Playing the Ace

One of the traps that new Texas Hold’em players fall into is the undying love of the Ace. The problem with this unrequited love is that playing an Ace from any position, with any kicker, will often times lead you into big trouble by “the river.” Let’s say before the flop you played an unsuited A6 from late position with a call and a raise before you. The flop comes up A9J. Just what you were hoping for, right? You have your Ace, so you must be happy. Now what happens when a player acting in front of you makes a bet. What thoughts start running through your head? Do you think, “He must have an Ace with a better kicker than mine”

Since many times the answer will be “yes,” you need to replace the thought with “What the heck am I doing in this hand? I had two players acting before me and my hand is really not very good.”

Playing an Ace with a low Kicker

The biggest danger of playing an Ace with a low kicker is that most beginners will not throw away an Ace no matter what happens. So, in a 10-player game, there are 20 cards dealt before the flop. With 20 out of 52 cards in play, chances are good that someone else also has an Ace, and very possibly with a better kicker than yours. Even if their kicker is not as good, they still may play the hand out until the bitter end. So, by the river, you could have one or two other players in the hand with an Ace who now have five other cards to choose from to make two of a kind and take your money.

Don’t get too excited with an Ace

There is no doubt that getting an Ace in your down cards is exciting, but don’t let it get you too excited. That is, of course, unless your second down card can help you prepare for betting your hand, and for taking the money of the Ace lovers who will have a lower kicker and disappointing look on their face when the hand is over and the pot is pushed toward you.

Here you can read more beginner’s strategy mistakes in NL Texas Hold’em.