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A poker question submitted by Forrest Cooper.
You have pocket aces first hand of the World Series of Poker. Two people are all in before it gets to you do you call or fold knowing that you can outplay these players over time and if you loose this hand you are done.

I chose to tackle this question first because it is probably the easiest question. That combined with the fact that it is late and I am generally lazy which is compounded by being tired tonight. The simple answer to the question as it is presented is no I do not lay down pocket aces at the first hand of the World Series of Poker. You simply push your chips in and hang on.

The early stages of a tournament require you to build your stack and avoid unnecessary risk. This is not an unnecessary risk. You have pocket aces and there is a very slight chance that one of your opponents holds the other two aces. Even in that case you are still getting good equity against the third opponent.  There is no way I can create a scenario that justifies laying down pocket aces on the first hand of the WSOP.

Just as I was typing my definitive answer I came up with the scenario. If you had a signed contract with your sponsor that guaranteed you a huge sum of money like $750,000 for every hour you played in the tournament it would become appropriate to fold every hand and blind away your stack as a human billboard.

I will write a little more just because that is how I am and what I do. My analysis is based upon me and extrapolated to cover the average poker player. If you were a dying man with cancer and you were sent to the WSOP main event by the Make-a-Wish foundation and your dream was to play the tournament I could see you wanting to fold the first hand of the tournament to avoid being busted. That is because you are there to have the experience and you have no intention of winning.

The best player in the field rarely wins the tournament at the World Series of Poker and the fact that I am the best player does not make me play more conservative in the early rounds of the tournament.
I hope this answers your question and provokes a few more thoughts. I will write other pieces about this topic and share a few more scenarios about when it is appropriate to adjust your strategy.

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