Playing AK in the middle phase

    • Avatars91
      Avatars91
      Bronze
      Joined: 18.12.2009 Posts: 2,689
      How should one play AK in the middle phase? Whenever my stack is somewhere around 25-35BBs playing AK becomes rather tricky. I don't like shoving and I don't quite like 3betting either as a cbet without a hit commits such a large part of my stack and the stack itself is not enough to maneuver much. Thus flatting becomes an attractive option, but, obviously, with its disadvantages.

      What do you think?
  • 2 replies
    • CollinMoshman
      CollinMoshman
      Coach
      Coach
      Joined: 20.09.2011 Posts: 454
      Good question, and the answer is that it really depends.

      Let's say the blinds are 25-50 and you have a 1500 stack with 7 players left. The button raises to 125. I would 3-bet with the plan of calling off a 4-bet, and playing for stacks at almost any flop if he flat-calls pre.

      However if a tight player raises UTG 9-handed, you would often be better off flat-calling since he's on a much tighter opening range and will usually not stack off with hands you're dominating.

      Another important factor will be the stage of the tournament. Say it's the bubble and the CL opens in the cutoff, and you're the 2nd CL with AK on the button. If there are 2 much shorter stacks, you'll often be correct to flat 30 BB deep in this spot because you want to play a small pot rather than risk racing or facing KK+ with your very high equity.
    • Avatars91
      Avatars91
      Bronze
      Joined: 18.12.2009 Posts: 2,689
      I would 3-bet with the plan of calling off a 4-bet, and playing for stacks at almost any flop if he flat-calls pre.

      By playing for stacks do you mean overshoving the flop or bet/calling the flop even without a hit? Can we get paid off by worse hands, can we make better hands fold?

      What do you think about flat-calling a tight player with loose players behind you? How to play AK against a tight player who raises from middle position?
      When flatting with these stack sizes, do we always intend to go all-in postflop with TPTK?