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BLOG: The Problem With Ace-King...

Tags: blog, blogger The Prince of Freerolls.
Blog post published on 21 May 2014, written by The Prince of Freerolls.
The Prince of Freerolls avatar
The Prince of Freerolls
England, 22 years of Age.

Interesting stuff from the tables this week. Last week I wrote about a player getting himself into trouble in the patented pocket pair vs Ace-King spot, and the same spot returned to my table this week as well. A final table, no less.

This week I'll be looking at this spot from the opposite perspective. Last week I thought that a player overvalued his pocket sevens, calling down a large portion of his stack against a re-raise. This week, the player with the big decision held ace-king, again facing a re-raise. This one would be for his entire stack, though.

A truly horrific spot at the most crucial of times. It is no joke that this decision would have huge ramifications for his prize winnings: a decision for a huge amount of money.

There are seven players left from a field of around 100. We're at the final table, and the felt is the good, extra slidey stuff that you only find on the top tables. Pitch dealing on here is really hard. You've really got to find that sweet spot to aim at so it stops sliding right into the players opened palms.

All dealing on a final table is hard, the level of responsibility is huge. It's not just the players who have nightmares of making big mistakes on the big stage. Especially when counting the huge stacks the players have accumulated to get to this stage in the first place.

Blinds are an ungodly amount, and so are the antes. Under the gun makes a speculative call, something that I've never agreed with, especially at the final table, as does the player behind him. Because of this new influx of money into the pot, a player in middle position believes that this is his opportunity to make his move and shoves all in for around 30 big blinds and the pot is now huge. I mean, huge.

The player after him is our hero for this episode. He has ace-king and a stack slightly smaller than the all-in player. Ace, King. For many players this is an instant shove. Without hesitation all the chips would be in the middle with the chance to double up plus the two calls, blinds and antes. A decent sum by themselves at this point of the tournament.

However, there is a lot to take into account for this spot. The first being just exactly what the player shoved for. This player had been playing standard A-B-C poker throughout the tournament, and has not made any plays that are too far out of line. If he is not trying to steal the pot, he would push with anything from medium pocket pairs to aces.

Ace-King and Ace-Queen would also probably be shoving spots, but for anything less I would expect a call or a min-raise. These would all be close calls though, down to around Ace-Ten / Nine.

From this range of hands, Ace-King is only ahead of very few of these hands, and in the simplest way possible: it is not worth calling. Bear in mind, this decision is for all the chips, and we are so, so close to the finishing line.

Making this call earlier on in the tournament makes more sense, with the possibility to double, maybe even triple up with the players left to act, but this kind of thinking should go out the window when facing the very real prospect of cold hard cash.

When at the final few tables, playing mistake-free poker, and limiting the amount of variance attached to your hands, is more key than ever.

Unfortunately for me, this story has no real ending. Our hero for the day folded his ace-king, as did everyone else. Both the queens and ace-king were flipped over, and the table nearly burst in disbelief. It seemed that everyone else at the table would have shoved with ace-king; bar me and our hero.

But funnily enough, he went on to win.

Folding that ace-king was the hardest, best decision he made all, and all-in-all it made him around £700. A tough fold, but a good fold. A profitable fold, because yes, they do exist. If you can survive in a spot where lesser players go broke, then that's profit. And that's the true power of mistake-free poker.

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28 comments for "The Problem With Ace-King..."

 3pokeronly22/05/2014 01:43:51 GMT
I watched some of the main event on PS, I was watching four tables with the shortest stacks on the bubble of the money, 10.3k buy in, 19+k first money level, a Canadian guy holding AK off-suit went all-in from the button or cut-off with about 10bb to be called by small blind with AA and got busted out of the tournament, worse play ever, the table was playing fairly passively, a 2bb bet would normally have taken the pot, if he got re-raised, then fold that AK no issues, no thinking, no worries, he would of have to ranged opponent on no worse than QQ and most probably AA, one terrible overplay cost him at least 19K. Good luck all. 3P
 ddblt197022/05/2014 07:11:36 GMT
Obviously everything depends on how many big blinds the player risks.

Under 50BB AK is going in preflop all the time, but in deeper situations you still can fold it.
 3pokeronly22/05/2014 09:04:28 GMT
No, that is the wrong approach when average was only 15bb or so anyway and the close to the money, your strategy has to change as to where the tournament and the money is.
 doubletop77722/05/2014 09:16:52 GMT
Lots of players overvalue their big aces a lot of the times. If you dont hit the flop then you try to over bluff it with what is only ace high. I would love to have this hand every time though!!
 Statulis22/05/2014 12:22:26 GMT
3pokeronly,
are you seriously suggesting that you shouldn't go all-in with AK with 10 BB left and instead just raise-fold? Don't be ridiculous.
 klash2322/05/2014 13:21:58 GMT
With 15bb I would only be raise folding against a very very tight player,if I thought my opponents in the blinds would call my shove with AQ or worse I would definitely be getting it all in pre flop.
As with all poker it has to be player dependent up to a point and then all players will make their own decision.
 3pokeronly22/05/2014 14:04:00 GMT
Yes, totally serious, if you can not fold AK in the right spot, I suppose you will never fold QQ either? wait another circuit and then your in the money and then it becomes a , totally different calculation.
 vic7522/05/2014 16:03:19 GMT
You are right in folding this hand pre flop with that amount of money on the line on or near the bubble your never folding aces in that position i saw a couple years back in the world series of poker main event a AK off pre flop healthy stack all in and the player ran into aces and went bust once you make the money then you can shove these hands with 10 BB although i did see once a Daniel negranu AQ all in pre flop crack Aces happens once in a blue moon Shock Shock Blink Blink Blink
 Heskor22/05/2014 17:16:47 GMT
Yeah playing AKS can make you lose money if not done properly as they are basically just two high cards and calling in the hope of getting a pair to beat an already made pair then it will brings to your downfalls at least it is better equity wise compared to AQs who many people even pros overestimate and lose money on that hand. Anyway nice post. I like it and good read!
 teddybears7322/05/2014 19:06:14 GMT
I have been playing on Party Poker for about 3 weeks now and it's one of the worst hands i've had honestly,i hardly connect with it and there's always a bet on the flop that i have to deal with,i've only won a few times with it so far.That's in tournament play only.
 pinotte22/05/2014 21:09:56 GMT
When you go all in with AK i think that everyone knows that they are putting their stack in a coin flip position.I sometime do it and sometime limp depending of where i am in the tournament. Worship Worship Worship
 teddybears7322/05/2014 22:41:19 GMT
Posted by pinotte:
When you go all in with AK i think that everyone knows that they are putting their stack in a coin flip position.I sometime do it and sometime limp depending of where i am in the tournament. Worship Worship Worship


Aye i'm the same pinotte ,i don't go all-in with it all the time,i do try and wait untill it's the right mpment.
Big Smile
 damosk23/05/2014 03:36:36 GMT
It's a tough call when you are near the bubble and you are relatively short stacked. This is where your knowledge of your opponents play and the table situation is vital. If you don't know anything as you haven't been properly concentrating and assimilating info, then you may as well just fold and hope for the best to break past the bubble. If you have been assessing your table, and feel it is the time to go all in, on the basis that you have enough fold equity to force others tomfoolery, then do it, but run the risk of coming up against an other hand that could get lucky on the board, especially where everyone else has you covered and their tourney is not on the line.

A big consideration also has to be the relative amount you will get for surviving the bubble. If its 19k, then you may be more likely to fold. If its 19c, then it's all in all the time.somewhere in the middle it's a bit more difficult to call.

My approach for advice is, to each their own. We all,know our own values and strengths. Wll being beaten tilt you big style, or can you just mve on? How lucky do you feel? It's a gamble, that sometimes its worth, and others it's not. Flip that coin!
 xgcsnippy23/05/2014 03:42:21 GMT
In a satellite now and have won 2 large hands with AK wooot

in the lead now for my 4th Sunday Storm ticket winning with just FPPs
 doomdy23/05/2014 05:40:58 GMT
Posted by 3pokeronly:
I watched some of the main event on PS, I was watching four tables with the shortest stacks on the bubble of the money, 10.3k buy in, 19+k first money level, a Canadian guy holding AK off-suit went all-in from the button or cut-off with about 10bb to be called by small blind with AA and got busted out of the tournament, worse play ever, the table was playing fairly passively, a 2bb bet would normally have taken the pot, if he got re-raised, then fold that AK no issues, no thinking, no worries, he would of have to ranged opponent on no worse than QQ and most probably AA, one terrible overplay cost him at least 19K. Good luck all. 3P


LMAO Big Smile

------------
Posted by 3pokeronly:
Yes, totally serious, if you can not fold AK in the right spot, I suppose you will never fold QQ either? wait another circuit and then your in the money and then it becomes a , totally different calculation.


Ohh God i thought you made a joke Confused
Folding monsters at the bubble, god damn i have to throw up Confused
 ddblt197023/05/2014 08:41:37 GMT
It isn´t a tough call with shortstack on the bubble, it is a snap call!

I would only lay it down if I would be with a healthy medium/big stack against a player who has more chips than me, then I wouldn´t probably go all in pre flop with AK.
 djpremier23/05/2014 11:34:32 GMT
Posted by 3pokeronly:
I watched some of the main event on PS, I was watching four tables with the shortest stacks on the bubble of the money, 10.3k buy in, 19+k first money level, a Canadian guy holding AK off-suit went all-in from the button or cut-off with about 10bb to be called by small blind with AA and got busted out of the tournament, worse play ever, the table was playing fairly passively, a 2bb bet would normally have taken the pot, if he got re-raised, then fold that AK no issues, no thinking, no worries, he would of have to ranged opponent on no worse than QQ and most probably AA, one terrible overplay cost him at least 19K. Good luck all. 3P

10bb deep , CO/BTN, AKo is easily profitable shove wether it's the bubble or not...of course if you know 100% sure the blinds only shove KK+ you can raise-fold but I doubt you can rely on that..just push and make your life easier Smile
 ddblt197024/05/2014 17:14:50 GMT
It makes me laugh how many people here didn´t understand, that 3pokeronly´s replies were only joke.
 jessthehuman25/05/2014 06:56:15 GMT
Posted by doomdy:
Posted by 3pokeronly:
I watched some of the main event on PS, I was watching four tables with the shortest stacks on the bubble of the money, 10.3k buy in, 19+k first money level, a Canadian guy holding AK off-suit went all-in from the button or cut-off with about 10bb to be called by small blind with AA and got busted out of the tournament, worse play ever, the table was playing fairly passively, a 2bb bet would normally have taken the pot, if he got re-raised, then fold that AK no issues, no thinking, no worries, he would of have to ranged opponent on no worse than QQ and most probably AA, one terrible overplay cost him at least 19K. Good luck all. 3P


LMAO Big Smile

------------
Posted by 3pokeronly:
Yes, totally serious, if you can not fold AK in the right spot, I suppose you will never fold QQ either? wait another circuit and then your in the money and then it becomes a , totally different calculation.


Ohh God i thought you made a joke Confused
Folding monsters at the bubble, god damn i have to throw up Confused



With the amount of poker sites out there and advice on how to play MTTs, it's crazy that people still think like this.

That said - if you manage to satellite into a $10K event and the min-cash is $19K and your usual bankroll is about $10.00, I can honestly understand making the fold, shit - I could get why people would fold even AA, just to make the money, in that situation.. Personally - I have a *LOT* of gamble in me, despite how anxious/fearful I would be of busting just before a $19K pay-day, NOTHING would make me fold a monster on the bubble.. Maybe if we were talking about $100K+ I *might* fold AK near the bubble, that is a lot of money to gamble with, even if you're beating the range of the villain, I'd never fold KK/AA on the bubble, not even if the min-cash was $1M.
 ddblt197029/05/2014 09:11:06 GMT
Yesterday I have experienced how tricky can AK be. Big Smile Big Smile

2 times chopped pot against a weaker ace. And 2 times beat by a weaker ace...
 ayaraled07/06/2014 14:34:30 GMT
a good decision indeed. have same experience also with AK and i can say that folding AK at this spot is really hard....for me i can shove AK if i am first to act...but calling a shove is going to be difficult because there are so many hands that can beat AK...
 ddblt197008/06/2014 08:20:58 GMT
The best flops for AK(o/s) are TJQ (preferably rainbow or in suits giving you a nut flash draw), KKx and AAx, those are great because if somebody has an ace (or king), he will pay you a lot.
But of course there are a lot more good ones (TPTK with nutflushdraw, etc.)
 Tony_MON7ANA06/06/2018 23:59:17 GMT
My Ace King (suited and unsuited) got cracked by an inferior starting hand 5 times today. Let me apologize for bumping an old thread.
Many articles written by (a former) blogger “the prince of freerolls” can be found on the forum. He is one of my favorite bloggers. I wonder how he is doing these days.
 shokaku07/06/2018 06:08:01 GMT
One of the nicknames shows the problem. Anna Kournikova -> it looks good. And thats it. With AK one aimes at making top pair, top kicker. So one will miss often, and is left with ace high. And even if one hits, an opponent willing to play for a big pot has tptk beaten quite often.
 Tony_MON7ANA07/06/2018 16:57:14 GMT
Ace King, especially when suited, looks astonishingly beautiful. It reminds me of a pretty woman who likes to tease. I have fallen for it countless times.
The problem with happy endings is that they are either not really happy, or not really endings.
 maragatero07/06/2018 22:09:50 GMT
AK are always a challenge, in early, mddle, bubble...with a big or a short stack. At the least a psico_challenge. In a page that are banned here, I readed a lot of a player DanPort, and he explained how to play AK in different situations. But always, as all moves in this game, have to adjust to the oponents, the timing and your feeling. There is no one recipe...
 doubletop77708/06/2018 06:42:11 GMT
Reading the way the table was playing, i think that you are right about a minimum raise being the way to go. At the end of the day, Ace King is only a nice hand if you flop something
 Tony_MON7ANA08/06/2018 16:58:12 GMT
I ran pretty badly the other day. My Ace-King got defeated numerous times.
Today is my lucky day. I cracked my opponent's pocket Aces with Ace-King of Diamonds. We both went all-in preflop, naturally. It was NL10 cash game, not a freezeout tournament.

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