Two Aces at the Start of a Texas Holdem Poker Hand
As most players know, the two starting cards are a critical element of a game of Texas Holdem poker. As a result, everybody's favourite is the two aces. Whether playing at an online poker site and seeing the two A's in big letters, or playing Texas Hold Em for real in a casino or kitchen table game and seeing the two A's peeking back at you as you slightly lift the corners, there is no better feeling at the start of a hand at least than being dealt two aces.
Why are Two Aces so Advantageous in Texas Holdem?
This is because a large quantity of Texas Holdem poker pots are won through pairs, two pair or three of a kind. As similar hands (i.e. two players have two pair) are ranked acording to value, holding the best pair available of two aces is a distinct advantage, particularly as this highest pair is used to determine the winner of a pot no matter what the other pair. For example, a player who holds two pair of two aces and two twos will win the pot at the showdown ahead of an opponent who holds a pair of kings and a pair of queens. Even though technically it could be argued that overall this hand is more impressive, the top pair is the all important one in Texas Hold Em, with the second pair only coming into play if two players have the same top pair (i.e. both had two aces and another pair).
Two Aces are Certainly No Guarentee of Winning Though!
Many players dealt a pair of aces at the start of the hand, or even slightly lesser pairs such as a pair of kings or a pair of queens, will probably raise even before the flop is revealed. They have a strong pair already, but if another one were to come on the board in the flop, turn or river then having three of a kind aces for instance would usually be enough to win the pot in the majority of cases.
Only One Chance
A disadvantage for a player of having a pair of aces at the start (or any pair for that matter) is that whilst getting a third or even a fourth if you are extremely fortunate would put them in a significantly strong position and likely to win the pot, the chances of another one being revealed are lower because you already hold two of them!
Does the Flop Fit?
Whilst that pair of aces is the strongest pair, it can often be beaten if the flop and other community cards do not suit and offer great help to an opponent. For example whilst you may have raised like there is no tomorrow before the flop with your pair of aces, if the flop is a five, six and seven and your opponent is sat there with a seemingly uninspiring four and eight then they have a straight which beats your pair of aces all ends up. In fact there are few worse feelings at the Texas Holdem poker table than being elated at receiving such a great starting pair of two aces only to see the flop not only providing little in the way of help for your own hand, but offering a significant chance for your opponent to make a straight or a flush. Now you will be regretting raising and putting in so much money into the pot early on.
Is a Suited King Ace Stronger or Not?
Obviously no Texas Hold Em player would be disappointed with revealing a pair of aces at the beginning, but is a suited king ace actually stronger? Frustratingly, and not surprisingly, it all depends on the community cards that come up, not to mention the ones which your opponent(s) is holding.
If it all comes down to a pair then your aces will put you in a strong position, even more so if another one comes up in the five community cards. However as mentioned earlier it is just one pair, and will be beaten if an opponent has two pair of any values. Even a pair of twos and threes will beat your fantastic two ace starting hand. So whilst a pair of aces or any pair are great starting hands, actually having two different value starting cards gives you a greater opportunity of achieving two pair. As long as none of your opponents are holding one, there are still three of each with the potential to be revealed by the flop, turn or river as opposed to just two more to give you three or four of a kind.
If you have a suited king and ace, not only is there a chance of you having a two pair comprising a pair of aces and a pair of kings, but you also have the potential to make an ace high flush or even a royal flush if you are extremely lucky. A suited ace and king will provide you with more opportunities for making a winning hand, but again it is dependent upon what community cards are revealed to go with it.