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Poker Article: Texas Holdem Strategy - Pocket Ace Seven Unsuited Hand

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Make believe that you are playing in a poker tournament in your favorite online poker room. Currently, you are seated at an 8-player table, where you are at seat # 7, with the blinds are seated at seats # 4 and # 5. You've been playing for an hour, and lo and behold, you are the chipleader at the table (2,000 chips), and you are fourth overall in the Tournament (i.e., you are doing well !). The players at seats # 2, # 4, # 5, and # 6 all have 500 chips or less remaining.

In a given hand, you receive an Ace of Diamonds and a Seven of Hearts as a pocket hand. The player just before you winds up calling the big blind bet. So, now it's up to you - do you fold, call or raise your bet ?

There are many reasons why you should immediately fold this hand. First, a pocket Ace Seven unsuited hand is not one of the strongest pocket hands around; it only has a mathematical win rate of 10.2 %, and is only rated # 41 out of 169 possible pocket hands. Second, you have to bet very early in the betting round, given your seating position, and at this point, you really do not have an idea of what the rest of the table may or may not have. Third, although you may be inclined to raise the bet to at least 500 chips (in the hope of weeding 4 players at your table out of the tournament), it is imprudent for you to think in those terms. In this case, they may have mediocre hands (maybe a pair of 5's or maybe suited connectors such as 9/10 Diamonds), and out of desperation to get back in the tournament, they may call your large raise.

Finally, there are 3 other players at this table that have more than 500 chips. So, if you make a 500 (or more) chip bet with such a mediocre hand, there is a decent probability that you could lose the land, and be relinquished to someone who is no longer the chip leader at this table. This would certainly diminish your betting strength in future hands.

Thus, we conclude that it would be unwise for you to call or raise this bet, and we highly recommend that you fold your hand. As an aside, you may want to consider playing an Ace/Seven unsuited in a situation where there are only a few players left at the table (or in the hand), and where the blinds are high.

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