I fielded a Poker StackExchange question the other day about whether AA is the best starting hand in Texas Hold-Em No Limit vs. 8 other players. Indeed, it is so. Now I have a variant of this question involving Texas Hold-Em double-board-bomb-pot.
For those unfamiliar:
Def: Double-board-bomb-pot - Each player antes something like 5x the typical big blind (e.g., nine antes of $5 if you're playing a fun home game of $0.50/$1.00), players are dealt two hole cards face down, and then the dealer goes straight to two flops without any pre-flop betting. If two players split the boards (each wins one board) then they split the pot. If one player wins both boards he wins the entire pot.
This article explains a little more in-depth what a "bomb pot" is (although the author takes a bit of a dim view on it).
The other day, while playing a few hands of "double-board-bomb-pot" towards the end of the night, some friends and I got to talking about which hole cards "you'd most want" in this game. My intuition tells me that AA is not the best starting hand due to:
- The limited options / combinations of flops you can hit with AA.
- There are two flops and greater chance for non-paired hole cards to hit two pairs, straights, full houses, and flushes.
- A pair is not that good in double board bomb pot. That is, the likelihood that two or more players are going all-in on the river or earlier is high. Winning long-term with AA would require you to win both boards often enough to make the play profitable.
- Even if you spike an ace and have a set it still often isn't enough to win both boards and often pocket pairs that hit a set find themselves going to the river and the round ending in heartbreak (from what I've seen empirically).
I am hard pressed to suggest a better starting hand than AA for this game, but one that has been suggested and come up several times is
JT suited. With that said, I don't think the typical EV starting hand calculations are enough here. I'd be interested to see some type of monte-carlo simulation for this game, but the complexity of coding that up seems quite high. At any rate, if anyone can mathematically prove/disprove AA is the best starting hand in double-board-bomb-pot I'd be very interested to see those calculations and logic.