[NL2-NL10] How to play AK

    • maheepsangari
      maheepsangari
      Gold
      Joined: 08.06.2010 Posts: 2,163
      I've always been confused with how to play AK if someone 3-Bets. Like in this example I was in early position and I raised and MP1 3-Bets. At this point should I 4-Bet or just call? Also what if I Raise or 3-Bet and someone goes All In (especially if he has a smaller stack as this has happened many times), should I call them when they've gone All In or should I just fold.

      Hand converted with online PokerStrategy.com hand converter:

      Play hand

      $0.03/$0.05 No-Limit Hold'em (9 handed)

      Known players:
      BB:
      $3.17
      UTG1:
      $1.90
      UTG2 (Hero):
      $4.31
      MP1:
      $6.36
      MP2:
      $1.92
      MP3:
      $4.87
      CO:
      $3.51
      BU:
      $3.36
      SB:
      $4.04


      Preflop: Hero is UTG2 with A, K.
      UTG1 calls $0.05, Hero raises to $0.25, MP1 raises to $0.88, 7 folds, Hero calls $0.63.

      Flop: ($1.89) T, 3, T (2 players)
      Hero checks, MP1 bets $1.01, Hero folds, MP1 gets uncalled bet back.

      Final Pot: $1.89.
  • 8 replies
    • luizsilveira
      luizsilveira
      Bronze
      Joined: 27.11.2010 Posts: 2,320
      Hi, maheepsangari!

      At these limits and with those positions involved (you're from UTG) you can just fold. It depends a lot on who is MP1: if he 3bets pre a lot he's probably bluffing some times and then you can consider not folding; but if he almost never 3bets then this is an easy fold.

      Calling out of position is by far the worst option though. You'll just not play your hand profitably and will end up paying off big pots against better hands than yours, winning small pots if you hit a better flop than your opponent, and check/folding a decent amount thus just giving them dead money.

      4bet (re-raising) and folding is not an option as well since you have to do it to ~$2 and then you'll have odds to call a shove anyway - but in which case you are almost never ahead, best case scenario you're 50/50 which is not what we want. When you're behind you're crushed.

      One last thing: why didn't you have a 100BB stack? If you're playing BSS, try to always have a complete stack. Most sites offer an auto top-up option so you don't need to think about it all the time. You don't want to get aces, get it all in and not have a full stack to win those extra $0.7.
    • maheepsangari
      maheepsangari
      Gold
      Joined: 08.06.2010 Posts: 2,163
      Hi Luizsilveria,

      Thanks for the reply.

      What if I was in late position and MP1 open-raised. Should I then 3-Bet as the SHC says or should I call and see what the flop gives me. What I've noticed many times is that when I'm in position, lets say MP1 raises, I 3-Bet and he shoves it All In. Now I can't call him here cause theoretically even pocket 2s beat me at this point. I don't usually like 3-Betting if I'm not comfortable shoving all in Pre-flop. Thus i always find myself in a Dilemma with AK preflop.

      Should one go all in with AK pre-flop ever? Same question goes for QQ.

      I sat down with 100BBs and I usually refill when I reach about $3.5-$3.8. I guess I should rebuy and top up more often.
    • luizsilveira
      luizsilveira
      Bronze
      Joined: 27.11.2010 Posts: 2,320
      Originally posted by maheepsangari
      Hi Luizsilveria,

      Thanks for the reply.

      What if I was in late position and MP1 open-raised. Should I then 3-Bet as the SHC says or should I call and see what the flop gives me. What I've noticed many times is that when I'm in position, lets say MP1 raises, I 3-Bet and he shoves it All In. Now I can't call him here cause theoretically even pocket 2s beat me at this point. I don't usually like 3-Betting if I'm not comfortable shoving all in Pre-flop. Thus i always find myself in a Dilemma with AK preflop.

      Should one go all in with AK pre-flop ever? Same question goes for QQ.

      I sat down with 100BBs and I usually refill when I reach about $3.5-$3.8. I guess I should rebuy and top up more often.
      Ahn... this will take a bit to explain :D (I should keep this things I write somewhere).

      Anyway, trying to be very short: problem is, if you only 3bet KK+ no decent player will ever go all in vs. you with anything but KK+. Therefore you never make money when you do have KK+, you'll only pass money back and forth as you'll always have the same hands.

      PLUS 3betting generates a ton of fold equity, especially in late positions. Fair enough, when you go all in with AK you're usually behind equity-wise; BUT you have to check as well aaaaall the times your opponent folded to your 3bet, or even called it and folded to a cbet on the flop. There is where 3bet with AK money comes from, not when you actually go all in.

      Also: after you 3bet, you usually have better than 50/50 odds for calling since there is dead money already in the pot.

      There are a lot of adaptations do be made to this according to the opponents. What the open raise chart gives you is a rough estimation of what to do - and that will be profitable in the majority of times in the micro stakes (but not 100% of times, that is). However, it's really once you have mastered a bit of the "whys" behind the ORC that you should start tweaking it at will and tailoring your range according to your opponent tendencies.

      Oh, and one thing I forgot: you don't want to call with AK and then get 3 more people behind to call as well and end up playing AKo in a 5 way pot and out of position! That would be a disaster as you'll never know where you stand and will quite unlikely win a big pot ever. Pocket pairs and suited cards play better vs. many opponents (since they flop stronger hands than two pairs) but AK and unsuited broadway cards in general play much better against one opponent only (as usually they will at best flop two pair. Very strong two pairs, but in a multiway pot this could even not be enough when the money goes in).
    • maheepsangari
      maheepsangari
      Gold
      Joined: 08.06.2010 Posts: 2,163
      Now that was the kind of analysis I was looking for. Thanks a lot you really helped me tweak a lot of leaks through that post and now I'm definitely more confident with how I should handle AK.

      You're right about the fact that people many times don't call my 3-Bet since I usually only do so with KK+. My 3-Bet percentage was also very low for the same reason and was missing out on a lot of fold equity.

      Your point regarding calling with AK and having people call behind and finding myself in a multiway pot also makes sense and helped me understand the concept. I have actually found myself many times in that situation and it has rarely worked for me.

      So I kept these points in mind and played my AK like this today. Although in retrospect I fell my bet on the flop was perhaps weak. :)


      Hand converted with online PokerStrategy.com hand converter:

      Play hand

      $0.03/$0.05 No-Limit Hold'em (10 handed)

      Known players:
      MP2 (Hero):
      $4.97
      MP3:
      $1.90
      CO:
      $7.13
      BU:
      $4.61
      SB:
      $6.03
      BB:
      $1.87
      UTG:
      $3.74
      UTG1:
      $5.38
      UTG2:
      $4.83
      MP1:
      $3.58


      Preflop: Hero is MP2 with A, K.
      UTG raises to $0.18, UTG1 calls $0.18, 2 folds, Hero raises to $0.80, 5 folds, UTG calls $0.62, UTG1 folds.

      Flop: ($1.86) 6, J, 3 (2 players)
      UTG checks, Hero bets $1.00, UTG folds, Hero gets uncalled bet back.

      Final Pot: $1.86.
    • Paaaaaaaaaulo
      Paaaaaaaaaulo
      Bronze
      Joined: 25.06.2010 Posts: 683
      You're doing a little bigger than half the pot so I guess you're right. I'd do something like 1.25 (2/3 pot). Maybe if the J was a K instead so he'd think your hand was weaker than it is in fact, but I guess on such limits nobody really pays attention to that...
    • luizsilveira
      luizsilveira
      Bronze
      Joined: 27.11.2010 Posts: 2,320
      I think the bet size is fine on that flop. The pot is too big since it's a squeezed pot, there is no much stack left behind. Villain can't continue if he doesn't have a hand.

      Nice hand.

      Just be careful not to overdo it ;)
    • maheepsangari
      maheepsangari
      Gold
      Joined: 08.06.2010 Posts: 2,163
      Yeah well after seeing the size of the pot on the flop I was thinking that on that flop a $1 bet would do the same trick as a $1.25, Rainbow flop, not connected, only one high card, I thought as long as I bet about 50% of the pot, the result would be the same. :)
    • luizsilveira
      luizsilveira
      Bronze
      Joined: 27.11.2010 Posts: 2,320
      Originally posted by maheepsangari
      Yeah well after seeing the size of the pot on the flop I was thinking that on that flop a $1 bet would do the same trick as a $1.25, Rainbow flop, not connected, only one high card, I thought as long as I bet about 50% of the pot, the result would be the same. :)
      Yup, you got it.

      And in 3bet pots it's usual to bet less than you would in single raised pots. That's because you will be all in by the river anyway, so you don't lose value betting a bit smaller with a strong hand at all.