AA vs KK – odds and probability for the poker hands AA vs KK

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Mark | Poker Articles, Poker Rules

Getting dealt pocket Aces

This is an article about one of the best or worst (depending on the point of view) situations in poker, namely the AA vs KK hand including odds and probabilities for AA vs KK.

Every poker player loves to look down on their hole cards and see a pair of aces staring back at them. It really is a beautiful site, albeit a rather rare one that will only happen, on average, once in every 221 hands dealt but when they do find their way to your hand it is a joyous occasion as you hold the best starting hand in Texas Hold’em.

One of the problems with aces, whether using the Betfair Poker code or not, is that they do not come around very often and when they do you often find yourself winning a relatively small pot with them. However, one occasion when you will be an odds on favorite to win a substantial pot is when one of your opponents has been dealt a pair of kings, the classic AA vs KK confrontation!

Odds and probability of AA vs KK happening

The odds of being dealt any specific pocket pair, such as aces, is 220-to-1 but the odds of being dealt a pair of aces and then someone at the same table being dealt pocket kings is slightly less as the two aces have been removed from the 52-card deck. This means that the odds of someone being dealt a pair of kings when you have aces is 205-to-1. However, that only applies when you are heads-up against a single player, against a full table with nine other opponents you will find yourself in an AA vs KK situation once in every 20 times you are dealt aces.

The reason having aces against kings is usually so profitable is that the player with kings rarely worries about his opponent having a higher pair as it will only happen to them around 4.4% of the time they hold kings so will generally be willing to commit their entire stack. The problem is that when they do put their chips into the middle they will be doing so with very little equity, in fact they will be around an 82% underdog in the hand.

Winning with AA vs KK

Betfair poker pundits note how being dominated by a higher pair is disastrous for the lower pair as they almost always have to hit a set (one of their two remaining cards) in order to win. Sometimes the lower pair can hit an unlikely straight or flush to prevail against the higher pair but this is very rare, even more so in the case of AA vs KK as the kings are ranked so closely aces. Indeed, sharing the same suits lessens the chances of a win for the kings, for example a pair of black aces against a pair of black kings will see the former win 82.64% of the time but black aces “only” win red kings 81.26% of the time, which although a minor difference can be quite large over a significant sample size.

Famous AA vs KK confrontations

Although we have already ascertained that AA vs KK confrontations do not happen as often as we would like to believe, when they do occur they are usually high profile as the pots are more significant and if the aces lose a big deal is made due to them being an overwhelming favourite. The biggest hand of this type in recent times was at the 2009 World Series of Poker Main Event final table, which Joe Cada eventually won. In the hand Kevin Schaffel raised from middle position to 1,250,000 holding AhAc, Steve Begleiter called in the cutoff but Eric Buchman, on the button, looked down at KhKc and made it 5,750,000 to play.

With the action back on Schaffel, he moved all-in for 17,200,000 chips in total, forcing Begleiter out of the pot but Buchman quickly called. As Schaffel’s aces were of the same suit as Buchman’s kings he was an 82.64% favourite but that all changed when the flop came down Qs-Jh-Ks, giving Buchman a set! Shaffel still had around a 21% chance to win as he could have hit a ten for a straight or an ace for a higher set but the Kd fell on the turn, giving his opponent quad kings and the hand. The meaningless 9c arrive on the turn and Schaffel was eliminated in eighth place, worth $1,300,231.

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