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Play now!When you are playing Texas Holdem you are going to be dealt a lot of pocket pairs and there are going to be times when you get dealt Ace-King. Which hand would you prefer to get and how do you play them?

AK vs. 10’s
Let’s say you are playing in Limit Holdem and get a pair of 10’s. In a low limit Holdem game your 10’s are really not that good because most people are not going to fold. Let’s say you raised with your 10’s on the button. In Limit Holdem that raise doesn’t mean very much. After the flop you might still have five or six people in the hand. If you don’t hit your set on the flop, and most times you won’t, you will probably have to gold. Let’s say the flop is Ace, 6, Jack. That flop is a major problem for your 10’s and you pretty much have to fold. In No-Limit you can drive more people out of the hand with a bigger raise before the flop so it is a stronger hand. Everyone really looks at 10’s as a strong hand but the hand really should not be looked at as a power hand. Ace-King on the other hand is not a made hand but it can be a powerful hand after the flop if an Ace or a King hits.

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AK Power
If you have a small pocket pair all the way up to pocket Jacks you really don’t feel very secure. You actually don’t feel totally secure with a pair of queens either. If you have AK as your pocket hand you can hit the flop and beat all of the pocket hands unless they hit a set or unless you are up against aces. Let’s really break this down. There are only two hands that dominate AK and those are aces and kings. In every other situation before the flop the hand of AK is about a coin flip and keep in mind there are some situations where the AK is in a power situation against AQ, AJ and any other ace-anything hand. Let’s do the math for the pocket pair and take 10’s as an example. With 10’s the only hands where you are a big favorite is against lower pocket pairs. 10’s are a sight favorite against AK but a big underdog to JJ, QQ, KK, and AA. Many times the 10’s are just barely a favorite but there are quite a few times where the 10’s are crushed.

While most pocket pairs are technically a favorite over AK you have to be very careful about putting too much stock in them, especially after the flop.


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