Should I Fold QQ, KK, Or AK Preflop?

Welcome back to another episode of “Ask SplitSuit A Question!” I’m James “SplitSuit” Sweeney here for and today we’re going to answer one of your questions. Today’s question comes from Mi Lu and Mi Lu asks, “When can I fold kings, queens, and ace-king preflop?” So Mi, that’s a great question and it’s one of those where you really, really need to have good solid hand reading and range reading skills so that you can put your opponent on a correct range of hands that’s in fact stronger than the exact hand you have preflop.

Now just in general, the stronger my hand is preflop, the less and less I’m ever going to be folding it preflop as a pure default. But as if with any situation in poker, there are specific situations where folding it could be best, when my opponent’s range is just too strong for me to give action with a hand like this. Even with a hand as strong as queens, ace-king, and even in very, very rare situations, pocket kings.

So in my opinion, there’s kind of two elements that go into folding a hand like this. There’s the reactive and the proactive element. The reactive would be just simply reacting to the opponent’s range and making a decision from there. For example, take a situation where you open queens from under the gun, get three bet by a nit, you four bet, he five bet shoves. In that situation, you’re reacting to whatever he shoved and just making the decision based upon the equity you have and the pot odds that you’re getting in that situation.


Now if you have queens and he shoved queens plus AK, well, you’re a dog and you just compare it to the pot odds, but if he shoves say kings plus, then you’re a mega dog. Again, you still compare it to the pot odds, but chances are in that situation, you may not be getting a correct price, especially thinking like 100 bid blind or more starting stack.

It’s one of those situations where you are reacting to your opponent’s range in that situation and when I’m considering folding a hand like queens, kings, ace-king, it’s one of those where I’m really never going to be folding against someone’s opener, it’s usually going to be where I’m folding, or considering folding, against like a four bet, a five bet, or a six bet or some sort of all in preflop type situation. In those situations you would be reacting to your opponent’s range, you would be doing the math out, either the fold equity in math, if you’re shoving into them, or the calling pot odds math, if they shoved into  you, then you’d just be doing a math decision there. I’ve done videos on both of those in the Quick Play series, so definitely make sure to check those out if you’re not really quite sure how the math works in these situations.

Then the proactive element of this is not putting yourself in situations where you’re only going to get action from the absolute strongest part of your opponent’s range, where your hand doesn’t perform well. That’s going to happen a little bit more often with say queens and ace-king, a little less so with kings, but there are situations where that could be in a situation where say you made a five bet shove and you thought that you would only get looked up by aces, you’re holding kings, obviously probably not a super great situation for you. You’re essentially turning your hand into a bluff, given the continuance range that your opponent would have and you may be better off taking a different line.

Same concept if you take that queens example from earlier. You open from under the gun, a nit three bets you. Well, if you four bet, are you only going to get action from QQ+/AK? In which case, why did we four bet in the first place? It’s taking that proactive element and thinking about, okay, if I do get aggressive here, if I do make this play or that play, am I only going to get action from a range that crushes me and in that case, do I actually end up turning my hand into a little bit more of a bluff than an actual value four bet, five bet shove, whatever it happens to be in that exact situation.

Understanding both parts of it, the reactive, which is usually going to be a little bit more mathy, and the proactive, as far as thinking about ranges and the way those ranges are going to contort given your actions, if you understand both of those, you’re going to have a huge leg up in these situations and you’re going to understand when it’s good versus when maybe it’s not so good and it’s time to fold or it’s time to take a different line.

So Mi, thanks for the great question and hopefully this gets you started on knowing when to fold these kind of hands preflop and if you or anyone else has a poker-related question, feel free to leave it on our Google+ page, I’ll leave a link for that in the description box, and also please make sure to like and subscribe if you’re enjoying this type of video. Same as always, if you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to let me know, otherwise, good luck out there and happy grinding.

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