21st October 2005, 2:52 PM
Poker at: Not Banned
AK- Not exactly a monster hand!
Here's an article by Daniel Negreanu explaining why Big Slick(AK) is not exactly a monster hand:
What's the big deal about Big Slick?When you watch poker on TV, you'll hear the commentators refer to AK as a monster hand. Commonly known as Big Slick, AK is often grouped with hands like AA, KK, and QQ.
This is a big mistake.
Sure it's nice to look down at your hole cards and find an AK, but more often than not, if you end up playing a big pot with this hand you'll be statistically behind. The most likely event is a coin flip situation, where the outcome is close to 50-50.
This example should open your eyes a bit. A pocket pair of deuces will beat Big Slick 53 percent of the time.
Yes, that's right. Even a lowly pair of deuces is a favorite over powerful Big Slick. It's even worse off against some other premium starting hands it will often face. Here is how AK does against the top five pairs:
1. Against pocket Tens, Jacks or Queens, Big Slick will win only 43 percent of the time, based on 2.5 million simulated deals.
2. Versus pocket Kings, Big Slick will win only 30 percent of the time.
3. And against pocket Aces, your AK in the hole will lose a whopping 93 percent of the time!
As you can see, it's hardly a coin flip when Big Slick is up against these premium pairs, especially against two cowboys or pocket Aces. Of course your opponent won't always have a pair, and when he doesn't, that's when Big Slick starts looking like a monster, especially if there's an Ace or a King in your opponent's hand.
If your opponent held KQ or AQ unsuited, for example, you would have him dominated, as he would only have one live card (Q) to out draw you. In either of these scenarios, your Big Slick would be a substantial favorite and will win 74 percent of the time.
There is one other interesting group of hands that Big Slick might match up against: two live cards that are suited, like 7d-8d. In this case, Big Slick will win 58 percent of the time. You're still a real favorite here, and there always seems to be someone who'll be willing to play you.
These examples give you a little statistical background on this enigma of a hand. In some cases Big Slick is quite strong, while in others it's extremely vulnerable.
In knowing this, the key to playing AK before the flop is to avoid getting involved in big pots when your entire stake is on the line. Too often when your opponent is willing to put all of his money up against you, he'll have the dreaded AA or KK which would make you a substantial underdog to win the hand.
If you find yourself in a No Limit Hold'em tournament looking down at Big Slick, you want to be aggressive with it and attack the blinds. If, however, you receive any resistance from your opponents, you should seriously consider folding the hand and waiting for a better situation.
Here are a few other things to think about before you make a move with Big Slick:
How many chips do you have? If you're short-stacked and need to win a big pot to get back in the game, then you should be very aggressive with Big Slick and go all in. But if you have a good pile of chips and another player at the table raises you big time, well, then you likely don't need to get involved in this marginal situation.
How do your opponents play? This is a very important consideration when making up your mind about playing Big Slick. If the "Rock of Gibraltar," a player who is extremely conservative, re-raises you, you can be pretty sure that he has a pair, a pair that just might be AA or KK. On the flipside, if your opponent is wild and reckless, your Big Slick might match up well against a hand like AJ or even K-10 and you'll be in great shape.
The important thing to understand about Big Slick is that it's a drawing hand. Sure, if it's suited, it makes it the most powerful drawing hand you can be dealt in Texas Hold'em. But remember, it's still a drawing hand. In the end, it's often only good enough to win with if you pair your Ace or King, or get lucky enough to make a straight or a flush.
Playing Big Slick smartly assures you of advancement, and once in a while it actually earns that monster title so many have given it.