Bad position will bring tears - even to a glass eye.
Lol, I absolutely loath this position but for some unknown reason I tend to get a lot of decent hands here. I think it's the poker gods having a laugh or something. AQ here can be a death sentance.... but maybe thats for another post....
O.k. you've got AA UTG - i'm assumung at a 10 seater. Two thoughts go through my mind straight away. 1. Yes! The nuts preflop - gotta love it! 2. I'm in a terrible position and need to be carefull I don't get myself into trouble.
My strategy is simple:
You raise about x4 the blind (or even more depending on the table environment). NOTE: By raising this much, a calling/reraising hand should be defining itself so that you have an idea what he could have. This is very important if your out of position. He could be being tricky of course.... but you need to at least try.
One could ague that this telegraphs your hand away to a very limited range and you'll not make much money on it. Well that would be true if you play about a 5% vpip, but I wouldn't recommend playing that tight. You need to mix it up a bit. If say you raised utg with a wider range with a few nice pairs, suited broadways etc SPARINGLY just to mix it up people will implicitly take note what you've shown utg. This is simply because when everyone sees an utg raise, this sets alarm bells ringing and they pay special attention. They especially go out their way to take note of your cards. I've known a lot of players demand to see players cards who try to muck them without showing in this position in a showdown... People tend to remember these type of situations because its an out of the ordinary event. This is so powerfull, if you're cards are running dry, and on a relatively tight table, try putting in a big raise UTG with nothing. It's even a good place to bluff - although any resistence is an immediate fold and run like mad. There's a good chance that you'll take the pot down. (I'm not advocating this as a standard method of play. More like a cheeky experiment if your deep stacks w.r.t the blinds.)
Ideally, what are you trying to achieve with your x4 raise? You're trying to get a caller who you can isolate and get a heads up situation and you've got him dominated.
If no one calls and you take down the pot, should you have slow played? Have you missed a slow play opportunity?
Hhhhnmmm not really - be gratefull for the small pot and move on. I think you can only make some decent money by getting some money into the pot into the first place. If they all fold around to you, they would have been very reluctant to get any money in the pot anyway.
If you slow play you're actually giving them the opportunity to get involved but the trade off is that they could actually be drawing to a hand. Guess what? A drawing hand will beat your aces. So you stand a decent chance gonna get into trouble unless you spike trips or something.
Now that's the best case!
Worse than that, you can get a caller, and then suffer a chain reaction of callers behind him due to pot odds. By the time it gets to late position, someone might decide to take a pop at a steal and raise big/ raise all in since everyone has limped in. This could be with a hand like JcTc which is a typical type hand that could beat you. Others could follow suit....
Even worse than that, yes it can be worse, everyone at the table limps and noone raises. We get to see a flop very cheap and I can gaurantee you're heading for the rail if you continue.
Now, assuming your limp was done with the intention of hoping someone would raise so you could:
1. Reraise - this would then expose your hand as one of huge strength - a limp, a raise and a reraise. Do you think you'll make a lot of money with the remainder of the hand - IF it all goes well.?
Moreover, assume you made this play against someone who thought 'hhhmmm he's got a good hand, possibly something like AA,KK,QQ, JJ, AK, AQ here, but I have position.' He could still pay to see the flop to see if he hits it hard. Why would I want to pay a lot of money into the pot against this type of hand? Because if I have a hand like 55 and trip up, your stacks coming my way.... Even suited connectors or whatever. Its all position position position. With the correct hand, the implied odds can be massive. Does that sound daft? Here's a scenario (one of many):
Your utg:AA, I'm Dealer with 88. You limp, I raise x3, you reraise x3 for example. I think you've got AA or KK bu can't be sure. Are you playing me? I don't think so but I've seen a lot of strange things in poker.... I'm heavily deep stacked so I call your reraise since Im on the button and my impled odds are large and justify the call. The flop comes 8h9h2d.
I now have position, with trips and since I've got an idea what you have I can use that to try to get the maximum of your stack.
You probably think your aces are good and I've missed the flop. Since I called your reraise I could have something like AK, KK, QQ and all that jazz. There's even the possibilty, since I'm on the button, I'm being clever with a suited connector and drawing to a straight. You're probably eager to get paid so put some $$ in the pot, or whatever.
If I raise you could think I'm bluffing, or betting into a semi bluff flush draw or a lot more. I'm odds on to take you down. You could of course get lucky....
2. Call, with the intentions of disguising your hand - the flop could totally destroy you. If the flop comes 7h,8d,9c you bet and someone goes all what do you do? Basically, either he has the nuts and beats you or he has a bluff and is leveraging your poor position... can you call that? What do you do if the flop comes Kc Th Td?
I suggest that with your aces you want:
1. Heads up with a dominated hand like AK or KK etc. NOT something thats a drawing hand and plays well in multiway pots like a suited connector.
2. At the VERY least narrow the field down to one or two players. Ideally because of your position 1 player only.
It isn't the strength of your hand you should be attentetive of here - it's your position. Aces are easily beat against a group and out of position this can be very expensive. This is the reason you have the term 'standard button raise'. Such is the power of position in nl, people will raise the button with almost any cards.
Of course I've idealised my situation examples but this is for clarity to get the point across. Poker is never simple.
Hope that helps.