Daniel Negreanu talks about the perils of playing A-10 (vid)

Daniel Negreanu

Daniel Negreanu has a way of explaining hands to rookies that make it a pleasure to follow, because he makes a convincing case without giving the impression that he is preaching. Much to his credit, the poker professional decided to release a short video on his PokerStars, highlighting the perils of playing A-10. To be more precise, the Canadian poker player warns players about the risks associated with playing such a hand badly and he doesn’t hesitate to include it into the category of “horror hands”.

There are two distinctive cases that Daniel talks about, one involving a passive play that puts the player into an awkward situation; the other revolves around an overly aggressive move. In both situations, the player who misplayed A-10 ended up losing, with the only difference being that the passive player failed to win an easy pot, while the latter lost his entire stack.

Negreanu explains why a mediocre hand such as A-10 is supposed to be used for stealing pots and when players are dealt such cards, they don’t actually want anyone calling. From late position, it is worth giving it a shot by raising if there is no one ahead making an aggressive play. There is a good chance of stealing the blinds and scaring limpers away, which is actually the best you can hope to achieve with these cards.

By contrast, those who decide to simply call are in real danger of having someone from late position making a move against them. There are plenty of better hands than A-10, so when confronted with a raise it is usually wise to fold it right away, something that the player in the first half of the video did. Instead of winning an easy pot he ended up losing a big blind, therefore his actions were wrong.

Another player suffered a more dramatic defeat, at the final table of the European Poker Tour because he chose to take a leap of faith with A-10. Afraid of having an opponent re-raising him, he chose to shove his chips, only to be snap called by an opponent who was dealt A-Q. Negreanu explains why this is not a case of bad luck, because when you go all in with A-10, it is almost certain that only someone who has a better hand will call you. At high-stakes and in the late stages of major tournaments, it is very unlikely to be called by someone who has a hand like K-10, K-J or K-Q, so you are exposing yourself to great risks.