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All In Preflop with AK, really?


I just wonder why, on this website, there is such an emphasis on going all in (or keeping raising until you are) preflop with AK when facing a 3bet. If you make the assumption that going all the way preflop AK has 7% equity vs AA , 30% equity vs KK, and roughly 44% vs any other pair and if you assume that when you face extreme aggression you may be against AA 30% of the time, KK another 30% of the time, AK another 20% of the time and any other pair (mainly QQ) the rest of the time, you can calculate a probability adjusted all in equity of AK vs. all these hands, which would be just 30%. That doesn't seem to justify going all in preflop with AK heads up. Even if you lower the probability of facing AA and KK, you still don't get to a place where the pot odds make sense. Am I missing something?


  • monkeysystem

    Go on the APT Winning Odds Tool. Figure out what V's 3-bet range has to be for a shove with AKo to be +EV. It has to be really tight. Also remember that in this age of light 3-betting, if you call the 3-bet and the flop misses you, he can C-bet and barrel you out of the hand with all kinds of crap that you still beat.

    That being said, AK is a racing hand that in a tournament can send you to the rebuy line a lot.

  • highfive

    AK blocks AA & KK by 50%. You are also repping stronger hands and may win if opponent folds. JJ anyone?
    Higher players stack off standardly with AK because their player pool stacks with a wider range.
    I'm one of the few that stacks off AK at lower levels. (Live)
    If you don't stack lightly on occasion, players exploit you by folding. " Allin? He's always nutted." Fold
    QQ doesn't do well against similar ranges AND it doesn't block any aces or kings.
    That leaves you with Kk Aa.
    People will know.
    For 100 bigs or less, it's an ok play.

  • dhirigoyd

    3 betting is not that common in live small stakes though. So generally when you face a reraise you're against AK or QQ through AA. So I think a probability weighted equity estimate may still not be such a bad idea to decide whether to shove with AK. It probably doesn't apply as well to online games which tend to be more loose aggressive.

  • 1warlock
    edited April 2018

    In general, at 100BB or less it is never a hugely wrong decision to get it all in with AK. That being said, if you are in a game with super tight players who only ever 3-bet QQ+ and AK, it certainly isn't mandatory. In very tight low stakes games, where limps replace opens, you can basically treat a raise like a 3-bet and a 3-bet like a 4-bet. Just shift everything over and adjust accordingly.

    Since I mostly play with deeper stacks, I am less inclined to shove AK overall - the deeper you get, the narrower the value shoving range becomes. As effective stacks grow to ~150-200BB or more, AK is no longer part of that range. As a result of this, I'm somewhat more used to playing AK post-flop than many other people are (positively but not crazily).

    Many factors come into play with all the decisions we face in poker. I think it is far too simplistic to say AK must get it all in pre-flop, even at these depths. As long as you have a game-plan that fits your overall skill levels and the players you are facing, you are probably doing better than most. I mean there are people who will limp AK and then shove their stack at an A-high flop with 5 other players in the pot. I've seen people do the same even when they miss the world. If you are recognizing this hands relative value both pre and post flop, you are profiting off those who don't.

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