Playing Ace-King Early in Tournaments

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One of the most frequent mistakes you see bad players make is going broke with ace king early in a poker tournament. This hand seems to have some kind of special mystique about it, probably from people seeing the massive all ins that are played with it late in televised tournaments. This leads to bad players looking down at this hand and feeling like no matter what the situation, they just have to try and get their money in with it. The basic problem with this when playing early in tournaments is two fold. Firstly, ace king is a very difficult hand to play when playing deep. Unless it develops into the nut straight or flush, most of the time it just ends up as a pair - and just a pair is usually not the best hand for playing 100bb+ pots with. The second key problem is that you don't actually need to accumulate many chips early - you are much better off trying to add a little bit to your stack and surviving until the antes kick in. Once the blinds become high relative to the stacks, you can start making lots of moves and building up a stack. It is worth noting that this strategy also leaves you with quite a tight reputation leading up to the antes - enabling you to steal much more easily at first. Ace king is never a massive favourite over any hand except lower ace x hands - and gambling in marginal spots, for big pots, early in a tournament is not a successful tournament strategy. This is not to say that you should not be playing pots early (hands like suited aces and connectors go hugely up in value to a skilled player early in tournaments, as these are the type of hands that can develop into monsters against the bad players at the start - many of whom will happily go broke with hands like top pair against your flushes and straights), more that you should be willing to fold ace king in the face of lots of action early. Ace king is a great hand to get all your chips in with when playing medium and short stacked poker. It fares well against basically every hand except aces (and by holding ace king you also limit the number of combinations of aces or kings out there - making your life a little simpler), and can enable you to have a solid shot at a double up. When playing deeper poker it's value radically changes, and it should not just be seen as a hand to get all your chips in with. JOIN BETFAIR POKER NOW

Ace king is never a massive favourite over any hand except lower ace x hands - and gambling in marginal spots, for big pots, early in a tournament is not a successful tournament strategy.

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