Odds Of Running Into Aces When Holding Kings

Running Into An Opponent Holding Aces When You Have Been Dealt Kings Is Always Unfortunate - This Look At The Probability Of KK vs AA Gives You The Explanations You Need

It is going to happen to you many times in a poker career of any length at all – you hold 2 kings and get as much money into the pot as possible pre-flop (or on a safe looking flop) and end up running into 2 aces. This article looks at the probability of this match-up and goes on to explain that, as bad as you may feel, there is rarely any real need to change the way you approach this situation. This article compliments our introduction to Pre-flop Poker Probability which explains this important area in depth.

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KK vs AA – The Basic Numbers And Probability

First the actual numbers depend on how many opponents are still to act, and to a lesser extent how many have already folded (since they are less likely to be folding hands which contain an ace).

  • Chance of you getting dealt KK in any one hand is 221 to 1 – so 0.4% of the time you’ll see 2 Kings in your hand before the flop.
  • Chance of any one opponent getting dealt 2 aces pre-flop is the same, 221-1, but we need to take into account that there are 2 kings ‘accounted for’ here. That is to say their cards came from 50 unknown cards and not the full 52. So, the chances are a little bit bigger – 0.48% in fact – or around once every 205 hands.
  • Of course this is per opponent, so you need to adjust for many opponents. Here we could get tricky and start to account for the folded cards, but since the effect will be very small we can just multiply it up in the following format to give a good idea of the true AA vs KK odds.
Number Of Opponents AA vs KK odds
1 Opponent 0.48%
2 Opponent 0.96%
3 Opponent 1.44%
4 Opponent 1.92%
5 Opponent 2.40%
6 Opponent 2.88%
7 Opponent 3.36%
8 Opponent 3.84%
9 Opponent 4.32%

This clearly shows that at full table of players you are only likely to run those Kings into Aces less than 1 time in 20 – in itself this is a strong case for playing them as strongly as possible pre-flop – however there is an even better way of looking at the same numbers.

KK vs AA – Probability In Relation To The Hands Your Opponent Would Raise

Here is the situation – half way through a poker tournament the blinds and antes are starting to get large in relation to the stacks. You raise before the flop with KK and are re-raised an amount that would commit both you and your opponent to the pot if you call (so effectively all-in). How can we make an informed decision here that will win us chips in the long run?

While in this situation you would rarely fold without a read on an opponent that they have aces ridiculously often here, the thought process below can help you in situations where you have a wider range of holdings.

Ask This Question: What Is The Range Of Hands My Opponent Could Have Made This Big Raise With?

For example, if in the above situation you estimated your opponent to be reasonably tight you might easily assume he would raise with Jacks, Queens, Kings, Aces, Ace-King or Ace-Queen Suited.

You can then use this estimate to work out your winning chances against the complete range of hands. This can be done using a free poker odds calculator such as Poker Stove or it can be done manually – taking into account that the fact that you hold two kings reduces the chances of your opponent holding KK or A-K.

Using Poker Stove we can see that against the range of hands even an extremely tight opponent might raise with we have a massive 63% equity in the pot and a clear call… if your opponent plays a wider range or includes just a small percentage of bluffs here then your chances are even bigger.


My message is clear – if you are dealt KK pre-flop you need a very clear read to fold against a single opponent. Play those Kings like the best hand and wish your opponent the best those times you run into aces – and you will show a big profit over time.

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