The Strategy To Play Suited Ace-King In Poker


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A premium hand containing an ace-king, suited or unsuited, is a cause for great joy to the holder of these cards. Known as the 'big slick' or the 'super slick' if it happens to be suited, the ace-king pair is the fourth best hand in Texas Hold 'em, behind the pocket aces, kings and queens. The ace-king suit is still a drawing hand and not a made one. How can you hit the big pot with these in your hand? Read on to find out!

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What does an Ace-King suited hand mean?

But before we go there, let us understand what holding an ace-king suited in your hand means. It is a drawing hand that allows the holder to drive the chasers away, leaving fewer opponents to deal with while playing the flop. It gives the player an upper hand at the pre-floppreflop stage, but it is a rather tricky hand to play with. It is the hand most suited to be played post-flop. This hand is full of potential – one can play it aggressively in almost all the usual spots.

When must you bet, call, raise or fold with an Ace-King suited hand?

Betting ace-king Calling ace-king Raising ace-king Folding ace-king
It must be done to either gain information or to value bet or to increase the pot size or force a weaker hand to fold or to force a small pair to fold their best hand. This must be resorted to to increase pot size control and to set a trap. It must be done to gain information or to value raise or to bluff a weaker hand. This must be done when you concede your defeat.

Pre flop with Ace-King suited

Generally, when dealt with an ace-king suited hand, be the one to drive the action, which means either, come in for a raise or, if there is a raise in front of you then, opt for a 3 bet, and if your opponents have a 3 bet then go for a 4 bet. Opting for this strategy will help get as many chips in the middle as possible, where you can safely assume you have a good chance.

The more aggressive the players, and the shorter the stacks, the more aggressive and loose one can get playing the ace-king combination. Also, use this time to narrow the range of your opponent's hand. If you are assured that you are ahead, focus on building the pot; if you feel you are trailing behind, forge ahead with caution.

The decision to reraise with an ace-king-suited hand in pre-flop is entirely circumstantial. For instance, if the pot is raised and reraised before then, it might be prudent to call one might be up against stronger hands such as pocket aces or kings. If you play against tight players, the raise can be three to four times the big blind, but if the players are loose, consider a higher raise, maybe even up to eight times the big blind.

Opting for a passive approach with an ace-king-suited hand in the pre-flop and limp over using someone's pre-flop raise isn't wise. An aggressive approach will help you gain as much money in the pot earlier on, define the opponent's range and to get the pot heads up.

Post flop with Ace-King suited hand

It is a good hand to play post-flop but does not overestimate and make weak calls. Playing the post-flop requires greater skill. Playing any hand post-flop successfully hinges mostly on experience, so be wary of the more experienced players.

There are two situations that one may face post-flop – the more favourable one is that all but one player has folded, and you have to play heads up against that player, and the second option deals with multi-way pots, which are trickier to handle.

If the former option is before you, opting for a continuation bet or c-bet is best. Choosing to bet on the flop will open the action and give the defending player a chance to blow you off the hand with a decent combo draw, and they'll have a lot of these on such types of textures. In the spots where you connect, i.e., flop a top pair or better, you can mix things up. You can also give your opponents a chance to catch up only so that you can get in a value bet on the turn of the river. The opportunities presented are multiple; most work in your favour if played correctly.

If you are up against multiple opponents, proceed cautiously – if you do not connect, do not continue barrelling (i.e., refrain from continuation bets). As the number of players increases, the frequency of c-bets should decrease as the chances of blowing your pot increase.

Do the pros go all-in with the ace-king suited hand?

The poker experts rarely resort to going all-in, and some use the "small ball" play, where they resort to controlling the size of the pot early on in the hand so you can outplay the other players later in the game. But the players play the ace-king hands aggressively when dealt during the middle to late stages of the game.

Some few things to keep in mind

  • Almost always place the first raise pre-flop with ace-king.
  • If it is a cash game, do not risk your entire game stack preflop unless you know your opponent and their play.
  • Typically, the ace-king-suited hand can be played safely for any amount of preflop in small-stakes competitions.
  • To minimise losses, folding to giant cash reraises or multiple cash tournament all-ins is important.
  • You will hit a pair with an ace-king hand 29% of the time.
  • Pushing or calling pushes preflop with ace-king can be the right choice more often than not in a tournament.
  • Use the edge that the ace-king combination offers you post-flop.

To sum it all up

While ace-king is an excellent hand, to begin with, its value must be seen in the light of the player's position, the number of opponents, the betting and the play of the other individuals on the table. Employ the wait-and-use strategy to gain the maximum out of your super slick.

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