When you ask poker players about hands they want to start with, pocket aces will come up all the time. Seen as the holy grail for many, starting a game with AA in your hand is something we all dream of.
One of the misunderstandings that many have with poker hands is that many believe that pocket aces is almost unbeatable. It is a very strong hand, there is no doubting that, but not as invincible as some think it is. You will not win every time when you drop AA, so how often do pocket aces lose?
The odds for pocket aces in Texas Hold’em, based solely on the cards dealt, not including any betting stats, are 85% win and 15% lose. To put that another way, if you draw AA 100 times while you are playing poker, the card odds suggest you will win 85 times and lose 15 times.
Of course, these odds do not take into account the bigger picture. The hand your opponent has will determine their chance, as will any betting that takes place too, this is just a general look at the odds based solely on the cards and nothing else.
This is an important lesson for those learning how to play poker. The odds of winning with pocket aces is not 100%, you will lose from time to time, even when you have what is known as the best starting hand.
Working this out, and also seeing what will beat pocket aces is important to understand to ensure that you know this hand can be beaten, and not thinking it is invincible.
The Preflop Odds of Winning and Losing with Pocket Aces
First of all, if you are being dealt a Texas Hold’em hand then your chances of being dealt pocket access is 1 in 221. This means from 221 hands played, you will receive pocket aces just once, and the other 220 times you will receive another hand, on average.
Therefore, it is worth mentioning that despite a lot of talk about pocket aces, and many players thinking about landing it, the chances of actually doing so are incredibly slim. Then when we talk about the number of wins and loses with pocket aces on average, we are talking about 100 hands, but to receive pocket aces 100 times, using the average, you will need to play 22,100 hands of poker.
Basic odds suggest 15 pocket ace losing hands from every 100 you play, with the other 85 resulting in a win. Of course, this does not include variance, which will affect this, the 85/15 numbers are only a guide. A bit of luck, and some positive variance, may mean you only lose five times out of 100. The opposite could also happen, you may have negative variance and a lot of bad luck and lose 30 times from 100 when you get pocket aces.
Pocket Aces Odds Versus Other Hands
When you are looking at pocket aces in more detail, the way to do this is to look at them against other hands. This will put you in a situation that is more like a game, rather than just using the very generic 85 win / 15 lose odds that are averaged out.
Below you will find a table that shows the number of times you will win or lose with pocket aces on average when you go up against a variety of different odds.
All are based on you holding pocket aces preflop.
|Opponent Hand||Win out of 100 hands||Lose out of 100 hands|
|Any combination 2-7 different suits||88||12|
|Any combination T-A||85||15|
|Any pocket pair||80||20|
|JT same suit||79||21|
|7/6 or 8/7 same suit||77.5||22.5|
As you can see above, regardless of what cards your opponent has, if you have pocket aces you will be the favourite to win the hand. However, if you are looking at beating pocket aces and how often they lose, hope will be given to those who get hands that are at the bottom of our table.
There are two hands you can get which are known as the best against pocket aces. This is to draw 7 & 6 or 8 & 7 and have them as the same suit, so you can go on and build a flush.
With these hands, pocket aces will lose on average 22.5 times out of 100 when you play against this. There is no doubt that pocket aces are beatable, but you do need to get a very good starting hand and then hope that your luck is in because even if you have the best hand possible to go against them, your chances of winning are just 22.5%, or just over twice in every 10 games you play, so certainly not easy.
How Does the Number of Players Affect Pocket Aces Odds?
Everything so far has been to compare pocket aces to one other hand, so essentially a game between two players. However, if you increase the number of players in the game then the odds change, and they lead towards pocket aces being beaten more often.
The table below shows the odds of pocket aces winning or losing against random hands, when one, two or three players are on the table. Again, just like before this does not take into account any betting, and variance will play a part in how true to these figures you are, a good or bad run of luck can make a big difference.
|Number of opponents||Win out of 100 hands||Lose out of 100 hands|
These odds are important for those looking at the odds on pocket aces losing. This is because you are looking at pocket aces, and the number of players against it, not looking at your own particular chances of beating the hand.
On a table where three hands are against the player with pocket aces (so four players at the table in total), pocket aces will lose 36 times out of 100 games. This will not be to the same player and will depend on their hands, but this is how often the hand loses, compared to winning 64 times.
This is something else that highlights the odds of pocket aces for players. The more players on your table, the smaller the chance of winning with them. A hand that many people view as almost untouchable will lose 36 times out of 100 when playing on a table with a total of four people. Some would have this number as low as single figures, but the fact is that this hand can be beaten.
Pocket aces, the holy grail of poker gaming for many preflop is an incredible hand and one that will win you more than your fair share of pots. If you look at the odds above, they all have one thing in common, pocket aces is the favourite to win, regardless of the situation.
However, the odds of pocket aces losing is bigger than what many people would put it at, so don’t be too confident going into a hand with it, pocket aces can still be a losing position.