Hope you read the other day, because AdamD wrote some great stuff on playing A-K. Today, just a few more thoughts.
To begin with, how do you play it? Because I'll be honest with you, its one of the hardest hands in the world to play. Say you raise with A-K, and get one caller. Flop comes Q-7-2. What do you do? It still looks pretty good.
Do you bet out to see where you're at? Isn't that just inviting anyone to come over top with anything and get you to fold? I know that there are far more A-K's dealt than K-K or A-A, so its natural to assume A-K and bet with nothing against you in this instance. So then what will you do?
Or, you could check it. But I'm still betting out with anything. Now what will you do?
You see the problem with A-K?
Here's something to think about with this hand. In MOST charts you will see, A-K is a top 5 hand, whether suited or unsuited. I am here to argue AGAINST those charts. In my honest opinion, A-K suited is top 5 (either 4th ahead of or 5th behind Jacks). A-K unsuited is 10th. That's right, I put 9 other starting hands ahead of A-K offsuit.
Q-J or K-J Suited (can make a case for either)
Now, that doesn't have to be your chart, but it is mine. I put A-K offsuit so far down the list simply because It is so difficult to play after the flop. A-K suited is easy, because you know if you hit 4 to that suit, you're staying in. But what to do after the flop with A-K offsuit is a different beast altogether.
All that being said, here is my simple rule for playing either version of A-K. Use it or don't, your choice. All we're doing here is having a conversation, and this is my side of the story.
With A-K, in either version, the best way to play it is either to move all in....or call an all in. There ya go. It is just that simple. Being in an all in situation with A-K eliminates any need whatsoever of post flop decisions. You will go to the river, and it will not cost you one more chip to do so.
And that, my friends, is why so many people move all in or call all ins with A-K. When played this way, A-K suited moves to #3 in the standings, and A-K offsuit moves to #5.
Run the math and you'll understand why this is true. Against anything but A-A and K-K, A-K suited is even money against any other hand out there. And A-K is pretty much as strong against everything else except for the Queens. And if the other person ISN'T pocket paired, A-K is dominating strongly.
So that's why you see people moving all in or calling all ins with A-K so frequently. Because its the best way to play them. Any other way, and there are far too many post flop decisions to be made.
Please don't take today's article to mean you should move all in or call all in every time you have A-K. That isn't the point. Many times, the proper to play them is to FOLD them. We talked about that yesterday.
Oh well, back to work. I'll come back tonight and review/edit this thing.