Limping with Ace-King

mrsnake3695

mrsnake3695

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I want to get some opinions on this play so I would appreciate it if alot of you relied.

What do you think about limping with ace-king from early position (I'm only talking about early position here). I have seen this play used succesfully both online and on TV. I have been thinking about this play lately and here is my reasoning. The standard play is to raise 3-5 times the BB with this hand, but what happens when you get a couple of callers and no Ace or king hits. Now you have built the pot and only have ace high. If you make a continuation bet and get called or raised you are most likely beat and and you have put in alot of chips with little chance of winning the pot. If you do hit you will probably not get called and only win a small pot (unless u say hit the ace and someone else has AQ or something). If you check you are face with a decision if someone (especially the last player) bets. Is it a bluff and do you have the best hand or is it a real hand, you just can't know for sure.

If you limp with AK from UTG a couple of things will happen. You might get raised in which case you can reraise and win the pot right there or be heads up with a strong hand. Or, if nobody raises and you hit the flop the others won't give you credit for AK and you might get more action then you otherwise would if you had of raised preflop. If you don't hit you can either check/fold with it only costing you the price of the BB or you can bluff trying to represent a hand that hit the flop.

I think all of us have lost decent sized pots with slick and I was wondering what you opinions were of playing it like this. I understand that you must mix up your play and not play it the same way everytime, but what about instead of the standard being a preflop raise if it was limping instead?

I really would like you opinions and even if you agree with someone that as already responded please add your opinion. It won't do much good if I get 2 replies one saying its good and one saying it's bad, lol.
 
A

Aleeki

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Sounds like a bloody great idea!!!:D

I have been doing this lately and it is losing me a lot less money.

I like the fact that you can get away from it cheaply if you miss.

I have recently learnt that AK is not the monster it is cracked up to be.

So yes, i like your idea!
 
B

bw07507

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It is an interesting idea, however I hate lots of limpers in the hand. What if the flop comes A 3 7. You think you have the best hand, but by not raising preflop you didnt scare out a person that might limp with A3 or A7. Or one of the blinds could have 37. So unless you get raised and you get a chance to reraise and isolate one person heads up I dont really like this move
 
mrsnake3695

mrsnake3695

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BW, I certainly understand your concern but I think there is another way to look at it. If you have ace king the hands you want to stay in are ace x since you dominate them. Sure occasionally they will hit their 3 outer but way more often they will miss and think that their aces are good since you never showed strength. Of course optimally your want someone to raise preflop and reraise but seeing a cheap flop wouldn't be the end of the world either.
 
hott_estelle

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Sounds like a bloody great idea!!!:D

I have been doing this lately and it is losing me a lot less money.

I like the fact that you can get away from it cheaply if you miss.

I have recently learnt that AK is not the monster it is cracked up to be.

So yes, i like your idea!

Yes it is a decent play, if you want to be creative, and have the chips to spare, or you're trying to get your opponents a bit off on their reads on you, however, I don't think it's the best play to make in the long run.

If you do limp early position, with many callers, obviously the danger is you flop an A or a K, and since you didn't raise and 6 other people called, someone flops two pair, open ended straight draw, low flush draw, high flush draw, even low trips. It is a very creative play, and at times it can save you money like Aleeki said, but that isn't the point of playing poker (unless you do it for a hobby). You don't play to save money with hands like AK, most of the time. Yes, there will be instances late in MTT near the bubble or in SnGs near the bubble where you want to play conservative, or other times where you're simply being creative, but most of the time, playing AK to save money or lose the least amount of money isn't a profittable strategy in the long run.

You can't go with the limp in from UTG or early position with AK strategy simply to lose less money if you don't hit the flop. You can use this strategy to confuse opponents, or use it in the right situations to extract more chips through creative play, but other than that, I think it's a very weak play.
 
mrsnake3695

mrsnake3695

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Well I wasn't saying the limp simply to avoid losing money. More of both losing less and making more when you do hit. Also although playing not to lose is weak, chips you don't lose are just as important as chips you win in an MTT.
 
thwizzofoz

thwizzofoz

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I have damned near quit playing AK unless I'm in a blind position. I lose more times on that than when I limp in with a 27 suited. I may try that and see how it works. Sounds viable to me.
 
mrsnake3695

mrsnake3695

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For those that try it, post the results here. Let's see if we can learn something.
 
jayneseo

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I'm going to start trying it. I tend to overvalue them and I always get knocked out of tourneys because of it. One morning I lost 3 different SnGs in 5 mins with AK. I'll let you know Snake.
 
blankoblanco

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It is an interesting idea, however I hate lots of limpers in the hand. What if the flop comes A 3 7. You think you have the best hand, but by not raising preflop you didnt scare out a person that might limp with A3 or A7. Or one of the blinds could have 37. So unless you get raised and you get a chance to reraise and isolate one person heads up I dont really like this move

This is the basic problem with limping with AK. If you hit, you've got at least TPTK which can be hard to let go of, especially when noone can possibly give you credit for TPTK on a board with an A or K since you didn't raise. So if a guy is betting at an AJ8 flop hard, you don't know if he's got AT and thinks he's bound to have A with the best kicker because he expects AJ+ would have raised, or if he's actually got J8 or A8. It can lead to very awkward situations.

Basically I like this play most at a table where there are generally not tons of people seeing flops. If you know an open-limp will lead to, on average, 4 or 5 people limping with you, I don't like the play ever at this table. But if you expect only 2 limpers on average, and often a raise, it can be a good way to mix up your play. Just depends on your table.
 
joosebuck

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play it however you want. just dont overvalue it.
 
Richard7787

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play it however you want. just dont overvalue it.

Amen, I find people overate AK too much PF and ive seen people call all-ins or big raises on the flop with AK and they have nothing, and they lose a ton of chips lol. Dont be afraid to throw it away post flop if you dont hit your big hand.
 
pokerrqueenn

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i used to play AK to aggressively but latelt i have been opting for the cheaper flop. no matter how sweet they look in your hand no 2 cards are invincible
 
tenbob

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Ohhhhh. Limping AK UTG or in seat 1/2 is generally a very bad idea. Unless your late in a tournament and looking for action id play it very straight-forward. An UTG limp starts a rollercoaster effect, as more people limp, the rest of the players at the table are getting odds to limp as well, and a lot of the time with trash, and hands that can be very well disguised if they hit a flop.

Playing AK for a small raise (3xBB) UTG allows you to do a few things, limit the players your up against, gain a little information, remember everyone will have acted when the action gets back to you, and if called gives you controll of the hand.

It sound to me like your main problem is spotting flop textures as when NOT to c/bet, and to realise when you do hit, when TPTK is no good.

AK should be bet for value pre-flop the majortity of the time, limping is a good way to mix it up every so often, but at the lower limits the odds are not a single player at the table will even notice :)
 
Irexes

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/incoherant ramble on

Early in a tournament it's very dangerous as people will be seeing the flop with all sorts and identifying two pair, awkard straights etc will be really tough against multiple opponents.

Later on though it is a way to vary play providing you don't over do it. Fancy play syndrome can be dangerous and if you're not careful can lead to all sorts of trouble.

That said I like to occassionally limp AA, KK and AK under the gun. As you say this can lead to the opportunity reraise (though increasingly people are spotting the AA and KK reraise UTG I think). It can also allow you to call if heads up and have your opponent put you on completely the wrong range.

The key is to acknowledge that the moment you limp with a "raising hand" you have altered it's relative value in all subsequent actions. This means that a flop which may be fairly benign if raised preflop with AK (ie 28T) suddenly becomes a minefield where any postflop action may mean letting it go, as opposed to providing a good opportunity for a cont bet.

A positive of the limp if not raised is definately the opportunity to outkick low mid aces in middling sized pots though there is a real possibility of running into a disguised two pair. AKxxx also becomes more valuable as it's harder to pick. Ultimately if you are prepared to let AK go to a decent sized bet on an AT47 type board you won't get caught for too much.

To be honest I don't find AK the danger hand that it's often painted as (the Anna Kournikova business). It's a great hand to build a pot with preflop against one or two opponents who you have a decent read on and are looking to outplay post flop. What is important as with any hand is acknowledging that its value changes based on the action in the hand and the flop, turn and river. Letting it go when its not going to pay is as important as maximising value when the opportunity arises.

If AK isn't played as the very strong starting hand that it is then you are devaluing a very strong weapon and reducing long term return. That said, mixing it up occassionally is no bad thing :)

/incoherant ramble off
 
TheRifle

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I sometimes do this. Today I did, think from 2nd. Just 3 callers behind me. Flop QQ2. Put in a reasonable bet, two fold, one caller. Turn Ace. Check, villain checks. River King. Put in a bet, re-raised to all-in. Villain had QJ. But after hitting both the Ace and the King I had to see it.

This is a dangerous play if you have many limpers behind you. AK weakens much more quickly than say KK as more people enter the pot.
 
pink_floyd67

pink_floyd67

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AK= Anna Kornikova-Looks dame good but rarely wins.

I stoped betting big with AK preflop a long time ago
I play it like other strong face cards which all depends on the table and stack.
The only time I move allin with AK is when I am in a tourny with a smallish stack and I want to double up. Most big stacks will cal and you are at least 50-50 to double up.
 
MrDaMan

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/agree TenBob and Irexes

The thing about limping with anything denotes weakness, I try never to limp from any position, except for strategic trickery against good reads on opponents I can outplay on flops.turns and rivers.

You do want to vary your play so they can't get a positive read on you, one of the best ways of doing that is to raise whenever you enter a pot. Limping with A/K especially in EP you give up too much agressive table image, building and maintaining your image is too important to waste A/K in EP to a limp.

If I'm reading the table right and I'm in EP with a LAG maniac to act behind me, that's a stiuation where I mentioned earlier, I'll limp for trickery knowing he's going to raise with any two cards, now I can check-raise or smooth-call and hope to set a trap or out-play him depending on the texture of the flop and my read on his strength/weakness.

Tight and agressive wins pots and tournaments, your opponents need to fear entering a pot with you. Even if you raise pre-flop and decide due to other factors to fold you represented a threat building your image. Limp and fold is weakness, limp and win is tight passive = weakness someones going to take note of this and use it against you in later stages.

Varying your play, how will they know when you raise 3xbb from middle position what you have is actually 7/8 suited, when you've shown down previous wins with premium hands. The flop comes 6/A/2 your continuation bet means something and they fold. If your image is of a limper/weak you might get a call from a fair player with a weak ace, if your image is of tight/agressive they fold the weak ace to your inferior hand/agressive style.

You can't waste an opportunity to build your image. Limping = weakness, raiseing = strength

Wins with premium hands = being able to bully with speculative hands under the right circumstances. IMHO
 
shinedown.45

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I don't like the idea , as it has been stated, you let too many garbage hands in, I don't bet the 5BB as some would consider standard, but I do bet 4BB and if my A or K hit on the flop I make a pot sized bet to get rid of the chasers and if I don't hit the flop, I will fold to any raise if I know I'm beat, but if checked around to me I will make a continuation bet , usually just to watch players think and fold.
I understand what your saying about losing too much of your stack when you don't hit.
lets say you limp in with A-K in EP and one player raises it by 4-5BB, what are you to do now, fold, call, re-raise, my guess is you would call and the flop comes up empty for your hand so now a check-fold is good here and your down 5-6BB.
Lets say you don't limp in with A-K and bet 4 BB and you get one caller and nothing on the flop, again check-fold, but now you saved yourself 1-2BB.
But a straight out limp with A-K preflop will lose you more than win because you'll be forced to call almost any size raise preflop.
If I'm wrong in my reasoning just point it out to me, I can take criticism.
 
Irexes

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lets say you limp in with A-K in EP and one player raises it by 4-5BB, what are you to do now, fold, call, re-raise, my guess is you would call and the flop comes up empty for your hand so now a check-fold is good here and your down 5-6BB.If I'm wrong in my

Not disagreeing with the thrust of what you say but if the flop comes up empty for you with AK then it's also coming up empty for a lot of the range of the person who raised it 4-5bb.

Say it's a 965 or a T27 flop then perhaps you are in a better position to represent solid contact with the flop based on your preflop limp call than the raiser. Combine this with the fact the AK, AQ, AJ, KQ have all missed from his range and you are not in too bad shape to have a go at it. Of course if called you have two overs to draw to. Of course you may be up against an overpair and are also out of position assuming you were utg but there's room to play here whether or not you hit the flop.

All of this I think applies to the latter stages of a tourney when mulitway pots are less common and the significance of pots of even 4 or 5 times the blind is much greater. Hands can be won by betting on the likely weakness of your opponent as much as on the strength of your own hand.
 
shinedown.45

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Not disagreeing with the thrust of what you say but if the flop comes up empty for you with AK then it's also coming up empty for a lot of the range of the person who raised it 4-5bb.

Say it's a 965 or a T27 flop then perhaps you are in a better position to represent solid contact with the flop based on your preflop limp call than the raiser. Combine this with the fact the AK, AQ, AJ, KQ have all missed from his range and you are not in too bad shape to have a go at it. Of course if called you have two overs to draw to. Of course you may be up against an overpair and are also out of position assuming you were utg but there's room to play here whether or not you hit the flop.

All of this I think applies to the latter stages of a tourney when mulitway pots are less common and the significance of pots of even 4 or 5 times the blind is much greater. Hands can be won by betting on the likely weakness of your opponent as much as on the strength of your own hand.
this is true , I had just forgotten to add check-fold/raise
 
bubbasbestbabe

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Sometimes what really works for me is to do the dreaded min raise with AK. It builds the pot, knocks out really marginal callers and protects you if it doesn't hit. This has been highly successful for me.
 
mrsnake3695

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A couple of comments.

By the way I like this conversation, lots of good insight on all sides.

I was never considering playing this real weak as was said. If I limped UTG and a player raised, especially a loose or late position player, I would reraise. Possibly all-in depending on the stack sizes, blinds, etc. AK is one of those hands that you would like to see all 5 cards with if possible. Table image can mean a wide variety of things, if you limp, reraise from UTG that also adds to your image. It also makes people a little fearful of raising with a mediocre hand if you are in the pot which will also allow you to sometimes limp in with med suited connectors and such since they won't know if you are limping with a big hand or not. I would certainly not cold call a raise with AK if I limped UTG.

I am also not arguing to do this all the time. But under the right circumstances. I don't think the first few hands of a low stakes MTT would be the right time since everyone likes to limp in with almost any holding. It would certainly be situational.
 
MrDaMan

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By the way I like this conversation, lots of good insight on all sides.

I agree.

It seems of late I've been experimenting with AGGRESSION and that's probably coloring my posts and thought as well. Poker is very situational/circumstancial. I hope no one reads my posts as negative criticizim, it's meant to be positive and I learn as much or more from the give and take.
 
Irexes

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good discussion requires different viewpoints and is a great way to understand things. I've learnt a lot more from people who disagree with me than from those I've agreed with from the start :)
 
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