The Tightest AK Play – Ever

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In this hand, we have Ace-King suited. There’s a raise. There’s a call, and hero decides to call as well. In the write-up, both villains Hoodstar and Chacko are described as straightforward, not tricky regulars. Hero says, “That he elects to call with Ace-King suited, but that he’s definitely going to raise with Ace-King off as it plays like Trash in a 3-way plus pot, and these guys will rarely continue with dominated hands versus a squeeze in this position.” Now yes, Ace-King suited gets a little bit of extra playability in terms of catching flush draws and catching backdoor flush draws, but shy of that, both hands are extremely similar, so I would not fork them and say, “Okay, I’m going to play Ace-King suited differently than I’m going to play Ace-King off suit.”

The other thing you need to keep in mind is we are talking about the absolute topside of our range, so if we’re not going to squeeze with Ace-King, especially Ace-King suited, I mean, what are we doing here? What’s our squeeze range look like? Either it’s super, super nitty or it’s full of too much trash. The comment about them only continuing with dominated hands, I don’t agree with that either. First of all, they have possession on you, so I think they’re definitely going to continue with a wider range than you think they are, maybe not like super, super wide, but there’s definitely going to be things like at least Ace-Queen in there, at least like things like 99, and we’re going to be able to do just, just fine against those kind of hands.

I think that this whole discussion is a little too nitty, because if we’re not squeezing Ace-King, I think our squeeze range is really, really tweaked, and I think that we’re in a really, really bad spot. Go forward, squeeze this to something like 2 bucks, 2 and a quarter, something like that, and just go forward from there. I think that just calling here is going to put you in a really, really bad situation. If nothing else, you’re giving the big blind 5 to 1+ position on you, and then that creates a 4-way pot a very, very large chunk of the time, if not out of position a 3-way pot, but out of position in a 4-way pot is going to be even trickier. Just squeeze and go from there. Now we’re going to look at post-flop, and remember that if we squeeze pre-flop, then post-flop never happens the way that it does, so I’m not going to focus as much post-flop, but definitely understand that if you’re not squeezing this pre-flop, be very, very questionable about what your squeeze range looks like and the density of that range.

weak polarized 3-betting

I think there’s going to be too much trash in that range if you’re not even squeezing Ace-King suited. Okay, so in this pot, the big blind does come along as well. We’ll go 4-way to it, flop a huge draw. Hero decides to check, Face a bet, faces a call and just decides to call, didn’t feel comfortable check raising and getting it in, felt that it pretty much only be doing that. They’d only stack off if they had monster hands like 8/9 sets that kind of stuff. Hero just decides to flat and again this is one where you’re playing the tops out of your range pretty much like as passively as you possibly can, not super about that in general. Again the squeeze pre-flop, this doesn’t happen. End up going 3 way to the turn and we improve. Hero decide to go for the check raise this time and I’m totally okay with that as long as you think that people are going to bet this a large chunk of the time.

We definitely don’t want this to get checked through for no reason and it’s kind of tough because you do have now the Ace of Clubs and the King of Clubs. There’s not like a tremendous amount of like naked bluffy type, semi-bluffy type hands that they can just bang on here right? They can’t have Ace King with the Ace of Trump because well we have it in our hand. As long as you feel comfortable that they’re going to be betting this a large chunk of the time I can be okay with this plan, end up getting called 4 pairs on a river and Hero decides to check fold? So I guess let’s just start by backing up a couple ticks. In this situation we check raise and in the right up it looks like Hero thinks that his range when he calls the turn is mostly sets that want to fill up. Let’s go back to the turn and see if we agree with that.

In this situation, what else would he call with here? There’s 12 combos of sets, sure. What else beyond that? Well, I think there’s things like Queens, Aces and Kings sometimes. I think there’s pairs with a club like Queen, Jack with the Queen of Clubs kind of stuff. Like yeah there’s straight forward regs but it doesn’t mean that they can’t have some other things and I think this is just the kind of situation where like, yeah he could have some sets but if he has 12 of them, congratulations. If he has Jack 10 suited, congratulations. Like, here’s my money. It just is what it is. This is the kind of situation where when we check raise here it it begets on the river. At this point even if we do decide to check and face this, we’re still getting 3-1.

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I think we’re definitely good often enough and because it’s the Jack of Hearts on the river now there’s one combo Jack 10 suited of Jack 10 Spades exactly. They’re just simply aren’t that many nutted combos and there certainly can be other things in his range. Could there be Aces, Kings or Queens? I think yes at least some percentage of the time definitely Queens. I think this is the kind of situation where, yeah I’m definitely feeling good enough here to make this call. I think check folding here is just way too nitty but again this kind of plays in line with what we’re looking at right? We’re looking at not squeezing an Ace King pre-flop, that’s kind of on the tight side and then we’re looking at check folding on the river with the nut flush even though the board pairs a situation where you shouldn’t care that much.

These are all very, very tight things. This is probably an aspect of your game that you want to look in to, see if you are playing too nitty in a lot of situations and then look to start breaking that habit. Especially at 6 max if you’re playing too, too nitty you leave yourself wide, wide opened to exploitation.

SplitSuit

My name is James "SplitSuit" Sweeney and I'm a poker player, coach, and author. I've released 300+ videos, coached 500+ players, and co-founded the training site Red Chip Poker. Contact me if you need any help improving your poker game!

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