How to play AK Early stage in low level SnG's

    • M1rCea
      Joined: 06.07.2010 Posts: 974
      Hello and welcome!

      Here is my dilemma. I am playing on PartyPoker, 3$ STT SnG's. WEAK players.

      So what to do when I get AK in the first levels and you're first in?

      1. If I make a 3-4bb raise, a lot of people will join and I will be dead postflop if I don't hit.
      2. If I make a bigger raise, fewer will join, making it more possible to take it down postflop with a cBet. But then again, if I get called, there goes the SnG
      3. Shove directly and wait for the weak players call you with worse hands, then hope you will hold up against them.

      Until now I preferred directly shoving (no. 3), because of the high percentage of bad players at these stakes. But now, after getting owned by Q7s, I'm thinking I might be risking a little bit too much with this option.

      What are your views?
      Does QQ fall into the same category?

  • 4 replies
    • ghaleon
      Joined: 17.10.2007 Posts: 5,940
      Just open raise normally. To 3bb is good. If you wont hit in multiway pot then only option is to give up most of time. On other hand when villains will call with wide ranges and overplay weak hands postflop you will end up getting huge value with top pair top kicker hands. Though in some multiway pots it is still necessary to fold TPTK hand at least when multiple villains give action.

      Shoving is ok line as well versus bad field. It is fine to get called by such as Q7s as you are like ~65% favorite.

      But personally I would take normal line and open raise to 3bb and get profit from postflop edge.
    • M1rCea
      Joined: 06.07.2010 Posts: 974
      Hi ghaleon thank you, nice to have solid players' advice. I started getting seriously into SnGs and advice from players like you are very valuable to me.

      Yes, I think I will open raise standard from now on, I guess shoving opens me up to more variance. Even if I get called when I standard raise and miss I don't lose that many chips in the early stages.

      Although, when <20bb and I have loose fish players to my left, I am thinking to just shove since they almost always call a standard raise and get me in marginal spots postflop.

    • farbwenz
      Joined: 01.01.2010 Posts: 359
      I don't think that shoving preflop is a good option at low blind levels. If noone calls you, you win maybe 30 or 60 chips (at 10/20 or 20/40 blinds). wow.
      If someone calls you,
      - he might have a monster, well, bad luck
      - he might have a pair and gets about 55% chances to win.
      - he sometimes has a lower A-x hand, you win. But he would have also paid you off with a "normal" raise.
      - Or he might have a weaker hand like Q7, which he usually folds on the flop(or calls and pays you off later).

      So in any case I don't see why you should push preflop. It would be more a question of raising or folding, and I would always go for the first option.
      It's different though when you face an opponent who calls with ATC, but that does not happen too often(sadly^^)
      Also, whenever someone pushes from UTG on low blind levels, it's obvious that he either has a hand which he does not really like to play(AT - AK, maybe low pocket pairs), or he is a complete idiot who wants to show off with his low IQ (27o, 5js and all other crap hands). Either way, the regulars call quite loose, or at least take a note and call next time. Personally, I'd call you with JJ+, whereas I might have folded them to a normal raise.

      when you raise and get only 1 call, you can easily take down the pot with a cbet (though you might have to fold if facing resistance). with 2 or more calls, you usually can't cbet. On these levels I tend to play check/fold if missed, and cbet when I hit. Sometimes I check/raise on dry pots(people tend to think that they can steal any pot when they see you folding just once), and sometimes check/raise when I did not hit and the last player minbets(which means that he did not hit either).

      with QQ its different: AK has a lot of value preflop, but loses its value on the flop(when you don't hit). With QQ you usually have the strongest hand on the flop, except when a K or A show up.
    • M1rCea
      Joined: 06.07.2010 Posts: 974
      thank you for analyzing the situation so thoroughly farbwenz, I am certainly standard raising AK in the early stages from now on. I appreciate it.