How to play 'Big Slick'
In Texas Hold'em, when a player is dealt an ace and king, suited or not, as their first two hole cards, it is referred to as Big Slick. You may be wondering what is so great about being dealt this starting hand.
In this article we will discuss how to play big slick.
Playing Big Slick
When playing Ace King (AK) before the flop, you have to realise this is a very powerful hand. Even though Big Slick is not a made hand pre-flop, it doesn't mean you shouldn't play it aggressively like you would a high pocket pair hand.
As far as starting hands go, playing AK pre-flop puts a player in a great position to make a great hand on the flop or later streets. AK is considered to be a drawing hand, but it's the best drawing hand in Texas Hold'em.
If you happen to hit something on the flop, there is a strong possibility that you will have the with top pair and top kicker.
On non scary boards with an A or K and there are no straight or flush possibilities, the only hands which have you beat if someone didn't flop a set is KK/AA, but considering you have blockers to these hands when you are playing AK, there is a very small chance your opponents have these hands.
And if they didn't play their hand aggressively pre-flop, which is normally the case when playing high pocket pair hands, then you can basically dismiss them having these hands altogether.
In addition to making a top pair hand, when playing AK there is also the potential to make a broadway straight (ace-ten straight) and if the ace and king are suited, there is the potential to make the best hand in Texas Hold'em, a royal flush.
Now that you can understand the drawing power of Big Slick, we will discuss how to play AK.
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Playing Big Slick preflop
You always want to raise with AK if there hasn't been a raise when the action gets to you. Slow playing AK is not a good idea. A typical raise is usually 3 to 4 times the big blind, so when you get one or more calls you get to build a big pot for when you hit the flop.
If a player has raised before the action gets to you, then how to play AK will depend on the situation.
Generally you should 3-bet with this hand because in all likelihood you will still , but there are various factors to consider such as your position at the table, stack sizes, tendencies of the other players at the table and consideration for the original raiser.
It's always good to know how the original raiser will react to the 3-bet if you do 3-bet and what range of hands they will call with.
If the raiser is loose and calling with a wide range of hands, you should be more willing to 3-bet them with AK for value, as they will be calling with a lot of dominated hands. When you 3-bet, you are making it significantly easier to win your opponent's stack.
Although the default is to 3-bet with Big Slick when there has been a raise in front of you, there are situations when flatting the raise can be optimal.
The conditions of the hand
For example, if the initial raiser is a tight player who was always folding to 3-bets, then you would want to keep him in the hand by just calling his raise.
Another scenario is when you are facing a raise from a player in early position. Generally players will only raise premium hands from early position, and AK doesn't do so well against this tight range.
Even though it is usually when you have position in the hand, when you are playing AK out of position in the hand (when you are in the small blind or big blind), you have to consider if the raiser is attempting to steal the blinds. Many players will raise in late position with less then premium hands in an attempt to do this, so if this is the case, you should 3bet with AK when OOP.
One of the dangers of playing Big Slick is that even though there are many potential ways to make a big hand, the probability that you will flop an ace or a king is about 32%, so more often then not you will miss the flop and you will encounter many situations where you will need to know what to do when you have nothing.
Big Slick is a good hand to attempt a semi-bluff.
But if you play AK too aggressively, it can lead to losing a big pot because you get too attached to the hand. Consider what range of hands your opponents are playing, and if you feel that the flop missed the other player as well, you can make a continuation bet and take down the pot when you miss.
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