Do you know what to do when you are dealt pocket aces during an online Texas Hold’em poker tournament? What about with pocket kings, or, even worse, the dreaded ace-deuce?

Our guide on the basics of when to fold in Texas Hold’Em will focus on a few hands that may trip up new poker players but can also bring the most experienced professional to their knees.

As The Gambler, Kenny Rogers had no trouble knowing when to hold’em and when to fold’em when playing Texas Hold’em. But when you are sitting at the poker table and your opponent goes all in, how do you know what to do?

Playing poker online can remove a lot of the mind games that poker players attempt to use when physically sharing the same table. While bluffing still happens, your tablemates cannot try and get in your head through trash-talking and witty banter. You also lack the opportunity to pick up on physical and verbal tells to help paint a picture of your opponent’s hand.

Instead, playing the online version of Texas Hold’em is all about the strength of your hands and understanding the odds. You must grasp concepts such as table position, chip counts, and loose versus tight players. Paying attention to the smallest variances can be the difference between winning and losing at your favourite online casino’s poker room. And the strength of your hand will let you know whether you need to walk away, or if you need to run.

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When Should You Fold Pocket Aces?

The correct answer to this question is never — at least before the flop. No matter your table position or chip stack, pocket rockets are the top pre-flop hand you can receive in Texas Hold’em. You will only get a pair of aces in the hole once every 200 plus deals, on average. Do not waste them, especially if you want to win real money online.

That is not to say you should automatically go all-in every time that you receive pocket aces. Instead, you need to consider your table position, chip stack, and most critically, other bets before deciding what to do. Head-to-head with one other random hand, pocket rockets win approximately 85% of the time.

However, if more hands enter the fray, those odds can drop quickly. You are still significantly favoured to win with aces, and you should act like it.

Use your chip stack and goals to determine your aggressiveness. Do you want to slow play the aces and hopefully catch a huge pot? Would you rather eliminate most or all competition quickly and lessen the chances someone else catches a better hand?

These are the questions that make a hold’em player successful. There is both a science and an art to how you proceed with pocket aces. Just, please never fold them pre-flop.

Is There Ever a Good Reason To Fold Pocket Kings Before the Flop?

While you should never fold pocket aces pre-flop, pocket kings can be handled slightly differently. In almost every scenario, you will want to keep your cowboys before the flop. However, that does not mean that there are not any situations where it would be appropriate to muck two kings.

Essentially, you need to be nearly certain your opponent has pocket aces.

Additionally, you need to be in a situation, based on table dynamics and chip stacks, where it is not worth it for you to potentially double up your competition. For instance, imagine you are playing an online poker tournament and you are heavily in the mix to cash but not a significant chip leader.

If you put an opponent on pocket aces against your kings, and you are extremely confident in your read, you may not want to risk your tournament life if the opponent has more chips than you and puts you all in.

But this is an infinitesimally small occurrence. The odds of receiving any pocket pair (any specific hand, really) in hold’em is about 220-to-1. However, the chances you are dealt a pair of kings and an opponent is dealt pocket aces is twenty times less likely. If you play enough online poker, it is going to happen. That does not mean you should worry about it often.

Typically, you must be an exceptional poker player to correctly identify an opponent with pocket aces. If you are wrong, you are the favourite pre-flop. Even if the other player has ace-king, the next best hand, you will still win 70% of the time heads up with cowboys.

If you do end up facing the scenario where your pocket kings run into pocket aces, you are a significant underdog. The rockets will beat the cowboys approximately four out of five times heads up. That’s why there are, technically, scenarios where you should consider folding pocket kings.

For most recreational or amateur poker players, they do not have the skills to properly identify an opponent definitively representing pocket aces. Between the lack of skill and the sheer improbability of the hand, it is likely advisable that you never fold kings pre-flop.

Should Ace / Deuce Be Folded After the Flop if No Pairs Come Up?

There are few feelings as profoundly disappointing at a poker table than being dealt an ace as your first hole card only to have it followed by a deuce. Ace — two is simply a poor hand, but one that can quickly become much better after the flop.

If an ace comes on the flop, you instantly have the top pair. While you may not always win with top pair (especially since your kicker is a two — aka as bad as it gets), it is a hand you can play.

Skilled poker players can work a playable hand to their advantage, even if it is not necessarily the best one at the table.

Likewise, if another two comes out on the flop, you’ve made low pair with top kicker. Depending on the rest of the board and players remaining in the hand, you may be in the driver’s seat or a significant underdog. Either way, you have options on how to play the rest of the hand.

Where ace-deuce becomes especially interesting is if you get a straight or straight flush draw with the flop. Because ace can be the low card in a straight, ace-two gets you two-fifths of the way to the straight. If the flop comes 3-4-5, you’ve already made your straight and likely only need to worry about someone with 6-7, an unlikely hand to still be around after the flop.

However, straights don’t come easily when you have ace-deuce. A suited ace-two will likely win a hand approximately 13% of the time, based on odds. While it does create options for a flush, straight, or top pair, playing ace-deuce comes with risks. Generally, if you do not make a pair on the flop, you should think about getting out of the hand.

There are a nearly endless array of possibilities created by Texas Hold’em starting hands. Understanding that you should never fold aces or (almost never) kings is a good starting point for exploring more in-depth strategy. Like many things, getting good at Texas Hold’em requires experience.

Luckily, online poker has made it easier than ever to gain vast amounts of experience in a relatively short time. You can play multiple hands at once or different variations or scenarios until your eyes roll into the back of your head. But truly soaking in the knowledge requires both concentration and patience.

If you are going to spend the time getting good at online Texas Hold’em, you’re going to want to play at one of the best poker sites available. Check out our Australian online casino reviews with the top interfaces, loyalty bonuses, and easy banking options.

Ian Thompson

Poker Expert and Gaming Guru

Ian Thompson, a poker fanatic from his college days, has evolved into a respected connoisseur and writer in the online casino community. At Gamble Online Australia, Ian shares his deep understanding of game strategy and psychology, enriching readers with expert tips and insights.

His self-taught expertise and years of experience make his contributions not just informative but also essential for anyone serious about mastering any casino game.

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