How much faith should you have in your kicker pre-flop?

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Perihelion

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I played my first real money game last night, a massive MTT with a bounty hunter spin (which was interesting) and one hand got me thinking about my kicker policy.

I was in the SB with A3s, mid position raises (3 or 4 BB) and another mid position calls, I call and BB calls. Down came the flop and it was AK2 (no flush in sight), the initial raiser C-bets, and I fold due to my kicker (I forget what the 1st caller did, I think he folded).

I scorned myself after that thinking if I knew I was going to fold to any C bet even if an ace hit I may as well have folded pre flop. I knew that he may not have an ace, he may have been scared of it but C bet anyway but I didn't want to get tangled in it.

I read this forum is not for discussing individual hands specifically so the basis of this thread is to ask...

If you are not prepared to continue with a top pair (typically face card) post flop due to your kicker, should you reconsider getting involved in the pot, even if there are possibilities for straight or flush?

How much faith should you have in your kicker, especially if it is a low one? Should you reraise early to get a better idea of where you are if you hit top pair or do what I did and let it go?
 
julio gonzalez

julio gonzalez

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kicker

Hi. with A3 you should consider not entering the game and if you do you should control the pot so that it does not damage your blinds so much if you must fold
 
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valen_niyee

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Thats my thing too. Sometimes i cannot fold suit connector even it low one. Like 10 8s , 23s and other suited one. Lol
 
eberetta1

eberetta1

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I only go in with ace rag if they are suited, so I am chasing the flush, otherwise I fold pre-flop. Now if I am up a bit with another players chips, and I stay in with rag kicker, I will call a cheap raise, but I am not going to risk my stack on any big raise.
 
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thiagotup197

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I only ace ace if they are of the same suit, so I am chasing the flush, otherwise I fold before the flop. Now, if I'm a little bit of another player's chips, and I'm still playing with a rag kicker, I'll pay a cheap raise, but I won't risk my stack by raising with kik
 
Phoenix Wright

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The lower kicker is the reason that folding Ace-rag hands are more standard. Even if you flop and Ace, then great, but do you really think you have the best hand even then? You are completely dominated against higher Ax hands and there are a lot of them! Not only AK or AQ, but if you are playing a hand like A3, then A4+ is all in much better shape than you. This is why Ace-rag hands are folded by many good players - there is simply too much potential to lose a ton with them.

What about Ax suited like A2s or A5s then? I say [sarcasm mode on]"yeah, good luck." If your cards are suited versus offsuit, then that helps you like what? 2% or maybe 3% more equity. This is almost nothing. If you are going to play Ace-rag hands, then why not play the suited ones with a slight "extra" to them in flush potential? However, suited hands are probably over-valued by many in my opinion. The "real reason" (one reason at least) in favor of playing suited Ax rags is from a hand combination standpoint. Unpaired hands have 16 possible combinations; 12 offsuit and 4 suited. Therefore, playing only the suited combinations doesn't contribute as highly to your VPIP statistic.

This might sound pessimistic, but I want to be realistic. Personally, I DO play Ace-rag sometimes (usually suited), but I've learned from trial and error as well as through study "how much trouble" can come out of it. Ax rag hands (even if suited) are usually not ideal candidates for open-raising out of value. This isn't to say they do not have a place in poker though.

I actually like 3-bet bluffing with Ax rag hands occasionally and more so when suited. Why 3-bet bluff with them if I don't like calling with them then? Simply put, these hands are not good enough to call with, so they make good cards to make moves with. :D

From a blocker perspective, the Ace we hold blocks value hands like AA or AK and if A2-A5, then it also blocks some lower cards for a lower straight. If the opponent calls us, then we have a decent hand with post-flop potential or outs to improve to the nuts (like Ace-high Flush with Ax suited).

Whatever you choose to do with Ax rags, it needs to be a play-style you are comfortable with. I am comfortable playing them occasionally as 3-bet bluffs, but if someone doesn't like facing a tough spot with this hand, then just fold preflop. Different styles work for different things and there is nothing wrong with folding a hand preflop because you don't like your confidence in playing that hand.
 
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619Leafs

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In my opinion you should not have too much faith in the kicker. Focus on position and betting opportunities.
 
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Gusborgs22

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I played my first real money game last night, a massive MTT with a bounty hunter spin (which was interesting) and one hand got me thinking about my kicker policy.

I was in the SB with A3s, mid position raises (3 or 4 BB) and another mid position calls, I call and BB calls. Down came the flop and it was AK2 (no flush in sight), the initial raiser C-bets, and I fold due to my kicker (I forget what the 1st caller did, I think he folded).

I scorned myself after that thinking if I knew I was going to fold to any C bet even if an ace hit I may as well have folded pre flop. I knew that he may not have an ace, he may have been scared of it but C bet anyway but I didn't want to get tangled in it.

I read this forum is not for discussing individual hands specifically so the basis of this thread is to ask...

If you are not prepared to continue with a top pair (typically face card) post flop due to your kicker, should you reconsider getting involved in the pot, even if there are possibilities for straight or flush?

How much faith should you have in your kicker, especially if it is a low one? Should you reraise early to get a better idea of where you are if you hit top pair or do what I did and let it go?


If you are playing A3s against MP raises, and another MP calls you shouldnt think about your pair of A. If they have an A, ofcourse it will be higher then yours. When you play A3s i think you are trying to get a nut flush or in a feel cases a straigh (against those positions)
Its a great hand to play in the button against CO or HJ raises, or to play BvB or Button vs BB
 
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