When to Fold Pocket Aces? (It Might Surprise You)

You Must Fold Pocket Aces in This One Situation

Most people don't know that there is one type of poker player (and situation) where you really need to fold your pocket AA.

Now I know that folding pocket aces is not something that any of us like to do. You wait all day to get dealt the best hand ever created in Texas Hold'em, the rockets, AA.

And while you will win huge with this hand over the long term, winning poker players know that there is also a time and a place to cut your losses and simply fold this hand.

Should You Ever Fold Pocket Aces Preflop?

Now before I even begin let me get one thing out of the way first. People often ask me if they should ever fold their pocket aces preflop.

This one is easy. No, absolutely not under any circumstances!

Pocket AA is the best hand in the game and therefore you will always be at a statistical advantage versus any other hand.

Your goal when you have pocket AA preflop should always be to get as much money in the pot as possible. So this means raising, re-raising, re-re-raising, whatever you gotta do!

Should You Ever Fold Pocket Aces Postflop?

So now let's get to the much more interesting question of should you ever fold your pocket aces postflop (flop, turn or river).

The answer to this question is yes. Although it is still pretty rare.

The key to knowing when you need to fold your pocket AA after the flop is understanding player types. This is something that I cover in massive detail in all my poker books.

I have also written the #1 article available on the internet today for understanding poker players types.

Why am I so obsessed with player types in Hold'em? Because the key to winning poker isn't really even about the cards at all. It is knowing who you are playing against.

I am sure you have heard the old saying before, "play the player, not the cards."

Ya, well I and most other pros have made an entire career out of this one little statement. Winning poker is all about understanding your opponent better than they even understand themselves.

This hand is a perfect example of that.

In this poker hand we 3-bet preflop (re-raise) with pocket AA versus an under the gun open raiser. We get cold called on the button and the under the gun player chooses to call as well.

Both of these players fit the player category that is broadly referred to these days as "bad regs." And more specifically, their exact player type is a tight and passive regular.

This is also very commonly referred to simply as a "Nit." Here by the way is my detailed article on how to crush the nits at the poker table.

These types of players are pretty selective about what hands they play preflop so they often have a pretty good hand.

However, they tend to play passively overall and sometimes slowplay as well. In fact, these players are often so transparent that any time they make a big raise postflop, they have a huge hand.

This is especially going to be the case in bloated 3-bet pots like we see in this hand. Or any time there is a lot of money in the money. Because risk averse players like this do not like to put a lot of their chips at risk unless they have a huge hand.

Basically, these players are small stakes nits that sit around waiting for the nuts all day (the best hand possible). You can run them over by stealing their blinds and continuation betting them endlessly.

But when they finally wake up and start fighting back in a big way, you would be best served to fold your hand as quickly as possible. Because they aren't messing around.

Fold Pocket AA in Large Multi-Way Pots With Big Action

And so in this hand we go to see a flop of:


Now typically this isn't the worst flop for pocket AA. But when you are up against a couple of tight passive nits who may even have pocket kings or pocket queens in their range, you have to tread lightly.

The action in this hand though is really what makes this a profitable fold for us. The original raiser checks to us and we make a standard 1/3 pot size continuation bet.

Now, when the player on the button mini-raises and then the under the gun player ships his entire stack in, we need to seriously consider what the heck is going on here!

As we know, these players have an aggression factor of 1 and 2 respectively.

And as I talked about last week in my ultimate guide to aggression factor, these are the lowest values possible for this particular HUD stat.

So therefore, when these types of players suddenly decide to start going nuts in an already bloated 3-bet pot, we need to seriously, seriously consider folding.

Fold Pocket AA Versus Tight Passive Nits in a 3-Bet Pot

In fact, I would argue that folding your pocket AA in this situation is the only play that makes any real sense.

If we were up against two fish, then it would be a totally different story. I would be happy to get all my chips in the pot against them, because they will have much wider ranges.

But when you are up against a pair of tight passive nits like this in a large multi-way pot, and it goes raise and then re-raise, there is just no way our pocket aces are good here anymore.

And as I often say, it really doesn't even matter what they have. You don't need to rack you brain to put them on a hand.

The bottom line is that when you see big action like this in a multi-way pot from a pair of tight passive nits, they have two pair at a bare minimum.

Therefore, we can profitably throw away our pocket AA here and save a stack of chips. These are the little edges that big winning poker players find.

Because it is not always about winning the biggest pots in poker. Sometimes it is about minimizing your losses as well.

Final Thoughts

So when should you fold your pocket aces in poker?

The answer is versus a tight passive player type who starts making large raises in a big pot out of nowhere.

And that is because these are the kinds of players who essentially just sit around waiting for the nuts all day.

They often play relatively tight preflop and have a very low postflop aggression factor. What this means is that when they start raising you after the flop, they almost always have something really good.

Pocket AA is an incredible hand. It is the best hand in the game. But you also have to remember that unimproved after the flop, pocket aces is still just one pair.

You have to learn to respect tight passive players like this who suddenly start going crazy by betting and raising you on dangerous boards.

Because if you do, you will wind up saving yourself a lot of money at the poker tables. And this will ultimately improve your win-rate drastically.

If you want to know how I created one of the highest win-rates in online poker history at the micros as a 10+ year poker pro, make sure you grab a copy of my free poker cheat sheet.

You Must Fold Pocket Aces Versus This One Type of Player


  1. Nice post and video analysis! I agree that in a situation like this versus two weak regs you gotta fold the AA.

    1. Yup, it's not easy to do but sometimes it is the right play. Thanks for reading!