Bullets Kill Cowboys
Would you ever fold pocket Kings pre-flop? Before you answer, let me add this, what if you knew you're opponent had aces? Hopefully, if you knew your opponent had aces, you would fold. I mean, after all, your pocket Kings would be no better than a pair of deuces against Aces, right? So, why is it that so few players I know have ever folded Kings beore the flop? I would imagine that the answer is that you can never be sure your opponent has aces. I know that that's what I would've said if you asked me that question earlier on in my poker playing career. But this very topic came up at a home game a few days ago and I suprised myself by asserting that you can often determine when your Kings have run into a pair of Aces.

If you play Kings the way most people do, you probably raise with them from any position. If there is a raise in front of you, you probably re-raise. So, consider the following hand:
You're in the early stages of a multi-table tournament.
The blinds are 50/100.
You're in the Small Blind with 3800 in chips.
It's folded around the to the cut-off who has about 2900 in chips
He makes it 350 to go.
The button folds and you look down at a pair of kings.
You re-raise to 850 and the Big Blind folds.
The original raiser re-raises again to 1850.
You're now left with an important decision. It's easy to get carried away here and just push your all your chips in. I mean if your not gonna play Kings hard before the flop, than why bother playing poker at all? Well, unless your opponent has completely lost his mind, you can pretty much guarantee that he has aces here. Think about it, what other hand can you imagine someone in their right mind four-betting before the flop? Even pocket Queens or AK would at most be flat calling your second re-raise. Maybe a case can be made for a hyper aggressive opponent to simply push all-in after your second re-raise, but to simply re-raise again and virtually pot commit himself your opponent must be on a pair of aces. Since you don't have the odds to call and you probably don't want to risk over half your stack by putting your opponent all in when you're a 4 to 1 dog, the only sensible thing to do is to fold your Kings.

Alright fine, so maybe that's one scenario where you can figure out that your opponent has aces to your kings and fold pre-flop, but how often does this really come up? Well, obviously not very often, but if you've never been involved in a hand with this basic sequence of events, I would venture to say that it is either because you have not played enough poker or because you generally overplay your kings by pushing all-in prematurely.

Consider the following:
Your playing a No Limit Holdem cash game.
The blinds are 2/5.
A conservatie player limps under the gun.
A middle position opponent makes a standard raise.
You are on the button and look down to find a pair of Kings.
You re-raise about 2 and a half times the original raise.
Suddenly the Under the gun limper pushes all in for an amount slightly more than double the pot.
The original raiser folds and the action is to you.
Calling would put you almost all-in as well.
Again, stop a moment and consider what hands your opponent can do this with? Maybe your opponent is making a "move" with AK, or maybe he's gotten a little out of line with queens or jacks. But with a raise and a re-raise in front of him, the most likely scenario is that your opponent has you beat. In my oppinion you can fold your kings here pretty confidently. If you're opponent, a conservative player, really did put a move on you here then as a friend of mine would say, "God bless his balls". The next time he tries something like that, you'll have aces and stack him.

Running into aces when you have a pair of kings is a rare occurence, but it does happen and when it happens you risk going broke. Don't go broke, learn a key lesson and apply it from now on; bullets kill cowboys.

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