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Big Slick Poker Hand: 7 Tips for Winning BIG


Big Slick Poker Hand: 7 Tips for Winning BIG

Ace-King, also known affectionately as “Big Slick” is undoubtedly one of the best starting hands in No Limit Hold’em. While profits are often in store for the holder with the Big Slick poker hand, excitement can easily turn into dismay. Some players prefer the nickname “Anna Kournikova” after the Russian tennis star. “Looks pretty but never wins anything”.

While the potential for big profits are there, navigating the various pitfalls associated with Big Slick requires a measure of skill. A complete masterclass on the topic of Big Slick poker would fill hundreds of pages, but we can at least hit the table with a selection of the most important pointers which we will outline here.

TIP 1: BIG SLICK OFFSUIT WANTS TO PLAY HEADS UP.

Some hands play well multi-way in Hold’em, others not so much. AKo is absolutely one of those hands that prefers to play heads-up. We should hence carefully revolve our preflop decision around making heads up pots a frequent reality.

Let’s say there is a late position opener and caller. We are in the big-blind and have the option to overcall or squeeze. Squeezing is frequently best because it carries the possibility of narrowing down the field. Overcalling forces us to play a multi-way pot postflop; not an environment in which AKo thrives.
Another example might be that we are on the BTN with AKo and face a middle-position opener. While both cold-calling and 3betting can be considered reasonable, 3betting often ends up being best. By just calling we increase the possibility of multi-way action assuming one of the blinds decides to tag along.

TIP 2: STACK OFF PREFLOP IN LATE POSITION FOR <100bb ONLY.

This mostly applies to cash games. Many players are aware that it can be ok to stack off preflop with AKo and AKs. However, it depends on our position and our stack depth. It’s generally not ok to stack off preflop if either we or our opponents are in early/middle position. It’s also not recommended to stack off preflop if the stacks are deeper than 100bb.

Even with stack sizes smaller than 100bb in late position, it’s worth remembering that stacking off preflop is unlikely to be exceptionally profitable. There is frequently a better option that involves seeing a flop.

TIP 3: TOP-PAIR-TOP-KICKER IS NOT ALWAYS GOOD FOR STACKS.

One of the most frequent postflop hands we’ll make with big slick poker is TPTK (top-pair-top-kicker). 100bb effective stacks are notoriously tricky for this type of holding, especially if we are playing a single-raised pot. If our opponent is looking to get 100bb into the middle postflop, he will often have one pair beat.

Our default outlook should hence to be to value-bet relentlessly but be willing to fold in the face of counter-aggression.

TIP 4: BE CAUTIOUS WHEN BIG SLICK DOESN'T IMPROVE.

While our AK is decent preflop, by the time we have completely missed the flop, our hand declines sharply in value. Sometimes players have a hard time letting go however and are content to both make and call big bets with AK-high unimproved.

It’s important to remember that most of the value of our hand disappears when we don’t pair up; we just have Ace-high after all. It’s ok to be doing a lot folding postflop, especially on the more connected textures. As the preflop aggressor we should feel no pressure to fire continuation bets on board textures we have completely missed. AKs typically has better prospects than AKo in this regard, since the AKs can at least sometimes pick up the backdoor flush-draw when it misses its pair.

TIP 5: DIFFERENTIATE BETWEEN GOOD AND BAD BOARDS.

This is a skill that can potentially take some time to master. Here are some hard and fast rules we can start with.

- AKo may often decide to continue unimproved postflop on dry textures, especially those without Broadway. T23, 884, 923 etc.

- If we make TPTK we prefer that there is no Ten, Jack or Queen on the board. This usually increases the chances of reverse-domination (i.e. our opponent makes two-pair) although it does depend on the precise preflop action. We need to be very careful with AK on the AJT board if there are a lot of fireworks for example. AK is immensely strong on the K23 rainbow texture however.

- Unimproved AK can often give up the flop immediately on drawy textures, especially mid-high connected textures.

- QTx, JTx, and QJx are the usually the trickiest boards to play. They tend towards connecting well with the range of the preflop caller, and we are often the preflop aggressor with AK. We need to ensure we don’t semi-bluff too aggressively on these types of boards.

TIP 6: DON'T EXPECT A FREE TICKET TO PROFITS WITH BIG SLICK

It’s healthy to keep in mind that AK should still lose a decent amount of the time. If we have the expectation that we will win money every time we pick up big slick poker, this can be bad for our mindset. We can begin to feel ‘hard done by’ when our expectations are not realised.

As experienced players know, the goal is not to win every hand. So long as we play AK in a way that maximises its long-run expectation, the result of any individual hand should not concern us.

TIP 7: UNDERSTAND THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN AKo AND AKs.

AKo and AKs are not the same hand. AKs has a few percent more pot-equity in most cases and performs significantly better in multi-way scenarios than its offsuit counterpart.

When playing AKs multiway we should understand that our goal is to make the nut flush or nut straight. TPTK is not an especially strong holding in multi-way pots and can easily end up dominated if facing a lot of action.

THE GOLDEN RULE WITH BIG SLICK POKER

If we were to condense all of the above advice into one rule, what would it be?

Don’t overplay big slick!

Many players have a tendency to get carried away and over-play this holding. It’s important to be able to make an accurate appraisal of every situation. Once we feel comfortable knowing when to fold, the profits from our wins will really start to make an impact on our bottom line.

 

 


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