AKs Really The "Best Drawing Hand?"

Phoenix Wright

Phoenix Wright

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Is Ace-King suited really the "best drawing hand?" I hear this by commentators and poker players alike, but it occurred to me that this seems misleading - all right, hear me out...

I love AK :) I'm not denying the power of this premium holding. What I'm actually wondering: Is AKs actually the best "drawing hand" or is it just the best hand in the "draws" category if it misses the draw?

The truth of the matter is that draws themselves do not hit that often. Many times the drawing hand will miss and you'll end up with high cards and the showdown coming down to the kickers. AK (suited or not) is the highest with Ace-high and King kicker. Ace-King is also special in the sense that this hand isn't as purely relying on draw power alone; if an Ace or King comes up, then we will now have Top Pair and Top Kicker; no other preflop holding can say this (except for AA if you stretch the definition a bit).

Wouldn't the "Best Drawing Hand" then be something like QJs or JTs? These hands might hit Flushes AND have Straight potential up or down. Take QJs for instance. If we use both hole cards instead of playing the board, then QJs can go down with QJT98 or up with AKQJT. Same holds true for hands like JT because there is enough "room" up as well as down. AK can't do this though. AK can go down (AKQJT), but there is no "up" with A,K,A+1, A+2, A+3 because no cards like this exist!

Since AKs can't hit Straights "up" then doesn't this limit its drawing power? AKs really shouldn't be called the "best drawing hand" then should it? Sounds misleading.

I'm not claiming that and hand like JTs is better than AKs (because it is not), but a lot of the equity AKs has is also about hitting hit pairs or having strong kickers. Since AK has these other ways to improve their hand, then AKs theoretically relies less on "draws" than a hand like JTs does. If AKs misses everything, then at least it is Ace-high, but if JTs misses everything, then it is only Jack-high and much less likely to win:

AKs seems better than a hand like JTs despite having less draw potential, so should AK really be called the "best drawing hand?"
 
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fundiver199

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Its an old live poker player phrase, that "AK is a drawing hand". What people mean, is, that its not yet a made hand, and if up against a pocket pair, it needs to hit to win. That however kind of misses the point, that AK unimproved can win at showdown against any other hand, thats not a pocket pair, and that has failed to improve as well.

Typically as I understand it, its used as an excuse to not put in to much money preflop with AK, which is also kind of not understanding, how poker work, since it misses the point of fold equity. If we 3-bet or 4-bet AK preflop and take it down uncontested, thats usually an outcome, we are completely happy with.
 
Phoenix Wright

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Thanks for the post fundiver199. Yes, I'm happy taking down a pot preflop with AK as well :)
 
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CallmeFloppy

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I would still say AK is a better drawing hand than a QJ or such with more open end possibilities.

Think of a flop like K Q 2. Both hit, but the AK is still winning.
 
Phoenix Wright

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I would still say AK is a better drawing hand than a QJ or such with more open end possibilities.

Think of a flop like K Q 2. Both hit, but the AK is still winning.

True, they both hit, but this is top pair versus middle pair - not hitting a draw. Obviously AK is favored over QJ (any reliable poker calculator will tell this), but AK as purely a "drawing hand" seems to be overlooking some of the potential AK has in the high cards when everyone misses.
 
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ph_il

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I think it depends on the situation.

If we're talking about what hands has the better odds of hitting an OESD, then it's going to be connectors between 34-QJ. They have the best odds of flopping, turning, and/or (if you want to get technical) rivering an oesd compared to AK. Of course, AK can't hit an OESD so we can say, in this situation, that AK isn't the best drawing hand.

However, if we look at AK vs all pairs and 10J vs all pairs, AK is the better drawing hand as it flips with all pairs except A and K. 10J is behind 1010+. The lower we go in connecting cards, the less draws we have to improve against all pairs. A hand like 45s vs 99 is still in a very bad situation, even with the increased equity for an OES and flush draw available.

If we're looking at situations where it's AK vs QJ, QJ has more chances to make an OESD against AK which, again, can't. However, AK blocks some of the OESD outs and also doesn't need to improve it's hand to beat QJ. Lets assume a Q or a J doesn't improve AK in anyway, with an OESD (-1 K out) and 6 outs to pair, QJ has an 13 outs to improve but, since AK doesn't need to improve win by the river, AK has 34 outs, giving it the much better draw.

I think, in most cases, it's going to be a situation where draw heavy hands are going to need to flop a draw and then try to improve. These hands only have a 10% to flop an OESD and then it's the question of playing vs aggression. 45s has better preflop equity vs AKo than QJs does, but that's only if they can see their full equity in the hand. It might be hard for 45s to continue on a board of A-3-6-Jr facing a lot of pre and post flop aggression. Unless they're all in, 45s would need to call all the way down to realize their full 42% equity to win the hand. QJs has less equity than 45s against AK, but it could be harder to shove QJ off of an OESD if the board is low. Say 9-10-2-3r since they also have over pairs, but still may be in a situation where they're behind a hand A6s or K8o and have less draws to improve than cards A6s/K8s need to fade.

And finally, AK's preflop equity to win is ahead of way more other unpaired hand combinations. I don't think it's ahead of all of them in every situation, but AK has better preflop equity than majority of them. Since preflop equity looks at a hands chance of winning by the river in every outcome, and AK is ahead of majority of unpaired combinations, this makes AK the better drawing hand over all because it doesn't necessarily need to draw to a stronger hand to win whereas, a hand like 89s or 56o might. Also, preflop equity only applies if you see the river. Unless this is an AIPF situation, there are more boards AK can comfortably continue on there are are boards for a hand 45s or 56s.

Of course, if we're just comparing a hands odds of making oesd on the board, than AK and A2 are the worst of them.
 
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Phoenix Wright

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Thanks for the post ohshootmybad; thanks for contributing to this thread :)
 
niphon56

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Most of time AK is the second best hand.

I like it but about 40% will lose,too. :rolleyes:
 
Luvepoker

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I understand the comment that AK is the best drawing hand. The reason for this is when you hit you very likely have the best hand. The one issue is its not easy to get paid when you flop a hand and the other player more often than not has a under pair.

I have also heard the best drawing hand is JTs. This I would agree with in many circumstances. You are much more likely to flop something with this hand that can win you a monster pot. Evert strange that is made has a ten of five in it. You are now blocking other's from getting the straight with a ten so you more likely will have the nuts. Also if you flop 2 pair you we be more likely to be paid off and when you miss its an easy fold since you know you dont have the best hand there. AK on a JT5 flop is hard to fold on the flop where JT on a AK5 flop you know your more likely way behind and can continue if you are given the correct odds to or just fold to you possible 4 outer.
 
blueskies

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If you are talking about as a draw to a flush or straight, I prefer the lower suited connectors since they are less likely to have cards blocked by the other guy.

That said, if you hit your straight draw with QJ, for example, good chance the other guy has a piece of the board and you get paid.

Generally though, I am not a big fan of calling raises with QJ against certain opponents but I will play them aggressively against others. Depends on opponent really.
 
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tiefgang23

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in headsup AKs is really strong hand, multiway i think 87 or 89 s is the best drawing hand preflop
 
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