Pocket kings are a hand that requires strategy to play correctly. The only starting hand that is more powerful is pocket aces, though some players, including some pros, are strong believers that A-K is just as good. Still, when you start off Casino Extra a round of Texas Hold ‘Em, there aren’t too many hands that you would rather see, and pocket kings hidden in a game of seven card stud can make you just as happy. For Texas Hold ‘Em, pocket kings are considered a dominant hand. It is correct to always raise or re-raise no matter where you are sitting at table.
The biggest general concern you have with pocket kings is having an ace land on the flop or during play. Should you worry about pocket aces? Generally, no, and here’s the reason. The chances of being dealt pocket kings are 1 in every 222 hands. That is the same odds that someone will receive pocket aces. They are great hands, but the chances of both being in the same round are really slim to nil. It does happen, and if you play long enough it will happen, but it is foolish to play in fear. What happens if you fold your kings only to find that pocket sevens or pocket jacks end up winning the pot? You won’t feel good about that decision then. The odds of your pocket kings winning against any two cards (other than pocket aces) is 70%!
The general odds are that one of every three boards (this is all five cards—including the flop, fourth street, and the river) will have an ace appear. That ace is the bane of a pocket kings existence, because several of the strongest hands someone will play you all involve an ace (A-K, A-Q, A-J, A-10), or bad players will even play A-4 or A-5, which suddenly could be better than your kings if that board hits badly. So how do you play pocket kings?
Pre-flop you should raise and re-raise. In a no-limit game if a short stack goes all in you should actually raise over that to discourage others from calling. Always raise and re-raise pre-flop with the kings. Your chances for winning the hand are so good that you want to put in as much as possible. After the flop, if no aces appear then you should keep raising and re-raising. Keep in mind that if there are no kings or aces on the board, a player with pocket queens or pocket jacks probably think they are still good, whereas you have them beat badly. Let them put all their chips in!
If something really “scary” comes up (for example, three of one suit when neither of your kings matches it) you should still give one strong bet. This will most likely get rid of any bluffers, get rid of a good number of flush chasers, and Casino Extra possibly even get rid of someone holding those troublesome aces. If the other person re-raises strongly, then you need to analyze what that player’s normal style is and consider a fold.
If nothing scary appears, but the person keeps re-raising you, go ahead and take your time to make sure you did not miss anything. Chances are high that you have that player badly beat, and by taking your time to make sure, the other player might mistake your caution for weakness and put in more chips. If they do, double up on the sucker, and enjoy the power of pocket kings!