How to Play High Pocket Pairs

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How to play high pocket pairs: 

This article is geared towards more advanced players because it will talk about playing some of the higher pocket pairs (KK and AA) in an unconventional manner. When you’re a beginner the basic strategic advice is to get as much money as you can in pre-flop so you can push all in post flop. For NL twenty and below this is a perfectly fine tactic but as you rise through the stakes there are opportunities to make more money without having the tactic to just put all your money in pre-flop.  

The first thing you should know about this article is it does not encourage slow playing your high pocket pairs to the extent that players can see the flop with junk for little to nothing. All it does is suggest a few ways you can make creative plays to maximise your earnings on each of your big hands. 

Pocket Jacks or "Fish Hooks"

Pocket Jacks or "Fish Hooks"

So what a lot of people will do is jam AA and KK in pre-flop if they receive any action back to their bet. Here is what I suggest, if you are against an aggressive player I would probably continue jamming it in because realistically you actually have no idea about their range and you could easily lose your whole buy in if they flop their hand. However if we come across a tight player this is a whole other story. 

Let me set the scene; you are holding AA or KK and you have raised three times the big blind, a very tight player then re-raises you to nine times the big blind. This player doesn’t re-raise often pre-flop so we know he has a big hand. If were holding KK or AA he could be holding JJ, QQ, KK, AA or AK. The problem is if we now push all in to his raise we fold out most of his hand range if he’s a tight player. He will probably fold jacks and might fold queens and ace king might also get stuck in the muck. Meaning that if were holding kings we are only getting called by a hand that is the same as ours or beats us. 

This is where you can start to play with higher pocket pairs, if we think about what happens if we simply call his three bet pre-flop: first of all we make him believe that he has the best hand, we also keep in all the hands that we beat. If an ace comes down and were holding kings, well so be it, we can try to take the pot and then fold to any aggression shown back. However if the flop comes down just 10 high the player is most likely going to get it all in with jacks and queens which means we can make more money off him than if we just got him to fold pre-flop. 

The point of this article is to make you think about playing these high cards differently. A lot of amateur players do not think about them like this but as you get to a professional level you will see players start to play higher pocket pairs a lot more tricky. You have to first assess your player, its best to use these plays against tight players to start off with because you can predict their hand range a lot easier and they are a little more see-through but next time you are at a table and you get three betted by a tight player and your holding AA or KK just think before shoving it in pre-flop.

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