Rainforestconnection – Ah, AK, it can be the best of hands, it can be the worst of hands. In this article I’ll be teaching you how to play Ak pre-flop.
I like to raise AK pre-flop, I will raise it from any position except perhaps first on a nine seater table. If someone re-raises before me I would usually re-raise. I would not re-raise if I put my opponent on a truly premium hand such as AA, KK or QQ. With this play I can usually get my opponents to fold and give me a no risk pot, nice.
If I raised with AK and was re-raised, I would probably either fold it or re-raise all in, I would probably not call a strong re-raise, the reason I would not call is that my AK only has about a 30% chance of hitting on the flop and I wouldn’t want to commit my chips knowing I will be Ace high on 70% of flops (as oppose to Ace high on 20% of flops). I would be more inclined to call if I had position on the player, thinking that if I called and missed the flop I would have more chance of hitting a set on the turn.
If you have AK and are up against pocket Aces, you are probably in trouble. You really need to hit your Ace in order to win the pot, and if someone had raised after you you, you probably don’t want to continue seeing another card, lose more chips, and not win the pot. Of course, you always want to hit your Ace, but if you don’t you don’t have much of a hand to win the pot.
If you make a small pre-flop raise with AK and are raised from late position or the button, you need to make a re-raise all-in move. Over confident players will probably call, thinking you are making a steal attempt. If you make a similar sized raise with AA (or a similar sized re-raise with AK from the button) you will probably get a call and the action will be on you. This is a tactic to take down small pots early on in a tournament. You need to be taking down small pots to stay in the tournament. It’s the difference between finishing 20th and finishing 41st. I’ve used this tactic many times and I will now tell you how to do it again. AK is a hand you will want to play aggressively early on in a tournament, but towards the end when you are looking for ways to accumulate chips, it should become a handicap hand. This means you want to be taking more calculated risks than other hands. Play AK aggressively early, but be prepared to let the blinds accumulate.
How to play AK post-flop
If you raised pre-flop and missed the flop, you should probably fold this hand. Some players like to be a little crazy and keep playing pokerlegenda, but if you hit weak cards you are in big trouble. You should probably wait for at least the flop to come before committing any chips to the pot. Once the flop comes you should be either out of the hand or in the process of calling if you have been playing your chips strong. If you have not been playing your chips strong and the flop has stiffened your hand, chances are you are behind. In other words, you’re drawing dead. Try to get your chips in only when you have a real hand that has a good chance of winning.
For instance, you raised with AK and missed the flop. If you have been determining that you are ahead before the flop, it is probably best to drop these type of hands from your pre-flop play. If you have not been beating any opponents, it is probably best to get your chips in when you have an Ace. You want to raise before the flop with the Ace to ascertain that your opponents do not have a particularly strong hand.
Even if you raised with AK and did not hit the flop, if you are called, you still have a good chance of winning the pot. If an Ace is not on the flop, the odds of another Ace on the flop are roughly 5-1. Therefore, if your opponent bets, you can raise him if you have a reasonable expectation of winning the hand, such as a pair of Tens or two high cards. The reason why you want to make this play is because it is an opportunity to win a big pot. You really win a lot by getting your money in the pot when you have a very strong hand, especially against few other players.