Big Slick Makes Me Sick

Gallinho

Gallinho

Rising Star
I dunno what it is about AK but it never works for me and its costing me badly, i'll put in a raise 2-4xthe bb get called and the flop totally misses me and then i don't know wether to put in a continuation bet or just check or if someone bets before me call or fold. i usually stay with it and then the turn will miss me, the worst is when i put in a big raise pre-flop and someone re-raises all-in, i call and their pocket pair holds up to beat me. Even when one of the cards does hit you've only got a pair and usually end up getting beaten by something better. I don't think any other hand has cost me more money in cash games and knocked me out out of more tournaments than ak, i just never seem to know where i am with this hand. Any advice on how to play this hand and is it always correct to call all-in with it?
 
Vintage82

Vintage82

Guest
You should definately put in a continuation bet if its heads-up, unless you have a specifically good read. I was watching Phil Laak the other day talking about continuation and he said that (heads-up) your opponent will only connect with the flop around 25% of the time, so 3 outta the four times your bet should be enough to take it down. Unless he's slowplaying a monster. Then your screwed! :D

As for all-in's, again read specific. Pre-flop your a coin flip with most small pairs, even in decent (not great) shape against JJ or QQ, so if your feeling confident, and calling the all-in won't damage your stack size too much, go for it!

But thats just me......

:withstupi
 
starfall

starfall

Visionary
Unless you're against AA or KK the worst situation you'll be in is a coin-flip. With the money already in the pot, the pot odds generally support the call. However, in a tournament that can be the end of the tournament if you lose the flip. The variance of calling the all-in is liable to be huge, because you're often getting only marginal odds in favour of calling. Your read on the opponent is important, though - if they'd only do that with a high pocket pair, then you may want to lay it down, but if they'd do that with AQ or AJ or KQ then you generally want to take that all-in bet because there's a fair chance that you'll be the favourite.

Against 1 or 2 players you probably want to put in a continuation bet most of the time - more often than not the flop will have missed your opponent as well, and you will often pick up the pot there. The other reason to continuation bet when you miss is that this disguises the hands which hit, so that when you bet a flop you like, you'll get paid off much more often.
 
starfall

starfall

Visionary
On the continuation bet note, as well as the disguise factor, if you're heads up then more than half the time the flop will have missed your opponent as well, and most of those times a half-pot bet will win you the full pot there and then, so you're risking a bet of half the pot with the expectation of winning the whole pot at least half the time, so you're getting good odds on the bet paying off, at least until the players start automatically playing back at you when they've missed, too (many players don't).
 
papa_dp

papa_dp

Enthusiast
AK isn't a great hand in a multi way pot...when holding AK the objective preflop is to try and make it a HU pot...once you have done that you are most likely a coinflip, however recently i have noticed more and more people are folding those low wired pairs to a good raise preflop.. see how it goes
 
spore

spore

Rock Star
with AK, the standard play is to raise 4xBB pre-flop. Then you have to pay attention to how many callers you get. 1-2, you can safely put in a continuation bet ~75% of the pot. One of the best aspects of a continuation bet is that it's hard to distinguish between it and a bet on a hand like QQ-AA.

If someone has hit the board there you're probably going to get re-raised. Conversely if you are faced with a bet, it's up to you whether you feel like you can bet the guy out of the pot. If you're not sure whether or not you can outplay the guy... then you should probably fold.

If there's 3+ callers, it's an either hit or fold.

On a side-note, I know a lot of people dislike AK for some reason. It's a great heads-up hand, and even better when it hits on the flop. It's easy to take down a AQ,AJ,AT,KQ,KJ,KT with AK... when you're up against KQ and the board is 59K, you stand to make a killing.

The biggest mistake though is playing AK like it's AA. A lot of people will bet like mad-crazy with AK no matter what's on the board. Not good.
 
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