Ace-king suited is a beautiful poker hand to look at, but it can quickly turn sour when you completely brick the flop. Just because you miss the flop with ace-king doesn’t mean you just give up, make the proper adjustments and remember the fundamentals to help guide you.
Scenario: You are eight-handed, playing in a $5,000 buy-in online tournament. You are the biggest stack at the table holding roughly 100,000 in chips with blinds of 700-1,400, with the next largest stack having 75,000. It folds around to you in the cutoff and you look down at A♣-K♣.
Obviously you should never fold, and calling invites problems. While you will definitely raise in this spot, 2,800 is the preferred amount because a min-raise has a higher likelihood of attracting out-of-position callers that you have crushed. A raise of 3,200 is also fine as long as you know that the larger bet will still attract callers.
Action: You make the min-raise to 2,800 and it folds to the big blind who calls. The flop comes down 5♦-3♥-2♥, and the big blind checks to you.
The Pot: 5,600 The Board: 5♦-3♥-2♥ Effective Stack: 69 Big Blinds Effective
Playing A Poker Hand When You Whiff The Flop
This flop completely misses your range, and while you may still be ahead, you must recognize how disastrous getting check-raised would be.
When trying to find marginal hands to check, ask yourself, ‘If I bet this hand and get raised, is it terrible?’ In this spot it is because you have a reasonable draw with your gutshot and overcards which has decent equity, but plays poorly if raised.
If you did decide on a bet, it should at least be for a small amount.
Action: You check behind on the flop and the turn is the 7♥. First to act, your opponent bets 6,237.
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The Pot: 5,600 The Board: 5♦-3♥-2♥-7♥ Effective Stack: 69 Big Blinds Effective
Facing Aggression On The Turn
With your A-K, you should call a turn bet on almost any card… other than a heart. The 7♥ greatly benefits the big blind’s range which will contain a lot of low cards. And while you started with a great hand, when a really bad card hits the board and you face aggression, you simply must fold.
Conclusion: You make the disciplined fold and live to fight another day. Nice laydown!
About The Author
Two-time WPT Champion Jonathan Little is a powerhouse in the global poker community. He's authored several bestselling strategy poker books, and accumulated over $7 million in live tournament cashes in the last 15 years. Crowned 2019 Poker Personality of the Year at the Global Poker Awards, the American pro is constantly rolling out a stream of exclusive articles, videos, and webinars here on PokerCoaching.com.