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Everyone, even a teenager, knows an Ace is the highest card in the deck; whereas, a deuce is at the bottom of the card rankings. A pair of Aces always beats a pair of deuces – or any other pair, for that matter.

But there are times when the lowly deuce – or another small card – is far better than the elegant Ace. Here’s a good example. It’s a hand I recently played:

It was a $4-$8 limit hold’em game, and I had been dealt A-K suited in a middle position. No doubt about it, that’s a great starting hand. I considered raising to build the pot since I knew I had a good chance of winning with that starting hand. One out of three times, on the flop, you can expect to pair one of your non-pair hole cards. The odds are only 2-to-1 against it.

Everyone folded to me. Not wanting to force all of my opponents out of the hand – you can’t win very many chips if everyone folds to your raise – I decided not to make the raise, and simply limped along with several other players.

The flop was A-5-4 rainbow; giving me a pair of Aces, with the King as my Kicker. That’s most likely to be the best hand in the game at that time. Meanwhile, an opponent on the Button, who stayed to see the flop with A-2 offsuit in the hole was far behind me with his pair of Aces on the flop because of his poor kicker. I had him “out-Kicked.” He also had a draw to an inside straight. That might have influenced his decision as he called my bet to see the Turn. Personally, I would have folded the A-2 before the flop.

The Turn was the Jack of hearts – no help to either of us. I bet out, and he was the only one to call. Now, it was just the two of us in the pot. Since he did not know what I held in my hand, he was willing to invest another $8 to see the River; he had 7 outs (3 deuces and 4 treys for the small straight). It was, in fact, not an unreasonable call at that point based on the pot odds.

The River put another deuce on the board. Now he had two-pair, Aces and deuces, beating me out on the River. His pot! My big Kicker did not help one bit.

The next day, when I discussed this hand with my poker buddy Lucy, she commiserated with me. And then she told me of a somewhat similar experience she recently had while playing hold’em. Her opponent had been dealt A-4 spades and decided to call to see the flop. (No raises preflop.) The flop brought the second Ace and another spade.

The Turn gave her opponent yet a fourth spade; and then on the River it was a third small spade. Runner-runner spades! With her pair of Aces and King Kicker, Lucy bet out on the River. Her opponent raised. Lucy pondered and decided to call his raise. Of course, her opponent’s flush took the pot. Now I commiserated with her. Lucy ended this discussion with those famous words, “Oh well, that’s poker!”

Then we went on to discuss family matters not related to the game of poker.

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