It’s always a great feeling to glance at your pocket cards and uncover paint, say a wired pair of aces, kings, or queens. These three combinations are the top starting cards in the game. They’re huge front-runners to lower pairs, and even larger favorites to the top drawing hands in the game. When you see these wired pairs, be prepared to seize some chips. There are, however, a couple of principles you should follow when playing these behemoth hands. Read on to learn more.
One of the biggest faults amateurs make when encountering big wired pairs is slow playing. Slow playing can often be enticing, but by doing so, you’re acquiring the risk of being drawn out by an inferior or drawing hand. There’s nothing worse than having your pocket aces or kings brought down by a lucky river card.
You want to eliminate that possibility by firing off a prominent raise – or re-raise – prior to the flop. Many players feel that if they bet too large, they’ll end up by just collecting the blinds. You should, however, have no problem with that. It’s always better to gain a small pot than to suffer a large one. I’ll take that any day of the week.
With any fortune, however, you’ll get at least one call. With some more luck, you’ll get a raise, in which an all-in move would become the best play, particularly if you’re holding aces and are short-stacked. At this point, you’re most likely to hold the better hand. Be confident in what you have, and reflect that in your appearance. Remember, chances are good that you’ll be leaving this pot with a significant amount of chips. Don’t let large bets scare you away.
Post Flop Play
With a wired pair of face cards, regardless of what the flop bears, you can count on being in decent shape. By this point, your large betting should have cut down a couple of players with inferior pocket pairs or draws. Chances are, you’re heads up or in a three-way pot.
Let’s say you’re heads up with pocket kings and you have position on your adversary. The flop comes with two suited cards and a queen. Your opponent comes out betting aggressively. What is your best course of action, at this point?
Raise. Chances are, your opponent may have hit top pair with a hand like A,Q, or he’s on a flush draw, trying to lead you off with a big continuation bet. If he’s hit top pair, you’re in outstanding shape, and if he’s on a flush draw, your condition is even more beneficial.
With top pair, he will be in all likelihood thinking that he has the best hand, particularly holding the ace kicker. He will in all probability call your raise or move all-in. Either way, the odds are tremendously in your favor.
If he’s making a continuation bet with a flush draw, your raise is most likely to frighten him off.
If not, observe the turn. If an irrelevant suit comes up, don’t give him the chance to see a river push all-in. Unless he’s mad, there’s no way he could call. You’ll be walking off with a nice amount of chips.
While slow playing isn’t necessarily the best idea in most situations, it can come in handy sometimes, snagging yourself more chips than you’d get otherwise. Here are a few spots where slow playing could be best employed.
Under the gun pre-flop
We’ve all fallen victim to the dreaded check-raise at some point in our poker careers. It’s a move you hate to experience, but love to impose on someone else. If you’ve hit a high pocket pair, and you are under the gun, think of limping in. Chances are, there’ll be at least one raise by the time it progresses to you. Be prepared to re-raise, or perhaps make an all-in movement. This will catch your opponents completely off-guard. Any reads they thought they had on you can be hurled right out of the window. By doing this, you are adding additional chips to the pot, and making it much harder for your opposition to call you. Seldom will you see a check-raise without a great hand, and your adversaries know this. Utilize this to the maximum possible extent.
In front of aggressive players
If you’re sitting to the right of an aggressive player or two, in all likelihood slow playing will be the most effective option if you’re dealt premium pocket pairs. You can count on these type of players to raise the pot, peculiarly in late position with few calls. They are likely to make an attempt to steal the blinds, and by limping ahead of them, you’re indicating weakness. If they have anything in the least, you can figure an average to prominent raise. That would be perfect for you. With a premium starting hand, call or re-raise and take down the pot.