AK pre-flop

Bombjack

Bombjack

Legend
Just realised I don't know how to play AK pre-flop. How player-dependent is it?

Here, MP3 is tight (VP$IP 12%, pre-flop raise 4.4%).

I re-raised to get more information on what he had. He re-re-raised, so I put him on a high pair and folded. If it were a sit and go I'd probably have pushed all-in, but I'm a bit more cautious for cash.

However the chances of him having AA or KK are slimmer if I hold AK.

What would you do in this situation?


PokerRoom No-Limit Hold'em, $1 BB (i.e. $0.50 big blind) (9 handed)

BB ($29.25)
UTG ($42.20)
UTG+1 ($81.75)
MP1 ($54.50)
MP2 ($41.90)
MP3 ($53.10)
Hero ($72.00)
Button ($36.05)
SB ($50.50)

Preflop: Hero is CO with A
heart.gif
, K
diamond.gif
.
4 folds, MP3 bets $2, Hero bets $4, 3 folds, MP3 bets $13, Hero folds.

Final Pot: $17.75
 
withawedge

withawedge

Visionary
Why are you more cautious when playing for cash in this instance? Read your blog and you have been doing fine in bigger cash games

I know it seems there is an obvious answer to the above but in this case playing for cash has made you do the opposite to what you would normally do, or think of doing in an SnG MTT etc etc.

Not sure if you read to much into villain. Maybe he decided to mix it?

IMO you should play your normal solid game

:withstupi
 
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twizzybop

twizzybop

Legend
A call would be sufficent here.. villian has raised indicating a top ten hand.. see the flop and go from there.
 
Stick66

Stick66

Legend
Bombjack said:
Call his re-re-raise or just call rather than re-raising?
Just call his $2 bet, especially since you read him as Semi-Rock/Mouse. See the flop and you may be able to outplay him, but you've got to give him credit for a monster when he bets 4x BB.
Bombjack said:
If it were a sit and go I'd probably have pushed all-in, but I'm a bit more cautious for cash.
You've got it backwards. Lose your stack with a push in a cash game and you can just reload. Lose it in a SnG and you're out, Cub Scout! If you are afraid of pushing and losing the monetary value of your stack in a cash game, then you are playing too high of stakes. Bump it down to the next lower level. Also, just buying in for less at the same stakes is not advisible by most experts.
 
F Paulsson

F Paulsson

euro love
If we flop an ace or a king, is there any way we're not getting the rest of our stack in on the flop or turn?
 
Bombjack

Bombjack

Legend
I think if the flop is something like KQ3, I bet and he makes a big raise, I'd probably lay it down. There's nothing that would warrant a raise that I could beat, and even if he has AK, I'd be risking most of my stack for a split pot.

If it's Axx, all the chips might go in as there are now hands like AQ and KK that I could beat. Would have to play cautiously on a flop like AQJ as there's a good chance he has two pair.

I don't know, maybe I'm being too weak-tight. But if I have to put all my chips in, I want to have a better hand than TPTK.
 
F Paulsson

F Paulsson

euro love
If you flop KQ3 and bet half the pot, there will be ~$40 in there. If he makes a big raise, he's essentially going all-in (or at least being pot committed). An all-in from his side after your half-pot bet, will give you pot odds of 80:27, or just about 3:1. I'm not sure it's a good laydown.

But KQ3 is a very bad flop for you, as it will make you drawing very thin or dead against many of his possible holdings (QQ, KK, AA), and splitting most others (AK). How about a flop like K-9-9 or K-6-5?

I think I'm getting at that if you call this bet, you're usually committing your stack on a king-or-ace flop.

... Which is not necessarily wrong, I'm just saying.
 
Bombjack

Bombjack

Legend
I was thinking more from the perspective of if I'd just called the $2 raise, which might have been a better plan.

If I called his $13 re-raise then it becomes a lot more difficult, with less room for manoever. There's a 68% chance there will be no A or K on the flop, and if as first to act he bets on such a flop I'd have to fold. If there is an A or K, there are still hands that can beat me (AA for either, or KK if there's a King), and if he has JJ or QQ, I won't be getting good implicit odds.
 
F Paulsson

F Paulsson

euro love
I see what you mean.

How do you feel about pushing preflop? What do you think are the pros and cons against that?
 
twizzybop

twizzybop

Legend
The question is would you rather gamble on all your money or a small amount of money?? The call here is a small amount and you can get out of the way if the flop doesn't suit your needs. By pushing you are then gambling your entire stack on a coin flip if indeed he calls. I'd rather take the chance of losing some of it here...

I just had a similuar scenario just happen to me. I raised pre-flop and got 2 callers, though wow and this should be interesting. I have A,K.. flop comes 3,k,8 rainbow.. Now mind you these other hands are in the blind, SB checks, BB bets out, I raise, SB re-raises to his entire stack. I said well if you have a set so be it, and if you have 2 pair so be it. BB folded and I called... I won cause SB had K,Q.. and funny thing is so didn't the BB.

So in your scenario, I would call, see the flop. If it hits that of course is a plus, if it misses then time to get out of the way. 2 sit and worry that he has 2 higher possible holding that automatically beat us and fold everytime we think that. Won't get us anywhere.. I am meaning the AA and KK.. any other pocket pair is a coin flip just about except QQ's.

This is where you have to see the flop, a push and if you are willing to gamble on a coin toss with your entire stack compared to losing a small amount of it.
 
F Paulsson

F Paulsson

euro love
If we fold when he bets a flop with rags (he will bet exactly any flop, most likely) we are going to be making a big mistake some portion of the time, as AK is definitely a hand he can have here. This is what sucks about calling (although it could still be the best option) - we open ourselves up to being bluffed out of a pot that we would have split.

What's his range here? How does AK do against that range, and how do we avoid making big mistakes? And what happens to that range if we push?
 
F Paulsson

F Paulsson

euro love
By the way, we have position on him. Bombjack suggested betting the flop and see if he raises, but I'm extremely skeptical that he would check to us. Does position change anything about our option to push (I believe it does)?
 
Bombjack

Bombjack

Legend
If you only ever raise with AA, KK, QQ or AK, you'll raise about 2.5% of the time. Villain here raises 4.4% of the time. If we add AQ and JJ in that comes to about 4.5%, although we should add a few more hands because he'll be calling a raise rather than raising with some of these, maybe 40% of the time.

The thing that worried me here was that there are hands that you raise with, and a different set of hands that you re-re-raise with, which suggests his hand was a high pair.

But after he has re-re-raised to $13 pre-flop, I don't think a push is such a bad option. I have AK, so there are only 6 ways to make AA and 6 ways to make KK. 18 ways of making AK, 12 of making QQ, and 12 for JJ, and a load of other hands he could have, so maybe a 20% chance that I'm well behind his AA or KK.

If I'm against QQ or JJ, I think it's a +EV play, since I'm a 43-57 dog but I have already put in about 8% of the amount I would need to put in to be all-in (given his stack size), plus there's maybe 30% chance of him folding, which more than makes up for the chance of him calling and winning. Time to do some sums:

EV of push after his raise, he has QQ = 30%*(13+4+0.75) + 70%*(+0.43*(53.10+4+0.75)-0.57*(53.10-4))
= 5.33 + -2.18
= +$3.15 (... is this right?)

Against AK, similar argument except I'm on parity (or slightly behind AK suited), so +EV again. Against KK I'm a 30-70 dog, and little fold equity here. I feel a spreadsheet coming on...

akhandli8.jpg


So I think I should have pushed after his big raise, mainly for fold equity.
 
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F Paulsson

F Paulsson

euro love
... and since we're in position, how about calling, and then moving all-in on any flop?
 
mrsnake3695

mrsnake3695

I'm confused
AK is one of those hands that get way overplayed, especially after the flop. There's alot of ways to play pre-flop that all have their advantages, some pros don't mind getting all of their money in pre-flop so they get to see all of the cards others like to limp and reraise, etc. etc. I think the big problem is post flop. People fall in love with AK even when it doens't hit. Just today I had pocket aces in a $1/$1 NL cash game. I made it $5 to go and another player called. Flop came Q,7,3 rainbow and I bet out $10, the other player went all-in (about $40) and I happily called. He of course had AK and lost all of his chips with ace high. I just shake my head when I see people do that.

In you case villan either had a big pocket pair or was bluffing so your actions may be read dependent here. But the advice of calling and then moving in on any flop is real dangerous. If you don't hit the flop then the chances are villan has an overpair to the board and will call.

My advice, bet, call or raise whatever your reads, moods or star signs tell you to do, but be prepared to get rid of them if you don't hit the flop and you face a big bet. He told you twice preflop he had a big hand, are you going to make him hit you over the head with it.

By the way, I hated your $2 re-raise pre-flop. What was that going to accomplish? Even an outright bluff calls that and you left the door open for a re-re-raise that you can't call. Personally, I will rarely re-raise unless I am willing to put all my chips in the middle if he makes a move.
 
Bombjack

Bombjack

Legend
I totally agree with most of your post Mr Snake. I should have re-raised to at least $5 - just doubling the bet just isn't convincing. I did it mainly to see what he would do. Being a tight player I gave him credit for a reasonable hand and I wanted to know if my AK was beaten, so after he told me it was with his re-raise, I played it safe and folded. Just smooth calling originally would probably have been a better plan, although this way, if he did have AA or KK, I probably saved myself a lot of chips. I heard somewhere that Sklansky recommends you always raise and re-raise with AK, although that might have been for limit.

I couldn't see myself all-in on the flop unless an Ace with no other high cards came up. I don't generally stick in all my chips on a pure bluff, like this would be otherwise.
 
F Paulsson

F Paulsson

euro love
mrsnake3695 said:
But the advice of calling and then moving in on any flop is real dangerous. If you don't hit the flop then the chances are villan has an overpair to the board and will call.
How big are those chances? How do the dynamics of the hand change when we're in position?

The reason I bring up pushing on the flop as opposed to pushing preflop is that we have position. When we push preflop we've given up our positional advantage, waiting until the flop gives us a chance to see what villain will do. Certain flops will not get pushed of course (saying "any flop" is going too far - I'm trying to get the comparison in fold equity vs. hand ranges in), and some flops may even get folded.

I think our only reasonable chance of winning this hand is by getting all of our chips into the middle at some point, and it will have to be us who does the betting. Letting him spew off all his chips with AK and then calling sucks for us, since we could have raise instead of called and some portion of the time gotten him to fold. Splitting a pot that we could have won is not fun. Of course, we don't have to win it. We can also fold.
 
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