MCU poker tip: If you’re stuck with kings in hold ’em

Don’t make the mistake of routinely throwing away a pocket pair of kings in hold ’em when an ace flops. Rather than being proud because you have the discipline to fold, you should be concerned that, overall, you’re costing yourself money.

That’s because when you have kings and, say, ace-jack-nine flops, bettors can be gambling that no opponent holds an ace. They may be pushing pairs of jacks or nines for profit. They may even hold smaller pocket pairs than your kings, or a straight or flush draw. Or they may be bluffing.

More profit

Yes, you’re going to lose often, but you’ve got to hang in there much of the time with those kings. On average, you’ll make more profit by calling than folding. By folding automatically, you’re giving astute opponents motive to bluff more often. That’s a factor, too.

And when you’re first to act, don’t be afraid to value bet that pair of kings into an ace on the board. Do that often, but not always. Mix it up.

Usually call

Remember, unless you have a solid understanding of your opponents and know they wouldn’t bet without aces or you detect a tell that indicates strength, you usually should call with those kings in a limit hold ’em game and also usually should call a normal-size bet in a no-limit one. — MC.

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Mike Caro

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Known as the “Mad Genius of Poker,” Mike Caro is generally regarded as today's foremost authority on poker strategy, psychology, and statistics. He is the founder of Mike Caro University of Poker, Gaming, and Life Strategy (MCU). See full bio → HERE.

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  1. So astute! You can’t always believe there’s a monster under the bed…although I do have a really good story about the oil heater in our basement when I was a young lad…I’ll share next time we are at the same table at Downstream. I see that you are one of the key figures at APT. Can you give me you opinion of the quality the provide? (I think I would rather try doing some private work with you, but am open to suggestion. Thanks, Mike, for your time.

    1. Hi, Jim —

      I endorse Advanced Poker Training and use it in all my Skype lessons. However, I have nothing to do with its design and programming, so it isn’t a Mike Caro product.

      Straight Flushes,
      Mike Caro

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