Why We Should 3Bet Ace King

Steve just wants me to review a hand he played with ace/king suited. He says he’s be grateful for any opinion on this one and it’s a hand with multiple angles to consider. So let’s check it out. This hand is from 16 no limit on Poker Stars. There’s a limp, there’s a raise, there’s a call, a fold, a call, and Hero decides to call as well.

Steve starts us out by saying, “Would I have squeezed everyone pre-flop even with the initial raise to 5X against the limp of the other fish?” Obviously the assumption being that player nine is most likely fishy and given the starting stack size, I’d say that’s totally possible. Given the open limp from early position, I’d say that’s definitely possible. To be fair, player one’s size in terms of 5X is very typical as an isolation size, so I’m not going to say too much about that.

I do want to quickly think about what player two and player four would call with here. I think some players just totally forget to think about that, but if you really think about it, both of their ranges are probably pretty capped in the sense that they’re not going to have things like aces, kings, queens, that kind of stuff, and they just call. They would three-bet those hands.


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Because of that, when they just call, their range is probably going to be capped at maybe jacks, but more realistically, things like tens, nines, eights, and also double-Broadway things, which we do really well against, like ace/queen, ace/jack, king/queen, also things like suited connectors which we do well against, blah, blah, blah.

What I’m really trying to say here is we’re doing really, really well against those two guys, we have no reason to think that player one only has the nuts, player nine looks fishy, blah, blah, blah.

Another thing that I always want to think about, whenever we’re in a situation like this, we should always say, “What happens when we squeeze, is that good, is that bad?” Also consider the other, which is, “If we flat, is that good, is that bad?” If we flat-call here, I’m not sure what player six is going to do, but probably not going to be squeezing here a tremendous amount of the time, which means more realistically we call six folds, player nine calls, and now also, we’re going to five-way out of position with ace/king, and that’s not going to be super fun. Ace/king is a hand that does really, really well in heads-up pots and does not do particularly well in multi-way pots, or at least it doesn’t do as well, I should say.

This is the kind of situation where I don’t want to call and create a five-way pot, that’s just going to kind of suck. What I’d rather do is just squeeze and I’d squeeze this up to probably like, I don’t know, 360 give or take, go from there and feel pretty comfortable about things.

Some people may say, “If we go to that size, we’re not getting action from second-best hands like ace/queen and they’re just going to fold things like king/queen and stuff like that.” My retort would be, “That’s okay.” If we squeeze and everyone folds, we’re picking up like 17, 18 big blinds uncontested and there is nothing, nothing wrong with that.

Again, this is the kind of situation I’d much prefer to be aggressive, squeeze here. I don’t really expect to get a tremendous amount of action unless anyone here is fishy and by that I more specifically mean player two or player four. I don’t think player nine, unless he’s just terrible, like an 88/15 or something that’s just going to call 360 cold or something like that.

This is the kind of situation where I really do expect a lot of folds and even if I get a call from player two or player four, whatever. The sole situation where the SPR would be super small to super easy spot. Sure, it’s not really fun when player one decides to four-bet jam, but I don’t expect that to happen a ton, so I’ll just squeeze and go forward from there.

All that being said, Hero does decide to call, so we’re looking at the hand as played. We end up getting called by player nine, shocking, go here, and in this situation, obviously it’s not the biggest SPR in the entire world, again, it’s like player four and player one, we’re looking to give or take around four SPR, not that much larger, versus player two and only about two and only about two and change SPR against player nine.

Whenever we have a huge monster draw and the SPR isn’t very large, whenever it’s small, like against player nine, I’m always going to stack that, and even to be honest, with like three to five SPR, I’m typically going to play monster draws really aggressively.

My question is: Should I check-raise or should I donk? This is the kind of situation where I think this board is going to get bet almost always by somebody. I’m not sure who, but I expect if anyone has a pocket pair and if they have a set whatever, good for them, there’s only nine combos of those, so I don’t really card, but what I’m really looking is to get someone to bet things like eights or nines and I can apply a lot of pressure or someone bets like deuces or fives and I can apply a lot of pressure, or they have like seven/eight and I can apply a lot of pressure.

Ace King Book

I’m just probably going to go for a check-raise here and feel pretty comfortable with it, end up getting a very small bet from player two, still going to keep with my check-raise mentality and I like the fact that we sized it roughly around pot, so happy with this so far.

Player nine decides to jam. Whatever, again, I was going to stack off against him either way and in this situation, when it gets back to us, we’re getting a super sick price, never, ever going to fold and that was one of the questions but there’s just no getting away from this. It’s a roughly two SPR effective against him when we see the flop, so yeah, we’re taking this to the felt very, very happily and we’re just going to have to improve and unfortunately, we don’t. It just is what it is.

Again, we don’t want to panic about the results here, but what we do really want to consider is was pre-flop played well? Should we have squeezed or should we have flatted? As played post-flop, check-raise looks great, size looks great, calling player nine shove looks great. So I’m not worried about post-flop at all, but pre-flop is the really, really important thing because if you play ace/king incorrectly pre-flop, your post-flop decisions can just get really, really awkward, whereas by playing more aggressively pre-flop, life would’ve not only have been easier, but also more profitable.

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