Should You Ever Fold AA

By | April 15, 2013

Poker is filled with questions large and small. Some questions are all about the game itself, while others are about how to handle the psychological side of poker.

Other questions, like the one covered today, deal directly with the cards. One of the first questions that a lot of newcomers to the world of online poker ask is whether or not they should ever fold AA, also known as “rockets”. However, the question is not specific enough to be answered.

So let’s refine it: generally speaking, most people are wondering whether or not they should fold AA pre-flop, during the time before the community cards are shown. If we’re talking about Texas Hold’Em Poker, most people are wondering this because someone else on the table has gone all-in.

All-in bets are tricky. If you bet right, you could take their chips and raise your chip stack very quickly. If you’re wrong, then you lose everything and either have to buy back in, or get out of the table completely. You need to check your current chip stack first to see if it’s even worth your while it pursue the bot. If you’re struggling as it is, you might want to conservatively sit the game out.

However, think about it from this perspective:

Prospective Hands

When it comes to the best hands on the board, you really can’t beat a nice AA for your starting hand. However, having AA pre-flop on an all-in bet is a bit of a loaded question because it is not a guaranteed (italicize this) win. There are plenty of boards that could make your AA unimportant, such as a high straight board, or even one where another player catches 3 of a kind. It doesn’t matter what type of pair you have. If you have a pair and another player has 2 pair, then you lose. Keep this in mind.

Now, if you’re trying to play more along the lines of power poker, then you will want to make sure that you actually push in and be confident about it. You don’t want to think that your AA will always win, but you also don’t want to play from a position where you think you have the losing hand. Remember that you have the best starting hand on the board. Everything else should flow together.

Again, it’s hard to say if you should “always” “never” or “sometimes” fold AA. It’s a matter of looking at your opponents, knowing your board, knowing your cards, and knowing your own playing style. If you don’t have the guts for power poker, you shouldn’t pretend. Playing aggressively takes confidence, and people will often get out of your way if you’re playing this way.

Of course, poker position also matters. The question just about assumes that you’re last in position, or close to last in position. You can also scare off players by going all in with AA, because people will assume that you have a pretty high hand — but they might not assume that you have the top hand. It just depends on what type of players that you are playing.

At the end of the day, if you can’t take it — fold ‘em. It’s better to play another round than to flake out before you’re ready to walk away from the game completely. That’s it!