How often do you expect Ace to fall over the flop when you’re holding a big pocket pair like KK?
To be sure, it’s a concern of many smart poker players. If your opponent has been awarded an Ace in the hole, then Ace on the flop gives him the top pair, flooding your King’s pocket. At that point, your pair of Kings, gorgeous as they may seem, only had two outs to regain the advantage they held in front of the flop, by catching a set – a really big long shot.
If you know for sure that’s the case, then continuing on that hand will catch up. And we all know that hunters are losers. Indeed, it can be a very expensive pursuit for you to visit saranacash.
So, what are the chances of your opponent holding Ace in the hole when Ace falls over the flop? Of course, that’s more likely to happen at a full table than with just a few players. In fact, according to Thomas Green, a retired math professor and poker mathematician, who wrote the “Texas Hold’em Poker Textbook,” at a table full of nine players, about 72 percent of the time, an opponent will hold a second Ace in the hole – assuming that you don’t have an Ace.
The odds are more than 2.3 to 1 that your KK is a bad second best at that point. Even with only five players at the table, about 60 percent of the time expect your opponent to hold a second Ace in the hole.
On that basis, it would be wise to carefully consider how you have played your hand from then on. But it’s hard to throw away a pair of beautiful Kings staring at you when you take another peek at your hole cards.
This is where knowing your opponent can pay off. For example, if a tight player in early position opens a bet on the flop, you can almost be sure he has an Ace in the hole. Trust him! Fold the king of your pocket – and keep your precious chips.
There are exceptions, however. If an opponent you know is not going to bluff or use some other form of deception to open a bet, it is likely that he is trying to force you to cheat your hand by representing a pair of aces. In that case, if there’s no raise, calling to see the turn makes sense. But fold if the bluffer bet is raised by another player. The more spawns, the more likely it is that at least one opponent will have an Ace in the hole.
What if a very loose player opens a bet? Such players tend to be hunters; he wanted to see the turn. And then, when the turn doesn’t help her, she can call again to see the river – no matter how many she has.
If he’s not raised by other opponents along the way, your pocket Kings may still take the lead. Call and pray that’s the problem.
The same is true if you hold QQ, JJ, 10-10, or any other pair in the hole. Any card on the flop whose value is higher than your pocket pair places you at the wrong end of the probability scale. You have to have a big pot to overcome those odds; otherwise, you have negative expectations. And it’s a situation where you need to fold your pocket pairs.
The exception here is if the bet is checked for you, take advantage of the free card. This can give you a beautiful set – a possible winner. And there is no cost to you.
Of course, it’s also possible that the flop takes you the draw to the flush and / or to the straight. In this case, with all that added addition, calling to see the turn would make perfect sense.
The point is that apart from these exceptions, if you have a lot of doubts in such a situation, it is better to err on the side of caution – than to pursue.