Starting Hands

Poker Starting Hands – “AK Big Slick, Playing It Right”


Ace King … It’s monster hand and you plan to get as much

money out of everyone as you can.

Big Slick is called Big Slick for a reason. Yes its a monster

drawing hand but it is a drawing hand all the same.

IF you hit either an Ace or a King on the flop then you’ve got

yourself top pair with the best kicker. You might get lucky as

is connected to get the nuts straight, if its suited you have

got the table crippled if you draw that flush. It’s worth noting

A-K suited is 5th best starting hand but

A-K off is 9th best.

But this is the thing – when you haven’t seen any cards what

have you got really ? An Ace high … with a King kicker, just

about any starting hand could beat it.

Top players know AK is a great drawing hand but they also

know its can be a killer if it just doesn’t work out. In the

hands of a new player it has 4king bustout written all over it,

quite simply they fall in love with it.

Now here is the next problem with playing AK – OK it’s a

drawing hand so your thinking – don’t play it too hard until

you see the flop and then you can work out how your doing

… Wrong.

Limping in with Big Slick is going to make you a big

underdog – It is an easily beaten hand if you let lots of

players see the flop, that ragged looking board could have

given any of them trips, two pair, straights – allsorts.

However AK doesn’t fair so badly against a couple of player

with other high cards.

You have to play big slick hard before the flop if your playing

  1. Get rid of all the players with low pairs, big draws and junk

– With a big prefop raise you can be fairly sure the one

(ideally) or two players left only have something high or

decent pairs. Then you have the added advantage – you

made the raise and you took control … again.

Dont make the mistake of trying to keep more people in to

make a bigger pot for your “great hands” – thats how to

make your own bad beats.

With most of the players in to see the flop your as good as

giving your chips away – Play it aggressively, raise pre-flop

and then hold yourself back when you see the flop.

But DO NOT go all-in before the flop – remember you’ve got

an Ace high nothing more.

In this situation the only hands that are really going to cause

you concern are AA and KK – but if someone had that they’d

have come right back at your big raise with an all-in before

the flop.

Chances are unless they hit trips with there good pair (see

what they do) you can fire at them once you pair either the

King or the Ace infact you should fire out a good size bet

even if you dont – remember you’ve already as good as

shouted at them “my hands is a winner”.

Then see what they do – if they come back at you know

they’ve got something, probably trips – then you need to slow

down accept your beat and try to see the rest of the cards


The chances are they will lay down just about most things

that dont hit.

Now this all works well if you were easily able to take control

of the table ie. you had good position to get a big raise in

after you had seen what everyone else did but remember

preflop this is – on the button and the two blinds. The worst

position to be trying to play AK from and indeed any other big

hands like AA KK QQ is when your under the gun – this is the

first seat after the blinds.

Why ? well your first to act before the flop and first to act after

the flop. This seat is tricky especially if you dont hit an Ace or

a King on the flop. Not only are you risking

players limp in, your letting other players get control.

They will sense weakness and have position over you so

you could very easily end up facing an all-in decision after

re-raising a bet and someone coming back at you over the

top all-in with a half decent pair. Then its become a tough

decision with that Ace high of yours (lay it down). No by

raising even in early position you will take control and

narrow the field and against one, maybe two players you

have a good chance to avoid AK becoming that Big Slick.

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