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What is the play with cowboys in the hole?  How about full-throttle on the poker stakes?  Whether its preflop action or an overpair to the flop, there is only one way to proceed.  Here are a few pocket kings playing tips for beginners!

Tip #1 – Increase the Poker Stakes When Holding Pocket Kings

In Texas Hold Em, the game starts when two cards are dealt face down to each player.  These are the hole cards which, together with the flop, turn and river, are used to construct the best five-card poker hand.  When you are dealt K-K, you are holding a pair of kings, aka pocket kings.

As you have probably gathered by now, poker has its own jargon.  In virtual poker rooms like Juicy Stakes Poker, pocket kings are also known as cowboys.  Why cowboys?

Well, it could be a reference to the days when poker was played in the saloons and gaming halls of the Wild West.  It could also be the fact that both cowboys and kings start with a K sound.  The actual reason is anyone’s guess.

What we do know for sure is that cowboys in the hole aren’t cow pokes digging up the dirt.  Rather, it is the second-best poker hand preflop.  Only a pair of aces or – yep, you’ve guessed it – pocket aces is better.

When you hold pocket kings, it is time to adjust your poker stakes.  In this instance, you can throw caution to the wind and go big.  Quite how big depends upon a few things like:

  • the limits of a particular game
  • the size of your bankroll and
  • what is generally considered the value bet!

Tip #2 – Raise… and Raise Hard on a Pair of Kings Preflop

Right, you have picked up your cards and you have cowboys in the hole.  The first thing to do is keep calm.   Avoid the urge to smile or chuckle and rather focus on the kind of poker stakes you are willing to invest in the game!

Once you have done that, the next part is dead easy as it involves only one strategy.  Notwithstanding your position – whether you are in position and acting last in the betting round or out of position and responding to another player’s call – the keyword is to ‘raise’!

Although you may feel the urge to enter the round by calling, that is not the right move.  Limping only results in smaller pots.  That of course means lower poker stakes going in… and less cash going out – and that can have a detrimental effect on the bankroll.

When we say ‘raise’, the strategically correct online poker play is to 3-bet every time.  The question is, what is the optimal size of a 3-bet when holding pocket kings preflop?  According to the poker pros, that is around three and half times the size of the initial raise.

If, for example, your opponent raises to $4, your best bet – or value bet – is $14 to $15.   That is a general rule that applies to any position.  It is worth emphasizing that the whole idea here is to maximize the size of the pot.

Equally, by raising and re-raising you are likely to whittle out the weaker hands.  When you do that, you mitigate the risk.  How come?  There is less chance of a nasty surprise.  By that we mean a situation where an opponent burglarises the lead with ace high on the flop!

Tip #3 – Don’t Change the Strategy

What happens when you are facing a 3-bet?  Do you change your strategy and put the brakes on the poker stakes?  Nope, you 4-bet… but this time, the optimal bet size differs marginally according to your position.

  • When in position, the size of your 4-bet should be approximately 2.3 times the value of the 3-bet
  • The best 4-bet increases marginally when you out of position, to around 2.5 times of the 3-bet

Here is an example.  Your opponent 3-bets $15.  In that scenario, your recommended 4-bet is rounded off to $35 and $38 for the in and out positions, respectively.  When you are up against a 4-bet, it is time to go all in on a 5-bet – and that sometimes means going over the self-imposed limit on the poker stakes!

That is the strategy for a pair of kings preflop.  How about when your pocket kings outrank the highest high card on the board.  In other words, how do you play an overpair to the flop?

Tip # 4 – Value Bet on a K-K Overpair to the Flop

Again, the correct strategy is determined by your position at the table.  When you are in position the rule is to value bet.  That applies to single-raised pots and 3-bet pots.  In other words, play as though you have a positive expectation.

The role of a value bet is to increase the value of the pot – and that is a core objective of anyone playing poker online.  Slow playing is a no-no.  It may preserve your poker stakes, but it won’t win you any friends.  Think Fast and the Furious and put the pedal to the metal!

In fact, the only time to slow play is when the flop is low but connected.  For example, when the board shows 6 of spades, 4 of diamonds and 3 of hearts, or similar.  When that happens, it is a good time to check – in and out of position.

That is the Online Poker Pocket Kings Playbook in broad brushstrokes.  As with all online poker strategies, there is a lot to absorb.   One easy way of improving your skills is to sign up at Juicy Stakes Poker.  That way, you can mitigate your losses by playing our cash games at low poker stakes!


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