Cracking Aces

After literally folding or limping every single hand for the last three hours, the old nit at the end of the table opens the pot with a large raise from early position.

This is one of those few scenarios where you can be almost certain a player has aces.

Although extremely rare, the legend of the player who only plays aces is actually based on fact. There really are players who only play the very best hands - and sometimes only if they have position.

Although this article is specifically about playing against one of these fossils, it's not limited to them. There are lots of times when you can be as close to certain as you can be that a player has aces or kings.

Even if it's in their range to have queens, jacks or ace-king, for the purposes of this article, we're not even going to consider those as possibilities - and neither should you at the table.

When you're playing to crack aces, you're hoping the player really does have them, regardless of what they truly hold.

The End Goal

Your goal when playing to crack aces is simple: Get out of the hand cheap, or take someone's entire stack.

Anything in the middle should be considered a mistake, and a costly one at that.

Some Percentages

Here's how a variety of hands hold up against A A over five streets:

  • A Q - 8%
  • A K - 12%
  • T 5 - 13%
  • 2 3 - 16%
  • 6 8 - 17%
  • K K - 17%
  • K Q - 18%
  • 4 4 - 18%
  • J J - 18%
  • 7 8 - 23%

What you want to take away from this list is the general range of how hands fare against aces. The worst hands are as low as 8% while the best climb as high as 23%.

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Sean Lind 2009-11-19 05:21:00


I'm not really sure what you're asking. But if you have a draw and someone ships a serious overbet, just fold. Eat the small loss and move on.

Josh 2009-11-18 12:40:00

What if there is a draw or flush draw out there and the person with monster goes all in or really overbets so you won't catch your draw?

Dennis Hands 2009-09-22 16:08:00


You have been watching me play!

Thank you for writing brilliant and informative articles.


_FullFlushles_ 2009-07-31 23:02:00

Interesitg article. I actually didn't know 7-8 suited was that high (23%) against aces.

Sometimes I bet big with that hand.

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