Originally Posted by stormswa
I like to offer a different decision and say check your TPTK and give opponent time to think his 2nd or 3rd pair might be good. Plus this gives more chance our opponents will just call down if we lead out turn and river.
My view is still that the majority of players with AK will check a flop of Axx or Kxx or at least view it as the standard play still. Others will make a small bet (ie 1/4 of the pot or less because they are afraid of making a proper bet ). I still think despite all the literature meaning that people should be aware of it, that the best way to disguise your AK or AQ on an Axx flop is to make a solid bet. I'm talking $33-55 n MTTs here, which are still mainly occupied by weak players.
If however you are looking to build a big pot then perhaps checking is the way to go. This assumes that you are against an aggressive player or one who makes c-bets. It is however the riskier play and is compounded if the board is in anyway co-ordinated ie two of a suit or AJx, AKx, AQx or even ATx. In this case betting (and denying odds to the draw) usually brings along the guy with KJ, KQ etc or four to the flush incorrectly. Checking and then seeing the board get worse (AKxT, AQxJ etc or the flush) can either put your opponent ahead or at best dry up the action as when you bet they are more likely to fold if they have nothing to do with the board. So I'd make this play more often if I was in some form of trouble with my stack or my opponent is shortstacked or hyper-aggressive.
Essentially with Axx you are either picking up a continuation bet from your opponent with 88-KK or nothing at all unless they have a worse kicker and can't let go, in which case bingo (but then they are calling a bet anyway).
If you bet out you also have the opportunity to spot the sets as they will often reraise or at least give you indication you may need to slow up.
This is even better when we get a flop like Axx and a Q turns and our opponent calls down with a hand like QJ.
In a freeroll or very low-buy in perhaps, but you're not getting many fish on the hook if you raise or call a raise preflop and then check an Axx flop and wake up on the turn at most levels.
I'm all for different lines, but Axx with AK/Q is a hard hand to extract a big pot from unless stacks are really short relative to the blinds.
I would add that there is a world of difference between AK/Q and a Axx flop and AK and a Kxx flop and AQ and Qxx flop. They are chalk, cheese and something else beginning with c and all need very different approaches and strengths assinging to them. I would also say that position is absolutely paramount in how to play after the flop as if you are last rather than first to act you can fake a c-bet, particularly if you are like me and bet pretty much every flop regardless