Playing Aces - A Two-Edged Sword

I am keen to hear your strategy for playing starting cards with Aces => A10 A9 A8 … A2.
Its tricky because just about everyone will call an Ace, and will sit on a small Ace combo assuming that they will get a double. The issue is that if you call A2, A5, or even A7 it is perhaps more likely that you will be beaten by a higher kicker. My current approach is to fold on any below A7, suited or not, except when there are only 3 competitors or very late in the game. Early it is worth a look-see with low blinds, especially suited, but follow-up can be tricky, except for two pairs. It is tricky to read the betting signs with mid range Aces.

Agreed, it’s definitely a balancing act at the best of times. Personally in a low stakes tournament, it’s worth calling minimum bet pre-flop early on when the blinds are low, just to see if you get a favourable flop. If not, then you haven’t lost much. As the blinds increase and you’re in survival mode trying to reach the paying positions, anything less than A 10 is worth a free fold if you’re not in the big blind position. Of course anything can happen, nobody knows what the board will bring.

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Any combination is tricky with an ace. 2 options, fold or bluff the crap out of what you have. Other players are holding on to their aces so the chances of doubling up on them are small. I don’t even bother. Toss the aces or goon a wild ride

Optimized Game Theory suggests raising with suited aces 70% of the time as these hands can be used as bluffs.


If you have an A, the probability of no one else having one decreases rapidly with the number of players => 2 (88%), 3 (77%), 4 (67%), 5 (58%, 6 (50%), 7 (43%), 8 (36%), 9 (30%). So stick with kickers greater than 6, and fold low A’s with more than 3 players.