There is a reason why poker players get excited when they are dealt pocket kings (KK). Although it is a second-best hand in Texas Holdem, you are not guaranteed to win with it every time. In this article, I will show you odds on several different spots that come up often preflop and postflop.
KK is a considerable favorite to win against everything but pocket aces. It is a top 0.9% hand. You can expect to receive pocket kings once every 222 hands, with odds 221 to 1. But how often can you expect to win when you get them?
Odds to win with Pocket Kings (KK) preflop
Pocket kings have an 82.4% chance to win preflop against a random hand. Against aces, they are the underdog and will win only 18% of the time, which is less than 1 out of 5 times. But this is the only time KK is dominated preflop.
KK is not just the second-best hand in terms of preflop equity, but it also makes the second most profitable hand.
Winrate with Pocket Kings (KK)
Pocket kings make you money from any position. And they make you a lot of money. In fact, I make more than 5.5 big blinds every time I am dealt KK. The graph goes up smoothly because of such high winrate, and it almost looks like there is no variance present.
So next time when you sit down at live $5/$5 cash game and get kings, you know you will roughly make $25 long term with them. Of course, it varies a bit if you play tough games, or games full of weak players. It also depends if you are in a tournament, where the ante is in play, and the number of chips you have. Winrate will also be a bit different in 6max and full ring games. But my cash game graph, which is a mix of 6max and full ring games, gives you a good number to aim for.
Pocket Kings (KK) odds postflop on different boards
You can see from my stats that I cbet pocket kings on the flop very often. We want to extract value from worse hands. We usually go for two or even three streets of value (we bet on the flop, turn, and river) in single raised pots.
It depends mostly on the board to know how good our pocket kings are on the flop. And of course the opponents hand range.
If ace hits on the board, that is the main reason your aggression should slow down. It makes sense to pot control and to possibly get to free showdown. Opponent won’t have an ace every time, but the times he shows aggression on it, you should be giving up with pocket kings.
I will show you three different scenarios when opponents hold different hands, and how good our equity with pocket kings is:
- 7c8s9s flop
- Q82 rainbow flop
- KcTh7h flop
KK Equity on 7c8s9s flop:
|Our equity on 7c8s9s||AsQs||8c9c||9hTh|
As we can see, we are a favorite against some hands that might want to stack off on this flop or will reraise our bet. But building the pot, where at best we are a small favorite, is not a right approach. Plus, opponents might have straights and sets already, which completely crushes us.
On such draw massive flop, it is best to pot control. Calling once is fine, but if you are under more pressure, then it makes sense to give up your hand. You don’t want to be playing a guessing game if an opponent has hit his hand, or just has a powerful draw.
KK Equity on Q82 rainbow flop:
|Our equity on Qc8h2s||AT||AQ||88||Q8|
KK here is a big favorite against top pair hands. Against naked overcard like AT, it is an even greater favorite. But it comes really short against sets or two pairs. Therefore such dry flops are good to value bet on, but once we get reraised, we often need to let go of KK.
KK Equity on KcTh7h flop:
|Our equity on KcTh7h flop||QhJh||AhKh||77|
Even when holding a top set, our hand can be quite vulnerable. On such boards, we mustn’t slowplay, but instead, start betting hard. Many turns are bad for our top set. Strongest draws even have almost 40% chance to win against our top set on the flop.
3bet and 4bet Pots
Pocket Kings (KK) is a great hand to 3bet and 4bet with preflop.
Look at how often I 3bet with pocket kings. It is a mixture of 6max and full ring. If I have a very aggressive opponent after me, then sometimes I will not 3bet, to let the aggro guy bluff 3bet, to his 3bet, I can 4bet, and get more chips this way.
With KK, you should be 3-betting from every position. The majority of the time, it is a 4bet and ‘get it in’ hand. Only against the tightest of opponents, it makes sense not to stack off preflop. But to be folding KK in online cash games, you would need to have read on the opponent or know precisely with what range they do it with. Software like HUD can tell you exactly how wide the opponent is willing to stack off or 4bet. This is why HUDs are essential for every poker pro.
It also makes sense to not 3bet or 4bet KK against people who fold to 3bets and 4bets too much. Against such a player, the correct play is to disguise your hand a bit and extract some more value postflop. Rather use bluffs for 3bet and 4bet against such opponents.
How often does Ace hit on the flop when we have KK
Everyone is scared to see Ace on the flop when they have kings. Is that fear justified? Does it happen that often? Well, you will see an Ace on the flop 22% of the time. If one of the opponents has the Ace in their hand, then the ace will hit on the flop 18% of the time, 23.4% by the turn, and 28.6% of the time by the river. So actually there won’t be an overcard on the board that often.
KK does really good multiway. Of course, we do need to be a bit careful not to inflate the pot by mindlessly value betting on any flop. It hits bigger sets and bigger overpairs. We can value bet against top pair type of hands.
When to give up with KK in a multiway pot
Good time to give up with our KK is:
- When we are value betting on dry boards but get reraised. Multiway players will not be bluffing often enough with reraises.
- When there is a lot of action in front of us. If there are a bet and a reraise in front of us you are correct to fold KK in most situations.
- On draw heavy boards, and someone has bet already. We need to be careful on draw heavy flops like 789 with a flush draw. If someone leads out on such board, then our KK is at best slightly better than a flip, but often already behind against a stronger hand.
KK is a second-best hand preflop, and according to that is the profit that it makes you. You shouldn’t be really concerned about A hit on the flop, but if it happens, then slow down your aggression and if show one, consider giving up and wait for a better spot as there will be plenty.