Pocket Aces have the highest chance of winning. However, this doesn't necessarily mean that they have the highest expected winnings. For example, a player with pocket Aces may be more aggressive, driving away all competition.

Are there any studies that compare hands in terms of average winnings? I'm not interested in studies sourced from statistics or computer evaluation, rather one that takes real-life games as its data source.

Do pocket Aces actually earn players the most money? If so, does this correlation hold for all other hands?

2 Answers 2


I agree with Timmermans that knowing average tendencies is not very useful as a whole. Some people can play low pockets (or other mid-value hands) well, some can't. Your job is to figure out whether you/your opponent can/can't, and having average data doesn't help that cause, in my opinion. Some people also have different bluff hands to match their value hands, and may be -EV on those hands just so that they get more value from value hands.

That said, AA is the highest value hand. It is easily my most profitable hand by a large margin (and i assume it is for most other normal/decent players) because it is really not easy to screw up AA consistently over the long term, especially if you don't play ultra deep stacks. Beyond that, i imagine it is more tricky to rank the remaining hands by EV.

I would guess that if someone did do the analysis of every recorded hand, the EV of the hand would tend to its relative strength.

  • I agree with you here: I would expect that the EV of a hand tends to its relative strength. That's why I'd love data here: Is that hypothesis true? Commented Feb 8, 2019 at 14:04

Some players get married to their aces. They win small pots and lose big ones. But there are also other players who play aces more than perfectly and win a ton.

Some players use A5s as a 4-bet bluffing hand. Or they use some off suit ace with the nut flush blocker to represent a flush. They might lose more with this specific hand, than players who bluff less. But win more when they have the goods due to their reputation.

Some players win more money than they should with 54s. Some players opt to not play the hand at all most of the times.

If everybody would play perfect poker each hand would earn you about as much as you'd expect. The only exception is hands that are frequently bluffed with, like off suit aces for example. Since bluffing in itself is always -ev, you will lose more money compared to your equity pre-flop.

But some never bluff, so in the end it all depends on the player's playstyle. If someone opens with 72o, he will lose more than he should. It is therefore impossible to answer your question. There are so many players, with different strategies and they adjust these strategies after every single hand they play.

  • Sure, every player is different and players change individually, but there seems to be a wealth of data on poker. Surely there's a study somewhere that simply looks at the average winnings for a given hand? I don't care about individual players, but rather long-term averages. Commented Feb 7, 2019 at 2:40
  • The information you'd find is useless. What would you care if the average player in march 2016 played aces slightly suboptimal?
    – Raymond
    Commented Feb 7, 2019 at 12:30
  • Because if it was true when they did the study, it likely is still true today (assuming a large enough sample size). Commented Feb 7, 2019 at 14:08
  • I disagree. But even if this is true. What would it help you to know other players play aces in some poor way?
    – Raymond
    Commented Feb 7, 2019 at 16:17
  • I enjoy playing poker, but my question isn't a self-improvement one, but rather an academic one. I think you are right on that front: the only way this would improve my personal play is if I had these statistics on myself (or my opponent), which seems difficult to do. Commented Feb 7, 2019 at 19:28

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