Let’s talk about Pocket Kings.
Playing the cowboys is relatively easy most of the time, but every once in a while a dreaded Ace rolls off on the flop, which reminds me of this meme:
In this article, we will help you increase your win-rate with Pocket Kings by covering:
- How to play Kings in common preflop scenarios
- Playing Pocket Kings when you have an overpair
- How to play Pocket Kings on ace-high flops
Let’s get started.
How To Play Pocket Kings in Common Preflop Scenarios
KK is, obviously, the second strongest starting hand in the deck behind.
For this reason, you will always want to raise with this hand preflop from every position when the action folds to you. Avoidwith Pocket Kings as it will lead to smaller pots being won by you on average over time.
Against a Raise
When faced with a raise, you should 3-bet with Pocket Kings every single time. You probably already knew that, but do you know what 3-bet size to use?
When you’re in position versus the raiser, you shouldto around 3 to 3.5x the initial raise size. So if your opponent raised to $6 in a $1/$2 game, you’d 3-bet to around $20.
When you’re out of position versus the raiser, 3-bet to at least 3.5x the initial raise size. If stacks are deep (200bb+), you can go as big as 5x from the Big Blind.
You should never just call a raise with this hand because, first of all, you are incentivized to build a bigger pot as soon as possible. Additionally, Pocket Kings actually can benefit frombecause the weaker Ax hands in your opponent’s range (like ATo or A6s) will fold, taking away their chance to steal the lead from you on an ace-high flop.
Against a 3-Bet
When facing a 3-bet with KK, you should almost always continue to build the pot with a 4-bet. After all, your Kings dominate all but one of your opponent’s possible hands.
Editor’s note: The one cash game situation in which you may not want to 4-bet Kings is when you are extremely deep stacked against a very tight player. Keep in mind that such situations are very rare.
Size-wise, you want to be 4-betting to around 2.2 to 2.3x the size of the 3-bet when in position, and 2.5 to 2.7x when out of position. So, if your opponent was to 3-bet to $20, you would make it around $44 when in position and around $52 when out of position.
Against a 4-Bet
Pocket Kings is one of the only 2 hands that is actually happy to face a 4-bet.
can sometimes be acceptable in this scenario, but it should only be done very sporadically, as the hand still benefits from fold equity/equity denial. Additionally, shoving ensures that you will avoid an awkward spot postflop if an ace hits on the flop.
Most of the time, however, you should simply 5-bet all-in.
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3 Tips for Playing When You Have an Overpair the Flop with KK
Tip #1: When in position, almost always bet for value.
This includes both. You want to start extracting value right away to build a bigger pot.
Do not slow-play without a very good reason!
Speaking of good reasons to slow-play…
Tip #2: Consider slowing down on low, connected flops both in position and out of position.
I’m talking about flops like 7♠ 6♥ 4♣ or 6♥ 5♥ 4♠.
These boards often smack the preflop caller’s range, which revolves aroundand . They have what is called the on these boards, which in a nutshell means that they have more very strong hands ( or better) in relation to their whole range compared to the other player.
Checking to control the size of the pot is often a good strategy on these coordinated flops. You should build your strategy this way because, if you bet and get called, navigating manywill be pretty difficult. You may end up stuck in an inflated pot on a dicey board.
Tip #3: Proceed past the flop cautiously with your overpair in multiway pots!
Youris pretty great on the flop in a . But the drop-off in equity from flop to turn is significantly higher when there are three or more players still in the mix. It gets even worse when three or more players see the turn after calling your flop bet.
These multiway turn spots are dicey because theis dispersed to more than one player, which means your opponents should play much tighter. Thus, when they do call, they have significantly stronger ranges than what they’d have in a heads-up pot.
3 Tips for Playing KK on Dreaded Ace-High Flops
Tip #1: In 3-bet pots, you should continue being aggressive with a c-bet
I won’t sugar coat it — this spot sort of sucks!
You’re not going to put much money into the pot after the flop barring a King on the turn or the river, but that doesn’t mean you should check on the flop.
You need to focus more on your whole range, andare extremely advantageous for you as the 3-bettor (regardless if you are in position or out of position).
Remember to, as you want to force your opponent to continue with weaker hands than yours. You are not bluffing! Rather, you are making a thin, range-driven value bet.
Tip #2: In 4-bet pots, you should continue being aggressive with a c-bet
Very similar to 3-bet pots, A-high flops massively favor you as the 4-bettor both whether you’re in or out of position. For this reason, it’s best to fire a c-bet with your kings.
The upsides of this play include:
- Keeping your range
- (because you are very likely to see the turn)
- Getting some value from worse hands
- Denying some of your opponent’s equity.
As uncomfortable as it may feel, putting in a very small c-bet is your best course of action on A-high flops in 4-bet pots.
Tip #3: If you encounter resistance after betting, concede the pot
You had a great hand preflop, but a terrible flop came. You bet the flop, as the tips above suggested, but now you have settled into a part of the game tree where KK simply doesn’t have much expected value, and that is fine.
Don’t feel like you need to win every pot just because you had a great hand on the previous street!
Sometimes you just gotta give it up and move on to the next hand.
In my opinion, the hardest part about playing Pocket Kings is letting the hand go when uncontrollable circumstances don’t go your way. “Don’t get married to your hand” is a classic poker saying that holds true even nowadays.
That’s all for this article! I hope you enjoyed it and that it cleared some of your confusion about playing this hand. As usual, if you have any questions or feedback please let me know in the comment section down below!
Want to put your basic preflop skills to the test?
Till’ next time, Dan out!
Note: Ready to join 6,000+ players currently upgrading their No Limit Hold’em skills?you will learn inside the Upswing Lab training course.