If you have pocket aces and are first to act (under the gun) you only have two options: call or raise, you cant check. Checking is only possible when no one has bet/raised yet. However, the blinds are "bets" so you have to at least call to continue.. Im going to assume are playing in a standard 9 handed 1/2 game against average players (3 fish, 3 lags, 3 tags).
Lets discuss the merits in calling. You disguise your hand and if you hit a set people just cant put u on pocket aces. This move should be done 1 in 20 times. Do it when all 3 apply.
1. There is a very maniacal player that will always raise preflop.
2. You are playing against people that are regulars and know your style.
3. You are willing to laydown pocket aces if theres lots of action.
Lets say you use this "call" option. Then the maniac raises. If he gets rid of all the players after him until its your turn, a call would be fine. (You want at most 3 people in the pot) If people after him end up calling you have to reraise his raise unless you are playing aces just for set value in which case you can just cold call (you will check/fold if the board doesnt give u trips).
Now thats talk about the raise. Note: when i say raise you are basically opening. Preflop you cant "bet" as the blinds are the bets.You want to raise for several reasons. (Raise 3-4xbb) A perfect amount is 3/1/2xbb as you dont bloat the pot, but you make peopel draw.. You want to make hands like 46s have to pay to see a flop. If you just call then you are giving other people great odds
to call. However, if you raise you are severely limiting their odds. Secondly, you are defining your hand. You want people to know you have a strong hand. That way you know that you should fold if you get too much action.
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