One Way Of Playing A Big Hand

Published on January 23rd, 2005, 10:31 am EST

So you get dealt AA. You've perhaps read in a poker book that is sitting on your shelf that you should just push all-in right away with a hand like AA or KK. Sure, you might get someone to call who has KK and you might beat them and double up, but this is not the best way to play this hand. It may seem obvious, but I've seen enough players do it to write an article.

Instead of pushing all-in, put in a raise that is about 3-5 times the Big Blind. In this situation, you will find many more callers. You'll get people calling with something like QJ or K10, which is what you want. If you push all in, people with hands such as these will probably fold (at least they should if they are smart). Raising instead of push all in has several advantages:

1) You'll keep more people in the pot

2) You can still go all-in later in the hand if you have to. If you go all-in right away, you have ZERO options.

Some would argue that you are giving people with weaker hands a chance to catch a straight or something like that, which is true, but over time the AA will hold up as the better hand and make you money.

Besides, if you are raising pre-flop, raising after the flop, etc., people will see that you are representing a strong hand. The all-in play becomes much more effective, especially as a bluff, if you have been raising every hand. Somebody with a flush draw will be much more likely to fold if you have been raising at every opportunity.

Stop going all-in, and start raising. You'll make more money in the long-term.