POKER TIP 2
HOLDING AN ACE KICKER CARD WITH A PAIR IN 5-CARD DRAW POKER WITH VARIOUS NUMBERS OF PLAYERS IN THE GAME
The last article demonstrated that you can increase your overall winnings by saving an Ace kicker with a pair of honor cards in an 8-player, 5-card Draw Poker despite the fact that the odds are against improving your hand (to 3 of a kind or a full house for example) as one of the best-known books on Poker points out.
We suggested a good and easy to remember rule of thumb:
In 8-player, 5-card draw, always hold an ace kicker to an honor pair (Kings, Queens, Jacks or Tens).
This article will analyze the effect of holding an Ace kicker with various numbers of players, and will permit us to amend the above rule of thumb to:
Always hold an ace kicker to an honor pair (Kings, Queens, Jacks or Tens) in 5-card Draw Poker.
The data for the following three graphs that follow were obtained from a Poker Statistics program available from the www.pokerstatistics.org
website. As in the last article, the Ace of diamonds was used for each of the three statistical runs with the King of spades and King of hearts pair, and/or the Ten of spades and Ten of Hearts pair.
The first graph illustrates that you will improve your winnings by holding an Ace kicker with either a pair of Kings or a pair of Tens with any number of players (2 to 8) in the game of 5-card Draw Poker and drawing two cards as opposed to discarding the Ace and drawing three cards. It is presumed that the Queens and Jacks curves would lie generally between the Kings and Tens curves.
Although the winnings are not as great with the Tens pair as with the Kings pair, they are, nevertheless, an improvement in winnings for any number of players realized by holding the Ace kicker card.
Observe that the Kings curve is relatively smooth, while Tens curve is extremely jagged. The next two graphs will reveal a possible explanation for the “jaggies” of the Tens curve.
Observe that the separation of the two curves in the above graph for 8 players is about 10% while the separation of the two curves in the lower graph is only about 3.5%. Small deviations from the relatively smooth and more closely spaced curves of the lower graph will, therefore, tend to have a disproportionate impact on the % winnings of the first graph, which in turn results in the jagged curve for the Tens pair.
You should now know what to do when holding a pair of Kings through Tens with an Ace kicker in a 5-card Draw Poker game, but how should you treat high honor pairs with a non-matching, non-Ace honor kicker card in Draw Poker with various numbers of players in the game, and how high is high? For example, how should you handle a pair of Aces with a King kicker card? Should you keep the King and draw two cards, or discard the King and draw three? How about other honor pairs with non-Ace honor kicker cards?
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Stay tuned for future articles that will explore Texas Holdem betting statistics when holding various hole cards and looking at pre-designated flop cards as well as various aspects of five, six and seven card Stud Poker.