Poker Starting Hand Strategy – Pocket Kings (KK): Live and Online Texas Hold 'Em Strategy for Beginn

Kings are great cards to hold in the pre-flop game because they are somewhat straightforward to play in the earliest rounds of a typical hand of Texas Hold 'Em. Pre-flop, they are an extremely solid hand that require a substantial raise – and an absolute call of anything, including an all-in against a single caller, perhaps two if you are feeling lucky. The most common mistake that excited and overeager players make when holding pocket kings is to play them as if they were aces! Kings are much easier to beat than aces are (alone, they do not form even top pair!) but nonetheless they are fantastic cards to see as the hand begins.

After the Flop Hits the Board

Other than the usual and compulsory analysis of the flop (is there a straight or flush draw down? Have other players been betting a made hand or a drawing hand pre-flop?) there are two major points to consider during the flop. You want to bet aggressively if there are no aces in the flop – you want to make your money now and either cause your opponents to fold or keep a single caller holding out for a catch of an ace or a draw.

Did you trip up? If you've hit your third king, the only thing you will likely have to look out for is straights, flushes, and the outside chance of being beaten by a full house. At this point you would love to have an opponent hit an ace on the flop to make what they will presume to be top pair. Keep your fingers crossed.

Are there any aces on the board? If an ace comes down and you do not trip up, your odds just went down considerably depending on how many other callers are still in the hand with you. With an ace being introduced to the community cards your hand is now extremely weak against aces. From this point on, it would be advisable to try and check it down, or bite at only minimal wagers to try and catch another king for a big bust.

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Dealing with the Turn, and River

In many cases you will not want to still be in the hand during the turn and the river – Kings do not typically hold up well after a full board has been laid down against multiple callers. There are too many paths to defeat – beginning with a simple pair of aces being good enough to take down those pocket kings. Your odds of tripping up are roughly 1/5, so the other 4/5 times you will be relying on a pair of kings to beat all comers.

In the event that you are facing raises during the turn and river – it is crucial to look for aces, flush draws, straight draws, or even opposing trips. If you are facing any of these possibilities (and it can be very difficult to tell in the case of low trips, so pay attention to betting patterns) it might be best to fold.

In order to minimize the chances of you being drawn into a late-game scenario such as this, it is highly recommended that you bet aggressively during the pre-flop and the flop itself. If there are aces on the board – you're likely going to get busted in a large way if there is more than a single caller all the way down the line.

Kings should be played aggressively early on, and extremely carefully if they fail to trip or force folds all around in the later stages of the game. In like a lion, out like a lamb is the best approach to take to this particular starting hand. Be bold, bet large, and drive the ace/dud hands out early – you'll be glad you did!

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