Losing your Preflop Edge with Premium Hands

One of the biggest poker tips that’s preached by strategists is to isolate one player when you have a premium hand (AA, KK, QQ, AK). The reason why is because you have a much better chance to win the hand and take an opponent’s stack when there’s only one player to deal with.

To illustrate how this works, let’s say that you have pocket aces against pocket jacks. Assuming it’s just you and this opponent, you have an 80% advantage over the player with jacks. However, if you add another opponent into the mix who has pocket queens, your preflop advantage drops to 66% over the two opponents. Obviously this still gives you an excellent opportunity to win the hand, but it makes things a little tougher on you.

Now let’s add yet another player into the equation who has pocket kings. You still have a 54% chance to win the hand, but you have almost an equal chance of losing the hand now. Case in point, it really pays to isolate an opponent before the flop when you have an excellent hand. However, you can see that you’ve still got a sizable advantage with pocket aces when three or four people are involved in the hand.

But what about the other three premium poker hands we mentioned? If you had pocket kings with three other players in the hand, you’d still have around a 65% preflop advantage in the hand, which is not far off of having pocket aces in the same situation. This is also true of pocket queens in the same scenario.

Things change a little when you’ve got AK because this isn’t a made hand. For instance, if you had AK vs. pocket queens, you’d actually only have a 43% chance of winning. Throw another player in the mix with pocket jacks, and AK only has a 36% chance of winning. AK is actually a much better hand to win big multiway hands in postflop situations. In any case, just be careful when including AK in your range of premium hands.