Ace King Top Pair on Paired BoardArticle By: RuffPoker.com
With Ace King you are looking for one of two cards and if either of them hit you are likely to be on top. If you hit a king, you are guaranteed the best pair along with the best kicker. If you hit an ace it is still the same. Sure, there are still lots of hands that could beat you, but there is never any worry about a higher pair or higher kicker. In poker, a pair wins more then any other kind of hand. What happens though when there is another twist thrown into the mix? What happens when you hit your ace or king but the board also pairs along with it?
This can be a tough decision for anyone. If nobody that you are playing against has what is paired on the board, then you know you are in very good shape. The problem is that if someone does have that card you are pretty much drawing dead. The only way you could win if you are up against a set is if you catch runner runner which is highly unlikely. So the real question is how in the world do you play this hand under these circumstances?
The one thing to keep in mind here is that you still do probably have the best hand. The only way you can really find out if someone has you beat here is by testing it out. If you put a little bet out there you should be able to get a feeling for what people have. Some players will slow play if they have trips while others will bet it. The main thing to remember is that you very well could be beat. There is no reason you cannot let that hand go if it comes down to it. There is no need to get too involved with a hand like that.
When it comes down to it, if someone makes a move then they probably have it. Any players that stick around with you are going to have the same pair as you (with a lower kicker) or they are going to have trips. The player with trip will make a move at the end to get as much of your money as possible. There is nothing else you can do except respect the bet and get out of the hand. More then likely; your opponents are just as worried about the paired board as you are. Just continue to bet and if it comes down to it then get out of the way.
The worst thing that you could do with AK in this position is to assume you have the best hand. With a board like that there is no reason to assume that. Play the hand with caution but be sure not to show weakness. If you check the flop, then you are showing weakness. Sure, that could be a sign that you are slow playing, but it will probably be taken as weakness. If you just put a standard bet out there then your opponents won’t be sure what to put you on. It will be just enough to keep them around with a slightly lesser hand then yours, and enough to get re-raised with a better hand then yours. Both of those are good because you are either winning money or getting out cheap without too much damage.