Seneca Fall Poker Classic

How to Play Pocket Aces Multi-Way on a Scary Board

How to Play Pocket Aces Multi-Way on a Scary Board
  • Getting dealt pocket aces is great, but in some postflop spots they turn into a marginal made hand.

  • @JonathanLittle analyzes a tournament hand in which his pocket aces suddenly seem vulnerable.

We return once more to the same $1,000 buy-in no-limit hold'em tournament from which the last few hands have come, this time to look at a hand in which I was lucky enough to be dealt pocket aces, but end up facing multiple opponents and an uncomfortably coordinated board.

It's still early, with the blinds 100/200 with a 25 ante and the effective stacks around 20,000. Sitting in the hijack seat I am dealt {A-Hearts}{A-Spades} where I open for 500, and three players call — the button (a tricky, aggressive player), the small blind (a straightforward player), and the big blind (another straightforward player).

The flop came {8-Diamonds}{7-Diamonds}{9-Diamonds} — not too nice for my aces — and when it checked to me I checked as well. The button also checked, then the turn brought the {5-Spades}, an even meaner-looking card for me.

The small blind led for 1,200 (about two-thirds pot), the big blind called, and the action was on me. See what I did and the reasoning behind it:

As this hand shows, it is often wise to play your marginal made hands in a cautious manner. When the turn almost certainly improves your opponents' ranges, you should be quick to release your marginal made hands — even if they are as strong as {A-}{A-}.

Jonathan Little is a professional poker player and author with over $6,300,000 in live tournament earnings. He writes a weekly educational blog and hosts a podcast at You can follow him on Twitter @JonathanLittle.

Photo: "Pocket Rockets," Poker Photos, CC BY 2.0.

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