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  1. #1

    Playing AK preflop in a tournament when you are average chip stack

    I have tried 2 different approaches to play AK preflop mid-way through a multi table tournament and when you are close to average chip stack - about 20-25 BB. In one tournament I decided to shove if there had been a pre-flop raise or if I am the one opening the betting. I got called by worse hands two times and both times got out-drawn on the flop and no A or K on the turn or river and I busted out.
    2nd tourney I decided to try something different and decided to either call the raise or bet 5-6 BB pre-flop and then figure out what to do once the flop comes out. Again I was in this kind of situation twice and both times I missed the flop completely and I put my opponents on small/medium pocket pairs and couldn't call their bets on the flop. Effectively I became short-stacked and had to shove with A8 and big blind called me with AJ and I busted out.
    Can someone put forward their thoughts on how to play AK preflop and postflop in similar situations?
    Thanks.
    Sumit

  2. #2

    Re: Playing AK preflop in a tournament when you are average chip stack

    Hey Sumit,
    In general when u have 20 to 25 bbs you are not deep enough to play post flop. In most cases its best to use a pre flop strategy with these stacks. I like re-shoving on people with AK as you can get called by worse, open shoving with this stacks seems bad as its too many chips and your hand is strong enough (there are lot of worse hands you can induce action from like AJ, AQ, QK, AT etc all these hands hv very less equity against AK) where you can give your opponent a chance to make the mistake of continuing with a worse hand. So raise and call ur opponent if he shoves when you raise with AK on 20-25bbs and someone goes allin. I don't like 3 betting much on these stacks as you end up committing a lot of your stack post flop and its difficult becos of pot odds to fold even on low flops as you will have decent equity if you feel your opponent has mid pair and your A or K will be the winner if you were to hit it on the turn or river. I much rather not get myself in a situation where I have to call off with AK high and would much rather just go allin and hope to be called by worse and see all 5 community cards this way, shud always try all see 5 cards when u hv AK which is assured when u go allin
    bad beats are part of the game sumit and don't dwell on them, only thing you can do is try and learn to play every hand to best of your potential and then rest is up to the poker gods
    Adi

  3. #3

    Re: Playing AK preflop in a tournament when you are average chip stack

    Staying onto big slick plays....yesterdays $200 freeroll tournament by Pokerguru...I had about 2k chips, blinds 25/50...i had AK,position- UTG...limped in, guy behind me raised to 250 followed by 3 more callers...i could see about 1100 in the pot so shoved all in with my big slick...the guy who initially raised 250 called, everyone else folded...he had pocket jacks and i lost the race.
    After the game, I felt may be i could have just called because the blinds were so less 25/50 and i had 2k chips...but couldnt help on seeing free 1k in the pot and potential triple up in the making there if someone calls and i happen to win the race.

    Question: Was i right in shoving 2k chips at that moment?

  4. #4

    Re: Playing AK preflop in a tournament when you are average chip stack

    shoving is by far the best play.
    There are only 2 hands u don't want to get called by which are AA and KK. Any other hand he calls with you are either virtually a coin flip (if he has 22,33,44 all the way up to QQ) or you are a huge favorite (if he has AQ, AJ, AT,QK). By going all in you assure yourself seeing all 5 community cards, problem with just calling is, most of the time u miss the flop he bets you are forced to fold and you don't get to see turn and river where u can improve your hand. Also if u do happen to flop an A or K u might not even get much value if he has JJ or if he has a hand u dominate but missed the flop (like AQ on K 3 5 flop), since he will always be afraid of the A or K on the flop, so its tough to get value unless he has a very specific hand (like KQ on K 3 5 board which doesn't happen much). When so much in the pot its an easy shove every time in this situation and by far the correct play. Hope I was clear, but feel free to ask any questions if u hv any.
    Adi

  5. #5

    Re: Playing AK preflop in a tournament when you are average chip stack

    Quote Originally Posted by siddarth_singhvi
    Staying onto big slick plays....yesterdays $200 freeroll tournament by Pokerguru...I had about 2k chips, blinds 25/50...i had AK,position- UTG...limped in, guy behind me raised to 250 followed by 3 more callers...i could see about 1100 in the pot so shoved all in with my big slick...the guy who initially raised 250 called, everyone else folded...he had pocket jacks and i lost the race.
    After the game, I felt may be i could have just called because the blinds were so less 25/50 and i had 2k chips...but couldnt help on seeing free 1k in the pot and potential triple up in the making there if someone calls and i happen to win the race.

    Question: Was i right in shoving 2k chips at that moment?
    Preflop play is questionable as well; since limping to disguise the strength of your hand you fail to gain information on other opponents hands. If you raised to say 150 then JJ would have to raise to 300. The other two opponents faced with a raise and a re-raise may well have folded ... the pot would then be only 525 which makes your decision easier if you have knowledge of your opponents tendencies .. that is the key .. you can easily assess his range to be more polarized to a pocket pair or a hand similar to yours (assuming he is not just donking his/her chips with any two cards).


    However in the situation you describe I would fold (preferable) ... or flat call ... since at this stage you have committed only 50 chips (albeit I suppose you were trapping). You are faced with a raise and two calls all of whom potentially have a better hand .... with AK at best you are in a race/coin-flip against "potentially" three players. You are risking your tournament life on this coin-flip scenario (that said I have made the same plays in the same spots ... but I know it is incorrect). The correct decision is to fold and wait for a better spot (A call is OK but remember you are playing out of position after the flop) .. Also remember those extra 250 chips are worth 500 (double up) or 750 (treble up)

    A push is gamble ... call is ok if you connect .. but here is the crunch when playing out of position .. ou have to continuation bet to see whether your hand is any good (even if you hit your A) .. you have three players behind if one of them shoves you cannot call with any certainty that your AK is good (trips, flushes straight draw might all be possibilities on the board you encounter)

    If I am looking to progress .. I would fold and save my chips for a better spot as you have plenty of play with 2k at that stage.

    "When torrential water tosses boulders, it is because of momentum. When the strike of a hawk breaks the body of its prey, it is because of timing. Thus, the momentum of one skilled in war is overwhelming, and his attack precisely regulated".

  6. #6
    Once you limp UTG, the idea is to squeeze once someone behind you raises. You got your (unintended?) wish, and frankly I think its the perfect spot for you to jam with a raiser behind you and 3 callers. Jamming is certainly the right play, and as Intervention said, you're fine as long as you don't run into AA and KK, which won't happen that often since you have ace and king blockers.

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