Friday, October 05, 2007

AK offsuit

This thread on 2+2 asks the question
Your in mid position with AKoff. early in 9 man sit and go early position raises 4x BB do u call or reraise?

No response suggests that if that early position raiser is straightforward and a very tight early position opener then you should probably think about folding.

But you should fold if that's the case unless you're pretty sure you'll get some nutcase callers behind you.

Against an opener with the range {QQ+, AKs, AKo} your AKo is a 39/61 dog and you don't have any implied odds because you aren't likely to get a lot of action from QQ if you hit the flop.

If you get called behind from someone how has in the top 20% of their hands then the equity distribution of (you, EP, nutcase caller) is (30/45/25) and you do have some implied odds from the nutcase so calling might be okay in that case. But even then it's marginal.

One of the things that gets critized about my book is that I point out that AKo is a hand that should sometimes (rare occasions, but still sometimes) be folded preflop. This is an example of one of those times.

Things do look a little better for AKo if that EP opener is tight, but not extremely so. Against a range of {TT+, AJs+, AQo+} the AKo is about even money and does have some implied odds against that range.



Blogger nerkul said...

Do you play many SNGs?

In 1500 stack, 10-minute level poker, you can't fold AK preflop unless facing two raises or a mad read. I would call if the players between me and the button are likely to fold, raise otherwise (mostly to ensure position). Even pushing AK preflop is never a big mistake.

3:49 PM  
Blogger nerkul said...

Also, I can't leave this unremarked because it's shocking:

"you don't have any implied odds because you aren't likely to get a lot of action from QQ if you hit the flop."

You can't do precise equity calculations for one possible outcome and then handwave away a whole other set of outcomes! How much flop action we can expect is known fairly accurately. If the QQ player c-bets a lot, you can call in position with AK a lot. You fold to a push on a missed flop and you float a c-bet (after weighing in probable fold equity on the turn). Whatever you do, don't fold.

I suggest you are arguing for the sake of it, about games you don't even play.

4:13 PM  
Blogger Gary Carson said...

nerkul -

What range of hands do you put an EP opener on? That's what it depends on, not on the number of minutes until the next blind increase.

I have no idea what it means to float a bet, so I can't comment on your second comment.

I'm not arguing, I'm just pointing out that against a very tight EP raiser you should think about folding AKo.

There's nothing to argue about.

I do understand that such a thing does seem wrong to people who don't realize how important an opponents hand range can be to your hand value.

Sometimes opponent hand range isn't really all that important, sometimes it is.

This situation is an example of a non-robust situation that I mentioned in a post here the other day.

AKo against an early position raiser is a sitution where it's important to fine tune your estimate of the openers range as closely as you can.

I make a comment on implied odds in no limit here.

4:33 PM  
Blogger said...

Hi Gary.

I like this discussion. I see so many people calling or raising in this situation with AKo. But to your point, I do not think many would consider folding here. They see AKo and go into instant call or raise mode without really thinking about the situation. I guess I would have a few questions before I could give an answer as to what I would do here.

First... what is the buy-in for this sit 'n go. The buy-in will often affect the quality of the players at the table. At a $1 sit and go your AKo could actually be ahead of the early position raiser. At a $100 sit and go, it is more probable that the EPR has a quality starting hand.

What is the playing history of the EPR? By using a tool like you can see if they have a history of winning or loosing (I do this at the start of EVERY sit n go). If they are a consistent winner, I would give more respect to the EPR than if they have a long history of giving their money away (or if they are on a recent down swing).

What have you observed about this player so far. You mentioned it was early in the sit and go. How early is early? First hand? Ten hands in? Twenty hands? Has this person entered the pot from early previously? If so, what cards did they show down?

Who is left to act behind you? Do you have a LAG sitting next to you that might shove? Or a bunch of tighties that will only enter if they have the goods?

As to the other comments, I do not like pushing AKo preflop early in a sit n go. Sit n go's are about patience, not about pushing your chips in at your earliest convience. I pray for people like that--they are my primary source of income! Pushing in this situation might work in cash games but I do not see that as a long-term winning strategy for single table sit n gos.

On the implied odds issue, I also do not think that is very important here. At 1500 chips your stacks are not big enough to really matter. Even if you double up, 3000 chips when you get to the bubble doesn't really give you much of an advantage. Yes, it will give you more to work with, but I think the risk is greater than the benefit of the low implied odds. Again, if this were a cash game with 100+ BBs behind, now you have the implied odds to work with. However, to the point of one of the other responders, if an A or K comes on the flop, there are not too many hands that a tight solid player would raise preflop that either 1) doesn't have you beat, or 2) that they will give you action on. So I think this situation is a poor one for a case for implied odds.

With all of that said, I get the point of your post... that you should consider ALL your options (including folding) in this situation (against an early position raiser), actually in every situation.

My response is a long-winded approach to what you already said... "AKo against an early position raiser is a sitution where it's important to fine tune your estimate of the openers range as closely as you can." I agree 100%. And if your analysis leads you to believe you are up against a big pair, folding is definately something you should consider. With that said, if I were the early position raiser, I would pray for someone to push with AKo!!!

5:32 PM  
Blogger DMW said...

Yes you should think about folding if you know that the EP raiser is tight. That wasn't given as a premise so you don't know it. So think about folding, then call or reraise him.

7:05 PM  
Blogger nerkul said...

I may have replied in the wrong place. Basically your mistake is in confusing cash games and tournaments. In tournaments you focus on winning pots, not stacks. You WANT to be postflop against raisers with narrow ranges.

4:47 AM  
Blogger Gary Carson said...



2:16 PM  
Blogger nerkul said...

More ways to win.

12:46 AM  
Blogger Dr Zen said...

nerkul is just very wrong. I can think of players who I would fold AK behind. There aren't many of them, but they exist. (As I note below, I'm one of them!) And I'd be more inclined to fold in an SNG than in a cash game, not less. Floating a c-bet against a player who raises this tight is just giving money away. (Gary, floating a bet is calling without the odds. nerkul means to call when you haven't hit, hoping to hit on the turn or to bluff the other guy off it. This is what players like him call "outplaying" their opponent, and players like me call "giving money" to their opponent.) nerkul's suggestion is plain formulaic: do this, do that when you have AKo. Against most players, that'll work, but against someone who plays 31/2, it's just burning dollars. It's not much better against an ultratighty, because you're gambling that he has QQ/JJ, and that's not that much of his range. If he raises AQ/AJ, he's not as tight as we're discussing here. And I'm a pretty tight raiser, dude, and I *love* guys who think they have implied odds against me with worse hands! Okay, they will beat me when they get lucky and hit one of their six outs and I happen to have QQ, and they might get a small bet out of me, but they are fuxxored all the times they're second best. The thing with implied odds is that the guy who has called hoping to get them has to be willing to put in action when he hits his hand. Which is fine if you took the worst of it with the nut flush draw, not so good if you floated a tight raiser with AQ and he just made TPTK or trips against your TP2K.

Pushing AK preflop is *often* a mistake. What a mad thing to say that it isn't. If you are playing guys who will call with mid pairs, it's a $EV disaster. I'm rarely all that happy to get it all in preflop with AK early in an SNG.

Having said that, AK is mostly ahead of EP raisers in low buyin SNGs, because many players raise very light. Still, I hate getting dealt it at low blinds, because low buyin donks think every raise means AK and will call raises with small pairs and then beat you simply by calling you down or in some cases pushing if no A or K comes. Much better to have AA against them ;-)'s comment seemed right on the money to me. I'll tell you something. If I raise from UTG, I have AA/KK/QQ/AK and I'll be delighted for you to shove.

4:00 PM  
Blogger DMW said...

Well Zen, that is different. Gary limited the EP raiser to a tight range, although it's not in the thread and we don't know that unless we have a history or computer data.

8:38 PM  
Blogger Dr Zen said...

dmw, Gary opened his response by saying that no one in the thread had suggested that one might fold if the raiser was tight. Had nerkul questioned that aspect of the post, as you are now, that would be fair enough. I was responding to his formulaic response.

Gary does say it's a rare occasion. If you don't have the read, I guess it doesn't apply.

6:22 PM  

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