One certainty that you will see EVERY time you play online No Limit Texas Hold’em is players playing Ace-rag. Remember, the majority of online players are novices, and for them, any Ace is a good Ace. You will see players go to the River with A-3 off suit nearly every time you play poker online. What you need to do is recognize this fact and learn to play against it.
Obviously, one of the best strategies is to not play A-rag yourself. If you restrict your starting hands to A-K, A-Q, and A-J, lets just say for example, you will not find yourself on the losing end of a kicker very often. (this is not taking into account any position plays, late in a SNG stealing blind plays, etc) Most of the time, if you have some patience and just fold your A-8 off suit, you will find that you fare much better in the games that you play. The other certainty that you will notice in internet play, is that most players forget about kickers. They get so excited to see that Ace in their hand, much less when it pairs up on the Flop, that they fail to even think about that fact that they are out kickered.
Keeping this in mind, you might consider playing A-9 off suit in the right situation. Maybe the action has folded to you in middle position, at times, you might play this hand, more or less to try and take down the blinds, but still give yourself an opportunity to win if you have to see the flop. However, stay out of already opened or raised pots with A-rag hands. If you are controlling the action, A-rag is ok SOMETIMES, but if someone else has already opened the pot or put in a raise, stay out of it!
The only real thing to worry about when playing against players who will play any Ace, is if and when their rag pairs up. This will happen, and I guarantee it will drive you nuts. Get used to it, deal with it, and move on. The will be times that you can spot by your opponents betting pattern when they have paired up a hand like A-2 to beat your A-K, but by and large these hands are going to smack you over the head when they happen. Rest easy in the knowledge that your A-K off is a hand that will hold up over 70% of the time against a single opponent. Those are not bad odds most of the time.
Overall, kickers are one of the most overlooked aspects of NL Texas Hold em, by novice players anyway. You want to exploit that weakness whenever possible. Even if they “luck out” you are still going to win confrontations where you have the better kicker a great percentage of the time. Over time, that will add to your bankroll and keep these A-rag players running to the cashier for more money.
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