Even with all of the current strategy guides, TV shows and instructional DVDs, No Limit Texas Hold 'Em continues to confuse and confound the most casual players. One big obstacle is the proper way to play premium hole cards such as AA and KK. Many beginners and newbie's just starting to learn how to effectively play Texas Hold 'em consistently misplay these two powerful hands. They really do not understand the importance of using AA and KK in a manner that takes advantage of the fact that many players, especially those online, love to play Ax.
The Proper Way To Play AA In Texas Hold 'Em
Most beginners and even some intermediate players get so excited when they see this hand as their hole cards that they usually shove all of their chips in the middle, forgetting the most important fact that they are to play this hand in a way that maximizes their potential profit.
As the action goes around the poker table and the other players do the normal routine of raising and calling the optimal play here would be to simply call with this kind of hand in the attempt to conceal the strength of your hand and portray it as if you have a drawing hand - something along the lines of A-10 or KJ suited.
However, once the flop is shown you must be leery of its composition. A flop of 9-4-Q with no similar suits is an excellent flop and usually allows a pre-flop raiser to make an automatic continuation bet for about half of the pot. The best play here would be to check in order to indicate weaknesses or at best a pair of queens with a medium kicker at best. Hopefully, the pot should be offering you 3-1 odds at this point anyway thisby maximizing your play of this hand.
No matter what card shows up on 4tht street (also known as the turn), you must be more aggressively and over-bet with action that is twice the current pot in order to indicate that you want to steal the pot. You can enhance this deception by appearing jittery and nervous as if you truly are trying to make a desperate bluff. However, if your poker acting skills are not ready yet then simply over-betting will more than likely be enough to draw your opponent in as they will sense weakness based on the fact that you are trying to block their pot odds. Usually these results in a call because the other player believes you are making a grievous error in your play.
By the time 5th street (the river) hits if everything has gone accordingly to this point you should be ready to take down the pot because your opposition most likely will not have trips or two pair based on the analysis that he / she didn 't make a larger sized bet in the first place (usually this is around the size of the pot). One caveat to this style of play is to remember that this will only work against good players and not beginners who call seeming call bets without any thought to pot odds or the number of outs remaining for their cards to hit.
The Proper Way To Play KK In Texas Hold 'Em
Unlike AA, KK needs to be played differently and for good reason. Although it is a strong starting hand in Texas Hold 'Em it can still be beat by a pair of Aces. With that in mind, during the betting round of the pre-flop you need to act aggressively and hammer the pot as much as you possibly can. The intent is to make sure that only the top drawing cards and face cards will remain in the hand to see the actual flop. A good size bet in this instance would be about 4 or 5 times the size of the big blind.
After the flop arrives take care not to show any form of emotion or weakness in the event that the dreaded Ace lands on the board. As the pre-flop raiser you will need to make what is known as a continuation bet. This bet can not be some low ball amount such as half of the pot. Instead you need to continue to show strength and throw in a value bet for about 2/3 the size of the current pot. Not only does this tell everyone at the table that you have a genuine hand it also conceals that you only have KK by making everyone else think you just paired your Ace.
If someone does call then you must mentally prepare yourself because most likely they will either have AK or AQ given the fact that they called your initial raise pre-flop. Naturally, this means do not attempt to make a large bluff on 4th street, rather kindly fold your hand if someone else bets the turn.
Do not feel down or get upset if this is what happens because you must remember that poker is a game that is won by making the least amount of mistakes, not winning substantial pots. Also keep in mind that when you're beat, you're beat.