Playing AK in Poker Tournaments

by Jeremy Olson on April 11, 2012

Most poker players get extremely excited about being dealt AK because it’s one of the top hands in the game. In fact, some players have a lot of difficulty folding AK - no matter what the situation may be. This being the case, it’s worth looking at some different tips for playing AK in poker tournaments.

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Don’t be afraid to fold AK

Sometimes it’s difficult to lay down AK - especially when you’ve been waiting forever for a good hand to come along. However, there are some situations where it’s obvious to a skilled player that they need to fold. For example, let’s say that two tight players in early position make big raises; in this case, you should consider that at least one of them has a big pocket pair. Of course, there are additional factors to keep in mind, which we’ll discuss.

Consider your Stack and the Blinds

The blinds and your stack size will also play a huge part in what you do with AK. Using the scenario we just described, your hand might very well be beat by the two tight players; however, if you’re shortstacked and need to collect chips fast, it’d be worth a call or reraise simply because your hand is good enough to race with. Additionally, if one of the opponents is shortstacked, they could be raising with an inferior hand just to survive. As for the blinds, if they’re low enough in relationship to your stack, there’s nothing forcing you to take a risk with AK.

How far along is the Tournament?

One more point to consider is how close you are to the bubble or final table in a tourney. Furthermore, if your stack is doing fine and you’re waiting for people to bust out, it might be a good idea to play conservative with AK. Of course, it’s also important to take chances if you want to win the tourney - as long as you think the situation is favorable.