This is a discussion on AK pre-flop strategy (Online) within the online poker forums, in the Learning Poker section; I am unsure if I am over valuing AK pre-flop. I mostly play SnG's but, I think this conversation can apply to cash games as
I am unsure if I am over valuing AK pre-flop. I mostly play SnG's but, I think this conversation can apply to cash games as well. If you have some major strategic differences in how you play AK pre-flop in tournament as opposed to cash, let me know! In general, I try to thin the herd so ideally, I am heads up if it comes to a flop. For example, if I get AK in EP, I would open raise 4x BB and in LP or OTB, open raise 3x. Now this is where I am unsure of my strategy. If I have limpers or an open raise, I tend to go big or go home. I often shove, especially from late position simply due to the blind structures in SnGs. If I were deep stacked I would rethink my 3bet/4bet but still go pretty heavy. Long story short, I tend to hate getting called and having to maneuver through the flop, turn and river with AK. It's probably variance but, I kind of think AK sucks post flop. It's either really obvious, and I can't get paid off, or I'm way behind and thinking I have to keep barrel bluffing because it's AK.
Should I be more confident with AK post flop, and/or with allowing more players into the pot?
I have same kind of problems with AK as you do and that is one of the hardest hands to play in my opinion. I 3bet with it almost every time but the trouble starts when I get called. I usually fire a cbet on the flop even without a hit. I hate to do so but I feel like checking would be too obvious sign of weakness. If I still get called, that's when I give up and basically give the pot to my opponent. With a hit, things get a bit more easier but even so, you have to be really careful if someone still calls on the flop. If that happens, I try to keep the pot quite small if I only have that one pair. Many times I have also made the mistake of playing AK as AA by being super aggressive on the flop and on turn, going all the way on river only to get called by a medium pair or so and lost my whole stack. Not doing that anymore. I have now learned to let go if my AK is obviously not good enough. Money not lost, is money won. I still think you should be aggressive with it post-flop and even on the flop but after that it's only a waste of money to continue with aggression.
At the end of the day itís only A high. Definitely be aggressive preflop. post flop, I would always C-bet, if I got a call on a wet board I would see if the turn helped a draw if not then I would fire again, if I got resistance I would give up.