet and try to win the pot on the flop or you can check and then call, or even check and then fold. I mean as far as explaining this hand goes, you play it exactly like you would top pair. If you don’t know how to play top pair then you might want to look that one up. I am not going to sit here and tell you how to play top pair in poker. What you really need to understand and take advantage of is that your opponents do not know you have anything as strong as AA, so they are probably going to not expect it. If they are betting big it is because they probably have 2 pair or 3 of a kind. Just try to keep the pots small or fold if the other players start betting like maniacs. Otherwise bet small yourself or just check your aces here.

As a rule of thumb I usually bet the flop and if I get raised fold, if I get called I check the turn and will call a normal sized bet, and then check the river and again call if the player bets a normal sized bet. If the other player checked the turn after I had checked I will bet the river myself about ½ the pot. If at any time during the hand you get raised you should probably fold your aces. The only exception is that if the player looks like he was drawing to a straight or flush from the flop and they missed it, they could be bluffing, so you can make a judgment call on the river if you think they are trying to bluff you off of your hand, but be careful! This would only ever realistically happen if you both had checked the turn. If the turn wasn’t checked then get out before you lose all your chips!

Scenario #2, You limped in before the flop and got raised, so you re-raised and were called

This is the easiest of all hands to play with AA. You simply look at the board for like 5 seconds after the flop comes up and then grab all of your chips and say ALL IN. You go all in here and if you lose, you lose. Your opponent is probably going to either fold giving you a large pot, or hopefully be behind when they call. Only about 1 out of 8 times is this going to back fire, so play the odds and deal with it when you lose as a result of their fortunate flop luck.

Scenario #3, you raised before the flop in position and were simply called

In this spot there are a few more options on how to play your hand then in the other spots. The reason why is that your opponents can put you on a very wide range of realistic hands here like AK, AQ, AJ, A10, KQ, 88, 99, 1010, JJ, QQ, KK, AA, or some suited connector or even just a flat out bluff with garbage. Also you can put them on a similar range yourself. So the possibilities in this hand in terms of what you are going to be up against will definitely be vast.

My rule of thumb here is to react to their play. I mean you are in position, so take advantage of it. If they check you should always bet unless the board has a pair 9 or higher on it. If it has a pair 9 or higher you will check the flop. If you bet and they raise you, you will consider what they could be check-raising with. If it is a draw or top pair on the board realistically in your mind for what they have then you should go all in or you can call and then go all in on the turn. If it is two pair or three of a kind you need to fold. If you had bet and got called then on the turn you need to bet again or if they bet into you just call. If you get raised here you are very likely to fold unless you put your opponent on either top pair or a draw just like in the spot we just discussed before. If you do then you need to raise all in at this point. Just be careful because rarely is a passive player going to check-raise the turn on you. If it is a normally tight player you probably need to fold here. If loose, make a judgment call.

I know these scenarios make it sound scary to play AA after the flop, but to be honest they happen like 2-3% of the time when you are playing AA. Usually the players either fold before the flop, on the flop, or on the turn. If not usually they just check and call you to the river. That is why when you are raised you probably should just deal with it and fold because your opponent does not know you have aces… It is not the end of the world to fold aces, good players do it all the time in spots like these. Had you checked the flop due to the board having 99-AA pair on it then you should call if they bet the turn, bet if they check the turn, and if they check-raise the turn make a judgment call on if they have three of a kind or not. I usually fold to the check-raise unless they are a loose player. Regardless of your decision you can’t change your mind once you make it. So if they check-raise and you call (which you would, you would never, EVER, raise that) then on the river if they check you check and if they bet you call. If you had bet the turn and gotten called you should probably just call if they bet the river or check if they check to play it safe.

For the river on the other hands where you had bet on the flop there are two possibilities. One is that they checked the turn and you bet and then they called. The other is that they bet the turn into you and you called. If they had checked and then called your turn bet then you will want to check the river to play it safe if the board is in any way scary and you are not 1,000% sure you are ahead then DO NOT BET! Now if they bet into you on the river in this scenario you will just call in most cases. If on the turn they decided to bet into you last round and you flat called it, then on the river if they check you should also check unless you are like I said 1,000% sure you are winning and then go ahead and bet. If they bet the river in this case then you would want to judge it for yourself. Base it on the tightness of the player, the look of the board, and either call or fold, do not raise here (unless you connected with an ace or something and are way ahead and know it). In the long run calling or folding here will not impact your bottom line much, so don’t fret over it if you make the wrong decision or fold and lose. This situation is like 1 in 500 so when it happens just smile and hope you win.

Scenario #4, You have gone ALL IN before the flop and gotten called

Proceed to flip over your AA (the best hand in the game) smile, and hope you don’t get beaten by some crazy stroke of luck. If you do chill out, it happens about 1 out of 6 times. Just be a good winner and loser in these cases. Play with some class.

That is the whole rundown on pocket aces. Now for the rest of your life in 7 handed or larger games you will know how to play them! I will be writing more on other hands soon, so please check back in the future for strategy on how to play other hands in NL Texas Hold’em Poker. If you want to refresh your memory on how to play AA before the flop I have provided a link here *Poker Texas Hold Em

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