By: Victor “Vegas Vic” Royer
Whenever you receive pocket Aces it is always exciting. You know that you have the best starting hand in Texas Hold’Em, and at the same time also a hand that is quite likely to win you a very nice pot. However, it is easy to be blinded by this hand, resulting in either one of two very common mistakes:
- · Overplaying pocket Aces.
- · Underplaying pocket Aces.
In the first instance, the excitement may get the better of you and you will make your bet much too big relative to the action. Most often such bets are just too big compared to the blinds, and your opponent’s investment in the pot up to that point. The result is that making continuation plays now becomes more difficult, if not impossible, and the opponents whom you wanted to play with may simply give up, leaving you with a small win instead of a big one.
In the second instance the converse to this is true. In such situations players often do not bet enough, and as a result they let too many of their opponents in relatively cheaply. This is a situation that can very easily occur when the blinds and antes are such that the small raise you made is therefore correspondingly inexpensive for them to call. The outcome of this can often become probably among the most unfortunate and inadvisable scenarios, and that is that your pocket Aces will now be facing a field of several players.
What happens in this situation is that you are building a relatively small pot, but at the same time risk losing a big one. There is an old saying in poker that goes something like this: “Small-betting or slow-playing pocket Aces wins small pots, but loses big pots.” This is very true and you should learn not to do this, because otherwise you will find it out the hard way, and then think about this concept as you make your way out of the door having been busted out of the tournament.
This mistake is very common and can quite easily be committed by a variety of players with different skills at any time, or stages of the tournament. Just remember that any time you let other players in cheaply, your big pairs are always vulnerable, even if they happen to be pocket Aces.
Therefore, the lesson to be learned here is that you should always play pocket Aces aggressively, and raise a sufficient amount that will either isolate you against only one opponent, or possibly no more than two, while at the same time making it incredibly expensive for them to continue to play with you.
Continued in Part Three.