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misguided about aces, my thoughts.

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  • misguided about aces, my thoughts.

    Many poker players over estimate the value of PP ACES, I see constantly people who lose on aces and can not understand why. Misguided perception that the Aces are meant to win because the maths says so.

    Below is roughly the percentages for ACES v any random 2 cards,and amount of players.

    AA - 85% 2 way against any random 2 cards
    70% 3 way against any random 2 cards
    62% 4 way against any random 2 cards
    53% 5 way against any random 2 cards

    6 way or more becomes -ev play .<please correct me if I'm wrong>.

    When I first came to PSO, I too had a misguided perception and could not understand
    why I would lose with Aces so many times, so it seemed!.

    I finally realized why,Aces will lose roughly 1 in 10 times according to the maths.
    Even more so depending on how many players are involved in the pot.

    Then I learned to understand how variance had a part to play, and how the time line effected the
    variance making it more understandable.

    I use to play a lot of MTTS, and would lose in the later stages with aces etc.
    I then started to play SNGs and started to win with my aces etc, Why I asked myself?.

    Below is a make shift graph that came into my head, this helped me to understand.

    0- represents a loss
    1- represents a win

    the dots represent the time line

    sng 9 man/sng 45 man/sng 90 man/mtt 2000ppl/mtt 3000ppl/mtt 4000ppl/mtt 5000ppl/mtt 6000

    .................................................. .................................................. .................................................. ......................

    11111111111101111111011111111111101111111110111111 111101111111101111011111

    Aces lose roughly 1 in 10 times, there is never a specific order for this as this is as random
    as everything else. You could win ten times in a row and then lose ten times in a row with them.

    MY thought then was to my graph, and then to my thinking on this subject. I imagine that a single table
    and I get aces my chance to win on them is more than having aces ten times through out a MTT.
    Mathematically to me I know this can not be the truth, as Aces have equal chance to winning at any
    time they are dealt to you.
    However There is still that 1 in 10 times it is meant to lose, or is it?.

    This is just more of my poker thoughts, not to be mistaken as a lesson, but open for a good debate.
    Last edited by holdemace486; Fri Mar 02, 2012, 07:14 PM. Reason: typo

  • #2
    Hey there Holdem. It has been a while since I reviewed the actual stats, but what you've outlined seems quite in line with my readings. Yes, AA will lose 1 out of 10 times, but they are still the best starting hand. You definitely want to see the flop with AA, but there are some caveats. For one, if you are playing Bingo (e.g.; Open Skill League), and it is early, you may want to fold pre-flop against the four or more all-in's, especially if you are after some valuable points near month end. Are you close to the bubble? Would folding the AA against three other players get you into the money? Is ITM more important than busting out or winning a big pot and going deep? It all depends on your style of play.

    On a side note, how many brick and mortar casinos run "Aces Cracked" promotions? It certainly encourages someone to play their pocket rockets to the river. While I was suffering PokerStars withdrawal during my February vacationin the USA, I had to get my poker fix in the B&M's in Arizona and Nevada. Almost all seven of the casinos I visited had "Aces Cracked" promotions. Some had the promotion all day long, others had specific days and times.

    The math suggests that AA will be dealt 1 out of 220 hands, or something like that. Will, I would not mind getting AA to start every hand. Starting with the best hand is always better than trying to catch up.



    • #3
      Hi Holdem!

      AA will NEVER be a -EV play preflop. It may not be the favorite, but it will ALWAYS be a +EV play. You're looking at the %'s to win a hand, not whether a play is + or - EV, as this takes into account the pot size too.
      The numbers you have are mostly low too. Against 1 opp, AA is an 85% favorite, 2 opps is 73%, 3 opps is 64% and 4 opps is 56%.

      The size of the tourney for this is 100% totally irrelevant... it has absolutely no bearing on any of these percentages, in any way.
      Also, that 10% number is way off base, as even against 1 opp playing ATC, AA will lose 15% of the time. If there are more players in the pot, AA will lose much more often, based on the number of players in the hand. AA is NEVER going to win 90% of the time, as the best case scenario is against one opp.. where it loses 15%.

      John (JWK24)
      Last edited by JWK24; Sat Mar 03, 2012, 02:04 AM.

      6 Time Bracelet Winner


      • #4
        Some time back, the talk on the forum centered around the notion that the site fixed the games so that the big pockets always lost. You can imaging the fun reading both sides to that question. Thing is, both sides did a lot of talking and none provided facts.

        Then it happened to me. Three major pockets busted in as many games. Unlike those who just flap their gums, I decided to prove PokerStars cheats. Funny thing happened on the way to the Forum. I proved the opposite, and now the old hedgehog is the biggest supporter of the randomness of the RNG.

        If you're curious about my study and the results, PM me and I'll add a link. Long story short, I found my numbers were in line with the odds.


        • #5
          He's not on about randomness here,Cairn. He's commenting (again) about the value of AA pre-flop being over estimated.

          I don't know how many times MENSA types need to be told the same thing holdem but here it is for the umpteenth time...

          If it is ANYTHING outside of a satellite or a league game with bubble considerations in play (and thus the big points differential...) and you're folding AA pre-flop then you are always going to be welcome at my and any other winning players table.

          For those who are less thick and are reading this AA is never a fold pre-flop in any spot in any money game. Period. If you are in a game where you are afraid of busting when being asked to commit your stack pre-flop with the best hand then your BR management is for crap and you are focusing on the wrong things (min-cashing and all...).

          You may not be 50% or better to win the hand in some large multi-way pots but you ARE going to be the favorite in the hand and if you are punting on playing hands that can grow your stack 4,5...SIX times even in one hand as the favorite then you have no business playing poker for money.

          Which means you'll always be welcome at my table.

          NO hand is unbeatable...we all know that. But if you aren't willing to pull the trigger when you KNOW you have the best hand,just exactly when will you? Yes there will be losses along the way,but you don't judge results on a few plays. You judge them over the long haul. And if you are passing on +EV spots they aren't going to be pretty.
          Last edited by Moxie Pip; Sat Mar 03, 2012, 04:08 AM.


          • #6
            this is a joke right?

            No one really folds AA preflop!!

            Grade b
            I am always ready to learn although I do not always like being taught. ~Winston Churchill

            13 Time Bracelet Winner


            • #7
              old posts on subject Old post Id remembered reading(and one i came across while searching for first link), which is Similar to this thread and is good debate on subject Not Just in PSO... From and the Seniors No Limit Event World Series of Poker All Thee Bestumbup:
              3 Time Bracelet Winner


              • #8
                To the first one high times that debate turned into an "implied odds" debate as SandTrap opined that since it would be more important to him to not bust early and try to play on the second day,at least,of the WSOP Senior event he MAY lay AA down in that spot and the merits of the decision if one did so. What the folder in the OP's situation did was wrong if he wanted to play the tournament with no such considerations.

                I remember that thread when it was running. (Think Lango had to school my dumbazz on the proper definition of the "nuts" in it as I thought it meant something else,lol.) Given the considerations Trap imposed into the scenario,then YES,in that narrow scope one could lay down AA pre-flop. I think I said as much at the time myself,actually. But that's a situation wherein Trap himself was saying that consideration meant more to him than running deep in the tourney. In a standard spot he's NEVER doing that,nor would I or anyone who sympathized with his position in that debate.

                IF the folder in the post Eric provided to jump start the debate did it for the reason he said---then that is 1000% the WRONG decision.

                And the same with the second post which I had never seen before. Good dig finding that one. A fold there is terrible.


                • #9
                  ty hern and cairn for your comments and ty JW for your correction in my maths,and ty high times for your links of some interest to me.
                  Thank you moxie for your comment but where does it say I am on about folding aces?. That was a previous post , and to be honest I can see some situations where I may fold aces, other wise my chips are in.
                  I agree with you 100% if you want to win a MTT etc, you would never fold aces period.

                  The post actually is showing players why aces lose, and not expect them to hold up all the time.
                  And the loses with aces can come at any time due to randomness.


                  • #10
                    OK,but we all get that holdem. When you title the thread "misguided about aces" then show how they can lose you start putting ideas in players heads that shouldn't be there. We ALL know they can lose. Anyone who has ever played poker does. Experience will and has shown them that. But going down the path of not being 100% committed to getting ones chips in pre-flop if the situation presents itself to do so is NOT somewhere we need to be leading players. This will pay off BIG so many more times than it doesn't that it's HUGELY +EV.

                    Holdem poker is percentages as much as anything. AA pre-flop is ALWAYS +EV. You don't pick and choose with a situation that is always +EV. You go with it.

                    Expecting that it will pay off every time is fantasy. BUT tempering one's expectations of the scenario to the point where you are folding away a spot where you can NEVER be behind when the chips go in is folly.

                    There is nothing to BE misguided about AA's value pre-flop. It's unequaled. Period. If one is unable to reexamine the worth of the hand,or ANY other hand for that matter, post flop then that's a whole different kettle of fish.


                    • #11
                      By the way holdem if this is coming from a tilty aspect,the idea of overvaluing AA,then here's a way that may help those type of thoughts to not creep into your mind.

                      ALWAYS get your chips in pre-flop with AA if that's what's required as if there is 0% chance you can lose.

                      Then after the money/chips are in and the cards are about to fall ALWAYS tell yourself that you're 1000% going to lose then hand. That way you'll be happier for the myriad times it wins and more philosophical the times it doesn't. (IF you're as good at emotional self deception/manipulation as I am that is...).

                      This will help you'"feel" better about AA,as any considerations of devaluing AA are more likely coming from an emotional angle than a logical one.


                      • #12
                        thank you moxie you truly have a solid mindset and a great way of thinking; it was nether my intention to get people worried about playings aces; but to know why they can lose; and with your input on the matter people now should surely understand and not think the system is out to get them.


                        • #13
                          ok, here's a worst case scenario with AA preflop
                          AA vs KK vs QQ vs JJ vs 1010 vs 99 vs 88 vs 77 vs 66 (this way all players have 2 live outs to crack our AA)
                          AA is (roughly) 25% favorite to win an all in preflop scenario
                          now lets say all 9 players have $10 stacks (and all players are willing to get it in preflop)
                          so 3 out of 4 times AA loses $10 for a loss of $30
                          and 1 time in 4 AA wins $90
                          this makes the long term EV (expected value) of this unrealistic scenario to be +$60 per 4 trials or +$15 per trial (even though your losing 3/4 of the time!)
                          so anyone thinking this through would get it in any and every single time they could, because even though you'll lose 3/4 of the time it is still a HUGELY profitable play long term
                          Last edited by mtnestegg; Sat Mar 03, 2012, 11:33 PM. Reason: screwed the math up a bit fixed
                          May the tinfoil protect you. MT


                          • #14
                            I have never looked at it that way mtn good advice


                            • #15

                              The link above is from a study I did of the group one and two hands for the nine months prior to Black Friday. Best suggestion I have is to go to the last post in the thread and work backwards to find my last statistical dump.

                              Those who are interested in the how behind these stats can go to the first thread. Though I'm no statistician, I do believe the report shows pocket aces are super cards.

                              The thing I learned the most from that study is that we focus on our losses. We cannot forget the hand where pocket aces crashed, but we never remember the one that wins. Such selective memory, (read "human nature"), reinforces the notion that aces always lose.



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