5 Pocket Hands You Can’t Ever Fold in Texas Hold’Em

Texas Hold'em

Decision-making is the key to success in poker, and Texas Hold’em is not an exception. As the saying goes, you gotta know when to hold’em and when to fold’em. This is particularly important at the start of the game.

The pre-flop phase is where you lay the groundwork for the latter stages. If you do well, you will have easier decisions. This is why every Texas Hold’em strategy starts with your pocket hands and what ranges to play from each position.

There is a lot of context and a lot of aspects to consider. However, there are situations when folding a certain pocket hand before the flop is simply impossible. Let’s take a look at some of them.

Pocket Aces

Quite an obvious start, but it doesn’t get any better than that when it comes to starting hands in Texas Hold’em. The aces are always a favorite, and the only way you won’t be ahead is if you face the other two.

This is why you can’t really fold aces; it’s like burning money. Whether it’s a tournament or a cash game, you can’t let go. Every other action might be correct under certain circumstances.

You could limp them and play it tricky. You could raise to make the pot bigger or even push if you believe you could get all the chips in the middle. However, you can’t fold.

Okay, technically, I’ve seen theoretical scenarios where it would be correct to fold aces.

For Example

If you’re playing a satellite and you will certainly get a ticket if you keep folding. Still, someone has to actually eliminate the short stacks at some point, and what better hand to do so than pocket aces?

I’ve been playing poker for more than 10 years now and have never folded aces pre-flop. And frankly, I don’t think I ever will. I suggest you to follow suit unless you want to anger the poker gods out there. It’s downright insulting to them when someone folds pocket aces.

Pocket Kings Against an Aggressive Maniac

Okay, so next in line is the second-best pocket hand in Texas Hold’em – two kings. It’s a monster before the flop and way ahead against pretty much any other hand beside two aces. It dominates lower pairs 4 to 1, which is why this starting hand is so powerful.

Still, there are situations in Texas Hold’em when it is considered a good idea to fold your kings before the flop.

For Example

If there are a bunch of players all-in, or a super nitty opponent’s play is just screaming he has aces.

There’s nothing wrong with considering the fold as an option under certain circumstances. However, there is one particular spot where you shouldn’t ever fold pocket kings, and that’s when you’re facing an aggressive maniac.

You all know the kind. People who are raising, re-raising, and going all-in pretty much every single hand. Usually, they don’t really care about the money and are simply looking for action. Or they could believe they are some kind of poker prodigy that can do whatever they want and bluff everyone out of the hand.

You can expect some weird bluffs with weak hands and downright ridiculous moves from such maniacs. This is the reason you should never, ever fold kings against them. You are always ahead against their range, period.

Okay, you might eventually face aces, but that would be a total coincidence, and so rare that’s is not worth considering. Simply put your chips in the middle of the table without thinking too much. The cowboys will do the rest

Any Two Cards from the SB in a Limped Family Pot

This one is a bit different and doesn’t really come from the hand you have, but from the particular situation. Imagine the following: you are on the small blind and the whole table before you has limped. You have the chance to see a flop for half a blind against tons of people.

The pot odds you get are so good that you should play any two pocket cards. Also, the implied odds are exceptional. If you hit something really big, it’s almost certain that someone will get hooked. After all, everyone at the table is involved.

Sure, there’s a chance the big blind might spoil the hand for everyone and raise, but you will rarely see it happen. Even if you consider this, you still get good odds, and even the worst hands are worth a shot.

So when this happens, don’t be too strict. If there’s a time to play garbage like 8-2 offsuit, this is it. Embrace the moment, as you can potentially win a large pot with a tiny investment. And on top of that, you can do it with pocket cards you wouldn’t normally play. If that’s not fun, I don’t know what is!

Any Two Against a Raise When You Saw the Hand of Your Opponent

Okay, before I proceed, I should clarify something. Don’t try to see what your opponent has. At least don’t make an effort to do it; it’s close to cheating and considered rude on the poker table.

However, if the other player is careless enough to reveal his hand without noticing, you should take advantage. After all, one of the most important rules in poker is that you are on your own. The other players are on the table to take your money, so you should protect yourself.

So, if someone is not doing that, it’s not immoral to take advantage. If you happen to see his cards, you have a great opportunity to take on him after the flop. Such an information changes the whole hand and gives you an enormous advantage.

This is why you should always go to the flop and see how it goes.

You could win by hitting the better hand or bluff the guy under the right circumstances.

When you know what your opponent has, no hand is too weak. You should call his raise even with the likes of 3-9 and 2-8. Simply put, your pocket hand doesn’t really matter and you shouldn’t fold.

When You Have 2-7 and There’s a 2-7 Challenge Going On

We all know that 2-7 offsuit is considered the worst starting hand in Texas Hold’em. Statistically, that’s not quite true, but that’s a topic for another time.

A lot of people in live games like to have some fun and go for the 2-7 challenge. You will see it in home games and sometimes in live casinos when the whole table agrees. It’s interesting to note that it was part of the High Stakes Poker TV show.

If you haven’t heard about this side game, it’s pretty simple. If you manage to win a hand with 2-7, each player on the table is obliged to give you some money, usually ten or even twenty big blinds. It doesn’t really matter how you win; it could be by bluffing or by reaching a showdown.

Such a side bet makes the game very interesting. It’s sometimes hard to distinguish if you are facing aces or 2-7. The dynamics are completely changed, and this is the reason a lot of people love it.

It also changes the math behind the weakest hand in Texas Hold’em. As you could imagine, the added value is crucial. You will be able to take half a buy-in or even a full one, depending on the particular agreement. This makes 2-7 impossible to fold under any circumstances.

Final Words

As you can see, Texas Hold’em is flexible, but there are situations where the correct decision is obvious. You should always play these hands, as there is value for the taking. Even if you feel like this is one of the very rare cases when folding is correct, trust me, that’s not true.