I was reading this related question How to maximize expectation with pocket aces and an Aces Cracked bonus running.
While I do not like Aces cracked promotions, when you find one you should play them. $100 or $200 Aces cracked are putting more money back into the game then a two dollar promo drop is taking out. If other promotions are also in place even better.
Part of my last job involved propping the games in the morning at my discretion. The morning was when we had the aces cracked promo for 200. We played 2-10 Limit and 1/2 blind No Limit.
Here is what I do not like about aces cracked. Everyone is slow playing aces so you have to be weary. It kills a lot of action because everyone is slow playing aces and everyone is being weary about people slow playing aces. There just boring games to play with a lot of tight players hoping to get aces cracked.
I am not at all sure I have figured out how to play optimally when Aces cracked promotion is on, but I have observed and tried to rectify a lot of mistakes I have made and seen other players make.
The most common mistake I have seen is people slow playing when they would get action. They tend to look at it like they are going to win more when they lose so they play them to loose them. They are very proud when they only need to invest one blind to get the aces cracked. I am pretty sure they are losing a lot more in expectation when they win then they are getting them cracked. Players look at the one or two hundred they will get at the end of the hand, rather then looking at what they are loosing when they slow play and what I am about to say in the next paragraph, what I like about aces cracked.
What I like, is that the real value in a Aces cracked promotion is not being the cracked but the cracker. You can bet your nut hand face up on the river and the poor sap with the aces has a no brainer call with any bet you make that is less then the promo payout. But leave your cards down and often you can bet pretty big, and they will call because they figure the aces cracked as insurance on the call. They figure it is not costing them 250 to call, it is just costing them 50.
I really have not been able to wrap my head around what to do with aces when the promo is on. I am inclined to slow play them, but when I think about what I wrote in the last chapter, I consider how much upside I am giving a player letting them in cheap. Might be a good for the collective or good for the individual kind of dilemma. To optimize the money coming in the game you would slow play, but slow play may not be in your best interest.
In extremes it is simple to play the aces, one guy limps in middle position your upside playing them fast is not so good, so you play to keep the investment small, but in the big blind with aces and it is double raised with cold callers you just jam it up. The rest of the time it is not so clear.
The question referred to had great answers about limit poker. What my question here is about the promotion when playing no limit. How does the equation change when your playing 1-2 blind NLHE, and how it changes if your playing 2-5 blind NLHE? Is the upside in the promotion in playing for the collective to get more money in the game, or should your consider your own self interest? When is it optimal to slow play and when is it optimal to play them hard?