Tuesday, March 11, 2008

How Big is Big? – Big Aces

Losing an illusion makes you wiser than finding a truth. ~Ludwig Börne

Another review of my data leads me to another post about popular starting hands, big Aces. Different people define “big” differently. I know people that think A-10 or better is a big Ace. I also know people that never saw an Ace they didn’t like. I am not one of those individuals. I think the list of truly big Aces is rather short - A-Ks, A-Ko, A-Qs, and A-Qo - that’s it.

Texas Hold’ Em is a game of domination. One wants to dominate one’s opponent and reduce his chances to win. Playing weak Aces (or Kings, etc.) is a recipe for being dominated by stronger Aces. Thus, we will eschew them while hoping our opponents continue to over play them. Remember, there is a reason why A-K and A-Q (suited or not) are included in the top 20 best starting hands and weaker Aces are not. My own data supports this conclusion. A-K and A-Q (both suited and off suit) are consistent winners but A-Jo and A-10o are not.

I play A-Js and A-10s but not because I think they are big. I play them as suited Aces and I am looking to flop a flush draw or Aces up. They can win as top pair but the pot will not be big because I will be exercising pot control.
The fact of the matter is this, A-J offsuit and other smaller non-suited Aces are not consistent long term winners. Sure, I will probably attempt to steal with them from the Hi Jack, Cut Off, or Button but they are too weak to play from early position with consistent success in full ring NLHE cash games.


OhCaptain said...

For me, a big ace is AA, AKs, and AKo. AQ is the hand of the devil, although, I do play it like AK most of the time. AJ is drifting out of the 'big' zone for me and should be played with great care. AT suited to me gets into the any suited set. I do tend to look differently on A9 to A5. The A5 falls back into the range of both cards working towards the same straight, but that's not a huge factor me.

Suited aces are neat, but I don't like to die ace high.

My two cents.

Lucypher said...

Welcome back to the Lair, Captain.
While I agree A-Q can be troublesome, it usually works well for me. A-Jo (and lower), not so much. As for suited Aces, please see my previous post. You want to flop the nut flush draw or aces up.
You are right, going to showdown with Ace high is not going to show a consistent profit.