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When to Hero fold AK pre flop

    • double2
      double2
      Bronze
      Joined: 04.11.2008 Posts: 14,644
      Hi guys, vuciitis posted this hand at the Hand Discussions forum and I think it's a good example for discussion some pre flop concepts regarding AK.

      Here is the hand:

      Originally posted by vuciitis
      Poker Stars $10.00 No Limit Hold'em - 6 players

      BTN: $29.89 - VPIP: 22, PFR: 18, 3B: 13, AF: 5,0, Hands: 169
      Hero (SB): $10.00 - VPIP: 21, PFR: 17, 3B: 4, AF: 2,5, Hands: 31055
      BB: $23.38 - VPIP: 20, PFR: 16, 3B: 4, AF: 2,9, Hands: 510
      UTG: $14.44 - VPIP: 19, PFR: 18, 3B: 6, AF: 5,5, Hands: 124
      MP: $14.06 - VPIP: 26, PFR: 18, 3B: 6, AF: 1,9, Hands: 180
      CO: $10.77 - VPIP: 22, PFR: 16, 3B: 2, AF: 7,5, Hands: 144

      Pre Flop: ($0.15) Hero is SB with A :heart: K :club:
      1 fold, MP raises to $0.30, 1 fold, BTN calls $0.30, Hero raises to $1.30, BB raises to $23.38, 2 folds, Hero ???

      So do we have 42% equity here considering:
      1) its a squeezed pot and his range MIGHT be wider
      2) he has 9% 4bet range (8 samples)
      One thing we have to realize about AK pre flop is that most of its EV comes from when we take the pot without a showdown. Let me give a simple concrete example:

      Villain CO opens 3bbs, Hero in BB with AK 3bets to 10bbs, CO 4bets to 22bbs, Hero shoves.

      If you think a bit about this example, we actually want villain to fold right? We are not expecting that Villain shows AQ almost ever, correct? So we are never a favourite when we get called.

      (by the way, this is why terms like "value 3bet" sometimes are imperfect concepts)

      So, does this fact means that we are incorrect to shove? Or even that we are incorrect to 3bet in the first place?

      Not in the slightest way.

      We can't ignore the huge chunk of EV we have when we do 5bet shove AK and get a fold, which will happen more often that it should because of the blocker effect (it blocks a very decent amount of KK/AA combos in villain's 4bet range). And of course, when we do get called we have very decent equity (which does not happen with AQ for instance).

      So, getting back to the hand from vuciitis, if we are denied the possibility from generating some fold equity (or fold EV) then we should be extra careful when playing our AK. Just because AK is perceived as a strong hand pre flop that does not mean we can't be very wrong stacking off with it in certain spots. And I believe this is one of those.

      BB is a tightish reg cold shove 4betting after a MP open and a squeeze. His range certaintely has all combos of KK+ and probably not all the combos of AK/QQ. Nevermind worse hands like JJ or AQ. And against that range our AK is just doing badly, despite our blockers.

      So, the wise Mallard duck has some useful advice for you:

  • 24 replies
    • vuciitis
      vuciitis
      Bronze
      Joined: 19.02.2011 Posts: 1,324
      tnx for explaining, much appreaciated :f_drink:
    • Crazygamer88
      Crazygamer88
      Basic
      Joined: 19.07.2017 Posts: 2
      I think AK is the most overvalued hand in poker. Especially off suite. Especially @ the low limits!
    • elvinkoh1
      elvinkoh1
      Bronze
      Joined: 29.09.2017 Posts: 20
      Not sure if the villan has right cards. Sometimes it's just a bluff. However, u cannot raise at the higher stake if you're not certain that ur card is the winning card. Psychology in action! Fallow the cards, fallow the pattern.
    • TakingAShot
      TakingAShot
      Bronze
      Joined: 29.05.2017 Posts: 416
      Depending on the circumstances, and in most cases actually, backing down from GII preflop with AKo/s is by no means a "hero fold". I don't understand what some of you don't understand about spending 5 minutes with an equity calculator. Not even. Do some math, break it down, actually consider what people are continuing with past 3 and 4 bets, etc. Even in a shallow 2NL game, against almost anybody's GII pre range, you're at *best* a coin flip. Almost always an underdog. You need to look at pot odds, combos, blockers, and especially for chances to play this hand in late position, especially on the BTN since you can control the hand with dead money in the middle.

      You want to call 3 and 4b's IP with AKs and AKo unless you have specific reads that villain is GII with a range like:

             Equity     Win     Tie
      CO     40.44%  33.68%   6.76% { TT+, AJs+, KQs, AJo+, KQo }
      BU     59.56%  52.79%   6.76% { AKs }


      ...we're looking @ 59% equity. This is against the loosest, and fishiest of GII pre ranges you'll come across.
    • vjxjnh0122
      vjxjnh0122
      Bronze
      Joined: 31.07.2017 Posts: 21
      Because he like this :f_drink: :truestory:
    • Paracelzus
      Paracelzus
      Bronze
      Joined: 14.03.2012 Posts: 1
      Almost never fold third premium, mighty AK ;)
    • TakingAShot
      TakingAShot
      Bronze
      Joined: 29.05.2017 Posts: 416
      Originally posted by Paracelzus
      Almost never fold third premium, mighty AK ;)
      Wouldn't pocket J's be 3rd premium?
    • Post removed

    • RubbyDubby
      RubbyDubby
      Bronze
      Joined: 15.02.2018 Posts: 193
      Originally posted by TakingAShot
      Originally posted by Paracelzus
      Almost never fold third premium, mighty AK ;)
      Wouldn't pocket J's be 3rd premium?
      This is either a very good joke I don't understand, a typo or a brain-fart.
    • Lazza61
      Lazza61
      Headadmin
      Headadmin
      Joined: 23.03.2011 Posts: 10,984
      If you use Ev charts then the order is:

      AA
      KK
      QQ
      JJ
      AKs
      AQs
      TT
      AKo
    • RubbyDubby
      RubbyDubby
      Bronze
      Joined: 15.02.2018 Posts: 193
      Originally posted by Lazza61
      If you use Ev charts then the order is:

      AA
      KK
      QQ
      JJ
      AKs
      AQs
      TT
      AKo
      Wouldn't pocket Q's be 3rd premium?
    • Lazza61
      Lazza61
      Headadmin
      Headadmin
      Joined: 23.03.2011 Posts: 10,984
      Definitely. AK has a higher public profile (and can be over-rated and over-played as a consequence) due to the influence of SnG/MTTs where shallower stack sizes often mean a shove.
    • RubbyDubby
      RubbyDubby
      Bronze
      Joined: 15.02.2018 Posts: 193
      No... yes... this article is brilliant and helped me a lot!

      But I was just reacting to TakingAShot's brain-fart :D
    • kavvviiii
      kavvviiii
      Silver
      Joined: 04.08.2018 Posts: 1
      Thanks for the article, I always oversetimate AK.
      Think i've only folded AK ones pre flop.
    • baksuz7
      baksuz7
      Bronze
      Joined: 03.02.2012 Posts: 27
      :f_drink: tnx for the opinion...its interesting and can be useful
    • TakingAShot
      TakingAShot
      Bronze
      Joined: 29.05.2017 Posts: 416
      Originally posted by RubbyDubby
      No... yes... this article is brilliant and helped me a lot!

      But I was just reacting to TakingAShot's brain-fart :D
      The original brain fart wasn't mine you little muppet. I simply wrote third instead of fourth. The point was that AK is not 3rd premium. QQ is and then JJ is 4th. That you could even consider AKo/s ahead of either QQ or JJ means you haven't ever opened up an equity calculator.
    • TakingAShot
      TakingAShot
      Bronze
      Joined: 29.05.2017 Posts: 416
      Originally posted by Lazza61
      Definitely. AK has a higher public profile (and can be over-rated and over-played as a consequence) due to the influence of SnG/MTTs where shallower stack sizes often mean a shove.
      That's exactly what it is. Anyone playing AK the same way they play AA or KK - in a cash game - is clueless. And there are tons of them.
    • ToddBrunson
      ToddBrunson
      Bronze
      Joined: 23.05.2010 Posts: 398
      I think micro limit, when you 3beted and villain (if villain is tag) push 4bet all in, never will be AA and KK so, villain range about A10s+, 99++ - QQ.
    • TakingAShot
      TakingAShot
      Bronze
      Joined: 29.05.2017 Posts: 416
      Originally posted by ToddBrunson
      I think micro limit, when you 3beted and villain (if villain is tag) push 4bet all in, never will be AA and KK so, villain range about A10s+, 99++ - QQ.
      I must be reading this wrong: What else would someone do with AA or KK other than shove over your 3bet preflop? lol How does this cap their range in your mind? You think they're flatting AA and KK? Again, there must be some confusion here.
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