How to play ace-king in late position
The strongest drawing hand
Ace King is one of the strongest pre-flop hands in no limit Texas Hold’em, as we all know.
While it may be one of the strongest hands in poker many players, both sharks and fish alike struggle with playing this hand in late position.
Since Ace king is still a drawing hand and not a made hand like pocket aces knowing how to properly play this difficult hand in late position is an easy way to increase your profits by winning larger pots, more often.
One of the most common mistakes made when playing Ace King from late position is not raising pre-flop or not raising enough. If you are dealt Ace King in late position and there are two to three limpers in front of you should always raise. Many less experienced players see this as a good opportunity to try and “trap” their opponents that have limped in front of them and limp behind in order to hide the strength of their hand.
While this may occasionally be a good idea with premium hands like pocket aces or kings it is essential that you raise while in late position when dealt Ace King and have limpers in front of you for a number of reasons.
First, when you are dealt a premium hand such as Ace King in late position you want to win as big if a pot as is possible. By just limping behind it will be difficult to win your opponents entire stack, even when you flop a big hand since the size of the pot will be very small compared to the size of the pot if you had raised pre-flop.
The second reason to always raise limpers when you are dealt Ace King is to charge the other players at the table to play speculative hands post flop. Most players tend to limp with drawing hands like suited connectors or low pocket pairs, trying to flop a monster hand like a straight or a flush while seeing a cheap flop. Since you have both a powerful pre-flop hand and are in late position you should raise in order to deny these players the opportunity to see a cheap flop with their drawing hands. If they do decide to call you will have a superior hand in a better position at the table and be able to win the hand post flop. One question commonly asked by new players is “how big should I make my raises when there are limpers in front of me?” A good rule of thumb to follow is to raise 3 big blinds plus 1 more for each limper.
Another common mistake made when playing Ace King from late position is being unwilling to go all in pre-flop. Texas Hold’em is an aggressive game and if you are playing a standard tight aggressive style you will be raising a wide range of hands from late position. Because of this other aggressive regulars will begin to play back at you by re-raising you pre-flop. Do not be afraid of getting your whole stack in pre-flop by shoving over the three bet from an aggressive regular. While they may occasionally have a stronger hand like pocket aces or kings most of the time they will be holding a weaker hand and will fold, giving you a decent sized pot without having to even see a flop or call, putting their entire stack in the middle behind.
Knowing how to play Ace King from late position is an important skill for poker players of every level to master. When properly played it can be one of your most profitable hands to play while making one mistake with this powerful hand can have you watching the dealer slide your entire stack to your opponent.