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Do you ever slowplay AK?


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As one of the most pkwerful hands it easy to throw the chips in pre. But how much success, if any, do you guys have slowplaying in comparison?. I've started mixing it into my repertoire occasionally but have not yet played enough hands this way to get a particularly good gauge..

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I personally rarely slow play AK, and if i do its with full intention of reraising preflop against an aggressive player who is in late position or the blinds. a spot i find this works is when the donk or loose player limps at the table and then you simply call behind him. I am a fan of slowplaying AA and KK before the flop and although riskier, when trying to win a tourney, you can get a lot of chips this way.
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Not slowplaying even flopped quads :haha:

Have seen several nut fulls QQ QJJ being cracked on safe flops like QJJ and the player with Ah gets turn J and river J for JJJJA.

Now serious: as always it depends on stack sizes, opponents, position and image.

For example I most surely will prefer to see a flop if the MTT is super deep and then pot control 1 street if I'm in position vs good opponent.

If against calling station maybe even will try to stack him with TPTK even in the beginning with 100 or more BB.

On the other hand if OOP vs tough player it's easier to just 3 or 4 bet shove - that way there is no much room for mistake. 90% he will fold to shove.If not vs AA and KK which are not too likely(card removal) we are in good shape flip vs QQ JJ or even 10 10.- with the weakest pairs he would not call the shove. And great part of his raising raising  is junk

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@gyepedro wrote:

When i have AK, i always lose again pair in Hand ( Q Q , J J , 3 3 ), When i have pair in Hand( Q Q , J J , 3 3 ), i lose again A K :D :D :D

@gyepedro It always seems like this to me, especially in late stages of sng, selective memory again, but over the long run they really are flips. :geek:

"It turns out that 75% of all poker players think they play better than the other 75%."     image.png.99a4e82708d54abfc527324e8836768e.png

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Yesterday lost with AA vs AQ against the other chipleader and probably will remember this for few days.

So many bad beats (given and taken) happen if you play enough that it makes you insensitive to great extent.

Of course when something with less than 5% probability prevents you from deep run in major tournament  the sense of "not fair" is still present,

but after all life goes on and there will be many more chances, victories and bad beats of course.

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@gyepedro wrote:

When i have AK, i always lose again pair in Hand ( Q Q , J J , 3 3 ), When i have pair in Hand( Q Q , J J , 3 3 ), i lose again A K :D :D :D


Definitely my experience too...whether slow played or 3-bet, I seem to miss the flop nearly all the time and some b*stard always seems to have a pair

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The following is about cashgames, AKo and opponents are unknown.
AKs is slightly stronger, and when you just try to get it in pre with AKs and not AKo in the following situations, you don't have too many AK's in your range. We also assume all postflop play is without too many big mistakes.

In general, you  are going to make more money with AKo if you reraise (3bet) preflop than when calling. So i would advise against it.
HOWEVER! This doesn't mean you need to go allin preflop. Yes it's the easiest, and won't be -EV too often but in certain scenario's it's just not the most profitable.

Let's pick some common situations:

LP open, OOP AK

By reraising from the blinds vs a Late Position open, you almost make twice as much on average per AKo. If he folds, you make an immediate 4.5bb, while very often, he would have had around 40% equity, and with position, he probably overperforms that equity.

Most opponents will react with a rather polarized 4betting strategy. So by 5betting All-in with your AKo you still make a lot of money by him folding his "bluffs". And vs TT-QQ you flip, you still have 30% vs KK, and only AA have you crushed.

LP open, IP AK (CO vs BTN)

The difference between calling or reraising is a lot smaller here. One of the reasons is because you'll have position postflop, so you could win big pots versus a lot of Ax hands that your opponent opened with. However, we still win slightly more on average by reraising, so it's still your best option. The same reasons about your opponent giving up equity preflop still counts.

When he 4bets, this is where it gets trickier. The bigger he 4bets, the better it is to get it in preflop by jamming. Also, if you're not very confident in your postflop skills, just get it in pre. it'll be a flip very often, but it would be a relatively big mistake to give up your equity in this pot.
If you're confident in your postflop skills, you can start calling here (keep in mind to also call with other strong hands like TT-KK,ATs+).
This is because the majority of people will have a pretty lineair 4betting range in this spot, which means very little bluffs, and only strong hands. The biggest dealbreaker is going to be position and your strong range. The worst flop will be Qxx flops, but on everything else, you can probably continue versus small bets (1/4-1/3 pot) and reevaluate the turn. If he Cbets big, you can play pretty straightforward and fold AKo (keep in mind you also have TT-KK in these spots)

EP open, IP AK

Versus EP opens, everything becomes less obvious. I would still opt for a 3bet pretty much 100%. it's slightly more profitable. The thing that matters to most people is something else: It makes it less likely you make a big mistake postflop! The bigger the pot compared to your stack (Stack to Pot Ratio or "SPR"), the better Top Pair hands are going to perform.

When your opponent 4bets you, it's pretty much the same as in CO vs BTN, the smaller the 4bet, the more you want to call because you have position. Getting it in preflop by 5bet jamming over his big 4bets is not a mistake, so don't worry. This is all boiling down to accepting the variance we'll encounter in this game. Yes they'll have AA & KK from time to time, but you will also get flips and folds. Combined with the dead money (around 40bb) they'll make up for all the times your opponent actually has AA or KK (there are only 3 combo's left of each)

EP open, OOP AK

This is probably the only spot where sometimes you might want to call in the Big Blind versus UTG opens. Not all the time, but mix it in a little bit. It's not really slowplaying, it's more about protecting your defending range. It allows you to have strong hands Out Of Position versus a tight range as well, otherwise it would be too easy for your opponents to just bet/bet/bet on the majority of boards forcing you to fold too much.

Keep in mind that if you're not very confident in your postflop skills OOP, it's never too big of a mistake to 3bet/5B jam, but for the first time, adding flatting becomes the more profitable thing to do. 

From the Small Blind I would always 3bet, but that's my style. From those that have watched me play on stream, I don't have a flatting range in the SB, unless I see a reason to.

The biggest thing here is calling the 4bets, where in all other scenario's calling a 4bet was sometimes a valid strategy, this is no longer true. The call is too expensive, your opponent's range too strong, and you'll be forced to fold way too often postflop in a pot that is just too big. So versus a 4bet, you either fold, or jam. Folding is actually not too bad as an option, but this is where adjustments come into play.


There are a few important adjustement to take into account

- Tight opponents: If you perceive your opponent as tight, you might want to 3bet, but fold to a 4bet more often. Keep in mind, your opponents are rarely as tight as you think they are, and watch out for a confirmation bias (you think they're tight out of fear, you get it in, and they actually have AA, therefor you assume they are actually tight). Always keep an eye out on their opens, 4bets, allins etc. even if you're not in the hand.

- Loose opponents: 3bet, 5B jam. Forcing them to fold their equity is so much better than trying to "trap" them by calling. Keep in mind you'll only hit around 30% of the time, so spare yourself the pain of that other 70%

- Squeezers in the Blinds: This is probably where the majority of people get the inspiration to factor in the plan to slowplay IP. However, the increase in likelyhood of a squeeze needs to be so big, that it's probably still more profitable to just 3bet yourself. I'm talking maniacs. So if it's just normal regs, that might get out of line a little bit by adding a few combo's to their squeezing ranges, it's probably never enough to justify the slowplay preflop in position. SB is a bad idea as well, because you allow BB to defend cheap, so even when he squeezs more, the money you sacrifice by having to play a 3 handed pot OOP is just more than what you potentially gain by trapping with AK.

If you guys have questions, don't hesitate. I'll check back from time to time.

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