Welcome back, have you been thinking about how to play a hand like Ace King on different flops versus our opponents? Any conclusions or thoughts?
Feel free to ask questions or share your own thoughts.
Let’s cut the unnecessary word play and get started.
Playing The Flop With AK
What do you do when you re-raise a great hand like Ace King, get called and miss? You have to weigh a few factors when you make a decision like this, a few examples:
- How likely is your opponent to fold if you bet?
- What reactions does he have to different flops?
- What reactions does he have to different bet sizes?
- Will you opponent bluff a lot if you check to him?
Things like those are good to keep in mind to begin with. Most players can be manipulated in one way or another. Some are harder than others. Don’t blame me if you use what you read here as an excuse to make bad plays though!
Vs. Mike Isaballah
You put in chips for the re-raise and the clock starts ticking. Mike thinks for about 5 seconds and calls.
The flop comes down Q 5 3 missing you completely
What now? Since Mike is super-aggressive he will most likely put you on a hand he can beat. It is pretty unlikely Mike will fold a hand like pocket jacks or even pocket sixes.
If he called with a hand that now has a draw he will most likely just shove all-in if you bet. My play would be to just check-fold if you do not think there is a fair chance he will fold. And by fair I mean over 40-50%.
You will get better chances to stack Mike in the future. One thing to keep in mind if you play AK like this and just check-fold after re-raising, is to do it with a good hand next time.
An example would be the same scenario where you re-raise pocket aces. The flop comes without an Ace or King and you check. You can let Mike bet and check-raise him all-in or just check-call feigning weakness if the board is harmless (meaning without any flush draws or big straight draws).
The flop comes down A 6 8 and you hit the Ace, very nice!
You should just go ahead and bet, UNLESS you’ve played a hand weakly before this. Like we talked about in the above scenario where I wanted you to remember how you played hands in the past vs. a particular opponent.
So if you check-folded after re-raising before this hand, you should check here too! If you have the K you could check-call his bet after thinking a while, making him think you have a hand like kings or queens.
There are a lot of variables that go into a decision like this. It can be complicated from time to time, just keep reading and sooner or later it will click, promise!
Now if this is your first big hand vs. Mike I would just fire out a standard 2/3rds or 3/4ths of the pot, hoping Mike raises or calls. If he calls I’ll be happy to stick my stack in on pretty much any turn card.
Vs. Steve Hateswife
Same thing here, last time you re-raised Steve pre-flop and now he calls!
The flop brings Q J 2 kind of missing you, but you have some outs!
This is a flop I’d like to take a stab on, you will most likely get called by many hands, but Steve is unlikely to raise you unless he has a huge hand like twopair or better.
So if you bet you will accomplish a few things:
- You will fold out nothing which he might bet if you check
- You might fold out pairs Tens and down
- If you’re really lucky Steve might fold a hand like AK or AT if he plays that
- Even if you get called you often have 7-10 outs (gut shot + pair outs)
The reason I say 7 outs is that often he will have a hand like AQ, AJ, KQ, KJ and have you reverse dominated, meaning that if you hit one of your pair outs he will improve his hand to two pair or better.
The good thing about a bet here basically is that even if he calls you have outs and since Steve is a passive player he might give you a free peak at the river too!
I would say go ahead and bet, if you get called and you hit nothing on the turn just give it up.
The cards are dealt and show T 9 5 giving you nothing!
This is one of those flops you can just give up on with your Ace King off suit. I mean, you can take different lines if you have good reads but on a flop like this I would just check-fold most of the time vs. a player like Steve, because often he’ll call your flop bet putting you in a awkward situation on the turn and I doubt he folds a pair on this flop, or a any draw for that matter.
Vs. Grandma Jones
Ah, old Grandma Jones, she keeps talking about her teeth falling out, I don’t know what’s going on there. After a long time she calls and I have no way of knowing if this is a timing tell since she can just be dozing off.
The flop comes 2 6 T
I would just check-fold here so fast vs. Grandma Jones. She will call you so often on this flop it’s not even funny. I’ll wait for a hand where I flop something and can then value-bet her to death (pun intended).
Flop brings K T 8
A semi-scary flop but I would fire out as big of a bet that I think she calls with any pair or any draw. This flop being especially draw heavy I am going to gravitate to betting as close to the pot as possible.
Why? Because players like this don’t pay attention to bet sizes, so she won’t care if you bet 1/2 pot or full pot. You want to charge her the maximum for calling with any kind of hand and put in money while you are very likely ahead.
I bet pot and if she calls I will fire again on any turn card until she raises me.
Why? Because it is just too likely that I have her beat no matter what card comes on the turn, and she will likely call me down with any piece of the board. A dream come true!
Vs. Mikael Pengabank
Time for Mikael, when he calls your bet you should be worried. If you have been playing tight he will likely know it. He will have adjusted his calling range and will have you beat or tied quite often.
A 5 9
This flop is so harmless that I would wait about 5 seconds and then check to him, trying to make him think I have a hand that is scared (KK, QQ).
This is the best way to extract value because a player like Mikael will not be calling you pre-flop with AQ in this spot. So what hands does he have? I would say most likely AK, AA, KK, QQ and maybe JJ and TT.
That means that if you bet he will have you beat or tied. The best option would then be to check and give him the opportunity to bluff. This is exactly the scenario I left you hanging with in my last post, now you know the answer!
2 T 9
Let’s give Mikael a bit of a loose range with AK+, TT+. Let’s assume that he will fold all his non-pair hands (AKo and AKs). This means that you will win the pot about 23% of the time when he folds, those odds are a bit slim.
There are of course other variables to take into account. For example if you bet he will likely call with most of his hand looking to see what you do on the turn giving you a “free” ~12% chance to hit a pair.
The bad thing is that if you hit an Ace or King you will likely not get any action from anything you beat. My line would be to check-fold here. I will sometimes bet but very rarely.
I hope you learned something. Do you have any requests for my next post? Feel free to e-mail me or leave a comment.
Dan and I will soon be starting a weekly Q&A post where we will answer questions about anything ranging from our favorite fruit to specific hand analysis.
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