How To Play AKo In The Blinds When UTG Raises (Pre-Flop)

sad bulldogThis is the beginning of a beautiful series of articles.

I will go through every hand in every position and today I am starting with Ace King offsuit out of the blinds.

Oh btw, this is for No-Limit Texas Hold’em, maybe Dan will make a similiar series for Limit Hold’em.

But “the blinds” is not a position you say? Well, I lied, deal with it. I am a poker player after all ;-)

But seriously, the blinds play pretty much the same so I decided to lump them together this time. I will separate them if it changes decisions and situations.

Have you ever wondered how exactly you should play AK? It is notorious for missing the flop and getting beginners into trouble because it can look so good pre-flop, but when the flop hits it can go from gold to a piece of <enter favorite bad word>.

Hear Ye, Hear Ye!

Today I want to introduce 4 friends of mine. They will take part in all of these posts.

Mike Isaballah – Mike here is your typical youngster, he’s in his 20′s and has seen all the poker shows and seen how it is done. He is very aggressive, too much so. It usually results in him getting all-in in bad spots. It also means that he will tilt people because they will over-adjust.

Steve Hateswife – Steve is your average 40-year old who likes to sit down at the poker table and relax. A nice vacation from the high pitch soundstorms he frequently encounters at home. He is a bit too passive overall and a bit too loose.

Grandma Jones – Grandma here is about 120 years old, she never gives up in life nor in poker. She frequently calls down with any piece of the flop, sometimes she might fold because she needs a glass of water or else she’ll die.

Mikael Pengabank – Mikael is from Scandinavia. You know what that means, don’t you? He is tight and he is aggressive. He is a tough player to play against, because he is good at reading your hand and knowing where he stands in the hand. It is hard to extract money from him. I guess you could say Mikael here is a professional poker player because he frequently wins money playing poker and has done so for many years.

Pre-Flop With AK

The cards are dealt, one at a time, flowing smoothly over the online surface. You finally get to peek at your cards and what do you see? The dreaded Ace King, sometimes you feel bad about getting this hand because you just don’t know what to do with it, but life goes on and you tell yourself that you rock.

The game is $1/2 ($200 buy-in) NLHE 6-max and the first player to act raises it to the standard $7. Everyone folds and the action is on you, what do you do?

Vs. Mike Isaballah

You should re-raise. How do I know? Because you have to compare your hand vs Mike’s range here. And since he is an aggressive player he will be raising UTG with a very wide range. He might raise JTo, 76s sometimes, any pocket pair and hands like that.

And then you have to ask yourself, what will he call your re-raise with? You generally want to re-raise when you will get a call from a worse hand and thus getting the opportunity to stack YOUR OPPONENT! YEAH… OK.

Will Mike call with worse than AK? Absolutely, he might call with AQ, KQs that you totally dominate. He will most likely call with many pocket pairs also (unfortunately you are not ahead of those).

Vs. Steve Hateswife

What about our friend Stevie here? He will likely raise a tighter range of hands under the gun. But you should re-raise again. Why? Steve is a passive player isn’t he? Yes he is, but what you aren’t thinking about is what he range of hands he will call with.

You see, you are right on the fact that Steve is tighter on his opening range so he might only raise AT, KJ, 99 and better.

But what will he call with when you re-raise?

A player like Steve will usually call re-raises very liberally with hands like AJ and KJ hoping to hit something. What he doesn’t know is that you often have him totally dominated so when he hits that Ace or King you will most likely win his whole stack (or at least a big chunk of it).

Vs. Grandma Jones

Grandma Jones raises UTG and it’s to you again with your AK.

This situation is a bit harder. We have to think a bit more here, what do you think Grandma Jones raises under the gun? Which hands do you think she calls re-raises with?

A player like Grandma Jones will usually not raise under the gun without a premium hand and limp with anything else. That means that she will likely raise a range that is something like AA-JJ, MAYBE AQ and KQs, maybe even limp AK. You will have to observe a player like this and what their tendencies are.

What happens if you re-raise?

She will most likely call with KK, AK, AQ, KQs (if she plays that) and only hand I can see her 4-betting you with is Aces so you can safely fold if she re-re-raises you.

I say re-raise again because she will pay you off so lightly when you dominate her and you will know when she has you beat because she will suddenly spring to life.

Vs. Mikael Pengabank

Mikael is a tough tricky bastard. He will not be so eager to put his money in with a hand that you beat. If you’ve been playing solidly (which you should) then he will most likely fold a hand like Ace Queen. So you’re in a tricky spot here because like vs. many good players, it will be hard to extract value.

I would still re-raise because you have to re-raise a hand like AK vs. a player like this. If you’re just calling with AK and re-raising AA and KK then it becomes a bit too easy to read you.

And you never know, he might call you with AQ and go broke vs. your AK. Another scenario would be that you re-raise and he calls with Jacks, the flop comes A85r and you check to him and …

Caution

Remember, poker is a game of many variables and it is your job to properly assess them. When you misjudge it can lead to a lot of bad spots.

But when you know what someone is doing you will have a better idea of what to do. If you’re a beginner you probably do not know the best lines to take with different hands even when you know what he might have.

Don’t worry, the more you read and learn the better you become. These posts and articles are meant to show you different situations and how I think and evaluate them.

They are just one perspective. You should learn from several sources and learn to think for yourself!

How Do You Play AK On The Flop?

Next time I will go into detail how you should play different flops after you get called.

What happens when you miss the flop? What happens when you hit? How can you win the most and when should you just give up?

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