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[Hand analysis] How do you play AK in the SB?

$0.05 NL - Holdem - 9 players
MP+2: 124.4 BB (VPIP: 39.13, PFR: 13.04, 3Bet Preflop: 0.00, Hands: 23)
CO: 101.4 BB (VPIP: 47.83, PFR: 0.00, 3Bet Preflop: 0.00, Hands: 23)
BTN: 139.4 BB (VPIP: 33.33, PFR: 0.00, 3Bet Preflop: 0.00, Hands: 21)
Hero (SB): 183.6 BB
BB: 39.4 BB (VPIP: 73.68, PFR: 42.11, 3Bet Preflop: 0.00, Hands: 19)
UTG: 121 BB (VPIP: 26.09, PFR: 13.04, 3Bet Preflop: 10.00, Hands: 23)
UTG+1: 58.8 BB (VPIP: 28.57, PFR: 0.00, 3Bet Preflop: 0.00, Hands: 7)
MP: 66.2 BB (VPIP: 13.33, PFR: 0.00, 3Bet Preflop: 0.00, Hands: 15)
MP+1: 27 BB (VPIP: 31.82, PFR: 0.00, 3Bet Preflop: 0.00, Hands: 22)
Hero posts SB 0.4 BB, BB posts BB 1 BB
Pre Flop: (pot: 1.4 BB) Hero has Kh Ac
UTG raises to 3 BB, fold, fold, fold, fold, fold, fold, Hero raises to 9 BB, BB raises to 39.4 BB (ALL IN), UTG calls 36.4 BB, Hero calls 30.4 BB
Flop : (118.2 BB, 3 players) 8s 9c 4c
Hero checks, UTG bets 59 BB, Hero calls 59 BB
Turn : (236.2 BB, 3 players) 9d
Hero checks, UTG bets 22.6 BB (ALL IN), Hero calls 22.6 BB
River : (281.4 BB, 3 players) Th
Hero mucks Kh Ac (One Pair, Nines)
Main Pot [118.2 BB]: (Pre 32%, Flop 23%, Turn 12%)
Side Pot [163.2 BB]: (Pre 39%, Flop 25%, Turn 12%)
BB shows Js As (One Pair, Nines)
Main Pot [118.2 BB]: (Pre 13%, Flop 7%, Turn 0%)
UTG shows Qs Qd (Two Pair, Queens and Nines)
Main Pot [118.2 BB]: (Pre 54%, Flop 69%, Turn 88%)
Side Pot [163.2 BB]: (Pre 61%, Flop 75%, Turn 88%)
UTG wins 267.4 BB
For the record, I've been playing poker for around a month in total and I've only played about 10k hands for real money so far. I played this hand 2 weeks ago, so I can't remember exactly what I was thinking at the time, but it was on my list of hands to review.
Things I could have done differently:
The biggest reason I'm posting this for analysis is I just simply don't know how to play AK. How often should you 3bet with it? How often should you just call? How often should you call a 4bet?
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Check-Calling 101

Full-disclosure: I copy pasted a lot of these examples from a check-calling COTW post on 2+2, but edited it to add more HH examples and math. Anything in italics was originally written by NJD77 from 2+2.
These posts are not meant to be encyclopedic, so let me know if you disagree with anything and why. Revisiting fundamental concepts is allowing me to reflect and reevaluate my own game, so I may continue to do similar posts where I elaborate on 2+2 COTWs. I’m not really sure what the target demographic is for these posts, so let me know if I need to do more or less explaining. The second half of this post explains concepts explained in the Matthew Janda Cardrunner’s video “You’re doing it wrong – part 1”. He explains it better than me, so I recommend you pick up a CR subscription if you haven’t already.
Check-calling is a very tricky line at the micros for a number of reasons:
Part 1 - Fundamental Check-Calling Spots
1. When a Villain offers us direct odds to draw to a hand that beats his range. Sometimes villains will just make horrible bet sizing errors when they are holding a clear strong value hand. If we can't check-raise because we don't think he will ever fold, and we're behind his range but have equity to make a check-call versus his bet size, then we should do it.
This doesn’t occur that often, but if we know villain has a top-pair hand he won’t fold, we can call a 15% pot bet with hands like an OESD just based on direct odds. This rarely happens, hence the amount of effort I put into this example.
2. When a villain offers us implied odds to draw to a hand that beats his range. Preferably we will have both direct and implied odds, but often we will find we only have implied odds. In my opinion, this occurs more often than example 1.
100bb effective stacks. A super tight villain raises to 3x from UTG. MP calls, the CO calls, and the SB calls. You call with 67s in the BB. The flop is 258r. You check, and the UTG raiser bets ~60% pot. It folds around to you. First let’s look at the UTG raiser’s range:
A tight player raised from UTG. He then cbets into 4 people. If you can’t tell already, I engineered this example to give him a super strong range. I think it would be reasonable to say his range is usually just {JJ, QQ, KK, AA}. Therefore, let’s evaluate our options when facing this cbet:
Raise – I think this is the worst option. You are stacking off 99% of the time when you raise, which is a pretty bad-news-Bernstein-bears situation when you have 8 outs. I shouldn’t need to do any math to prove that stacking off against an overpair with 7 high and an OESD is not a +EV play.
Fold – Probably the second best option. You have the worst hand, but obviously the downside to folding is that you are punting the equity you undoubtedly have.
Call – If you didn’t figure it out already from the title of this post, calling is the best option here. You aren’t getting direct odds to call, but we are getting pretty dank implied odds. Let’s do some math:
This tight villain is not folding his hand on a 9 or a 4. If we bink the turn, we are stacking him by the river. We know the following:
(1) After the preflop action, the pot size is 13.5BB.
(2) Villain cbets for 7.5bb.
(3) Villain has ~90bb left after this cbet.
(4) There are 46 possible turn cards, and 8 of them give you a straight.
Therefore, we can calculate the EV of calling:
On 8 turns, we win ~120bb (the pot, our call, and villain’s stack). On 38 turns, we win 0bb and will probably check/fold if villain bets huge and doesn’t give us the direct or implied odds to call again.
EV of Calling = ($ won when we bink) + ($ won when we miss) – (Price of the call)
EV of Calling = (Our call + pot size + villains remaining stack)(% we bink) + (0) – (Our call)
EV of Calling = (7.5BB +21bb + 90bb)(8/46) + (0)(38/46) – (7.5bb)
EV of Calling = ~13bb
We can also use this formula to calculate the break-even point. How much would villain have to cbet with his overpair for calling to be –EV?
EV of Calling = ($ won when we bink) + ($ won when we miss) – (Price of the call)
0 = (X+21bb + 90bb)(8/46) + (0)(38/46) – (X)
X = 23.4
This calculation shows how powerful implied odds can be. Even if villain would have cbet for 23.3BB (into a pot of 13.5bb), we can still call with only 8 outs. However, this entire example relies heavily on the fact that we are stacking this villain every single time we make our straight. Do not overvalue your implied odds and start chasing draws against wide ranges, as this is a quick way to lose money. Furthermore, in this example we could actually calculate our implied odds because we know that villain only has one type of hand in his range and we know exactly what he is doing with it. Usually, implied odds are impossible to actually calculate mathematically so they rely on estimation and assumptions.
3. When boards are dry and we are in a WA/WB spot, villain is not a double barreller, and does stab at pots when checked to. Often we get no value when we are ahead and value town ourselves when behind if we bet a flop. We can therefore opt for a check-call, but only if we're sure our villain isn't the type to bet/bet/bet if he reads our action as weak.
The button raises and we flat AT in the BB. The flop is the legendary A72r. Let’s review our options:
Donk - This would be pretty bad because most villains are cbetting this board with their entire range. If villain is cbetting hands like 55 or KQ, then this is very good for us and we shouldn’t give him the chance to fold them.
Check-Raise - On such a dry board, check-raising will probably confuse our villain. He may fold hands like A9 that would have given us another street of value. By check-raising, we prevent him from double-barreling with KQ in an attempt to get us to fold a hand like 99. Therefore, this option is pretty bad.
Check-fold - We have top pair. Our pair can’t get any topper. It’s pretty clear why this is bad.
Check-call - Surprise surprise, once again this is the best option. We allow our opponent to value-own himself with worse Ax and we get maximum value from our hand.
4. When we are multiway - implied odds always rise when we are multiway. The important thing to note here is our relative position, and we don't want to be check-calling if we're a long way from closing the action. The closer we are to closing the action, the more inclined we should be to check-call. I stole the following example from the COTW post because it works pretty well:
Poker Stars, $0.10/$0.25 No Limit Hold'em Cash, 7 Players Poker Tools Powered By Holdem Manager - The Ultimate Poker SoftwareSuite. View Hand #10108022
Hero (SB): $25 (100 bb) BB: $30.35 (121.4 bb) MP1: $34.27 (137.1 bb) MP2: $23.95 (95.8 bb) MP3: $34.28 (137.1 bb) CO: $30.84 (123.4 bb) BTN: $26.76 (107 bb)
Preflop: Hero is SB with 9s Ts MP1 raises to $1, MP2 folds, MP3 calls $1, CO calls $1, BTN calls $1, Hero calls $0.90, BB folds
Flop: ($5.25) 5d Jh 8s (5 players) Hero checks, MP1 bets $4.25, MP3 folds, CO calls $4.25, BTN folds, Hero calls $4.25
Turn: ($18) Qd (3 players) Hero checks, MP1 checks, CO checks
River: ($18) Jc (3 players) Hero bets $19.75 and is all-in, MP1 folds, CO calls $19.75
Results: $57.50 pot ($2 rake) Final Board: 5d Jh 8s Qd Jc Hero showed 9s Ts and won $55.50 ($30.50 net) MP1 mucked and lost (-$5.25 net) CO showed Ac Jd and lost (-$25 net)
In this scenario, we’re getting really good direct odds AND implied odds. Think about what happens when one of the villains has QJ and hits 2-pair on the turn. The MP player bets 80% pot into 4 players, so he usually has a strong value hand and this increases our implied odds.
Bad Situations to Check-Call (NJD77)
Part 2 - Advanced Check-Calling Spots
If you’re a beginning uNL player, then it might be good to skip the following section and come back to it when you feel more comfortable with fundamental concepts like equity. The following examples are similar to examples from a Matthew Janda video that was directed towards SSNL players. I’m going to try to paraphrase his examples
Let’s evaluate a 9h 6d 4d board in which we opened the SB and the BB calls.
Which hands make good bets? Value hands that retain equity well and bluffs.
Value bet hands: JJ, 98, K6, etc.
Bluffs: T8s, Kd8h, Ah5h. These hands all have robust equity in the form of draws or multiple backdoors.
But what do you do with AK/AQ in this spot? These are hands that most players cbet on this board every single time. And this isn’t a huge mistake, as cbetting these hands is undoubtedly +EV. However, check-calling can be MORE +EV.
When our villain calls in the BB, he can have a very wide range of hands. Therefore, by cbetting with AK on a 9h 6d 4d board, we get our opponents to fold hands like K7. Very few hands like this that we beat are calling our cbet, and this is especially important OOP. So what happens when we check-call?
Some uNL villains will just auto-bet with KJ when checked to because they assume you’re giving up. We have these hands absolutely crushed. KJ has 3 outs (jacks) and 2 tainted outs (kings). If our opponent bets the flop he is checking back a lot of turns, allowing us to realize our showdown value. If we check-call and the turn is an A or K, then we can win a big pot against villain’s A7/KJ-type hands. In this scenario, you’re getting 3 streets of value from a hand that might have folded the flop had you cbet. Or, some of the time, villain may bet the flop with QJ and decide to barrel on an A or K.
Potential Issues: If we only check/call as the preflop raiser in these spots with hands like AK/AQ, then we can be exploited pretty easily. Against a player who won’t notice this and adjust, we don’t need to worry about balance. Against a thinking player, we can balance our range by sometimes check-calling with strong hands. I’m a fish when it comes to balance though so input here might be needed.
Similar example:
We open the CO with AcKh, BU calls. Flop is 8c 5c 3d. We should check-call. We keep dominated hands in villain’s range and give ourselves a better chance of realizing our showdown value. We don’t want to have to fold to a raise. We can bink a runner runner club sometimes.
To summarize, here are good reasons to check/call as the preflop raiser:
If you got this far, thanks for reading!
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My attempt at a new player guide (beginner's guide). I did my best to collect a large number of resources & essential concepts to help beginners improve. Let me know what you think.

I felt like the new player guide could be better, so I put this guide together to hopefully make the learning path a little easier for new players. This is going to be mainly a collection of links to outside resources vs. straight exposition from me. I will rely very heavily on 2+2 because it's the nuts. If you disagree with anything I say, or if you think I should add a resource, please let me know. I will not be offended.

Important Starting Concepts

1st Level: Your cards
2nd Level: What does your opponent have
3rd Level: What does your opponent think you have
4th Level: What does your opponent think you think he has
5th level: What does your opponent think you think he thinks you have, etc.
At the micros, your opponents will almost all be level 1 thinkers. Don't get tricky; just play ABC poker. See Brian's comment down below for more discussion.
Here is a good example of what you should aim your thought processes to be.

2+2 Anthologies

This is just a start of what 2+2 has to offer. Go to the site and click on the stickied threads for each subforum to discover a wealth of more information covering such things as Sit N Go tournaments, multi-table tournaments, pot limit omaha, and more.
These threads are for NLHE as that's the most common game, but most of these basic concepts will apply to almost all poker games.


There are SO many good poker books out there. I have read a bunch, but that only represents a fraction of what's available. Here are what I think are super helpful books:
Now, I don't encourage or condone pirating, but if you are so inclined, you may be able to find pdf versions of some of these books here.

HUD Software

If you're going to be playing online with any sort of seriousness, using a heads-up display is tremendously useful and almost a necessity. The two best options are Holdem Manager and Poker Tracker 3. I am partial to HM, as I feel the software and interface have surpassed PT3. They both offer free trials, so maybe see what works for you.
Once you get your HUD established, you'll need to pick which stats. I would start with the following:
and once you are comfortable with understanding those, you can start adding more such as:
There are plenty more stats that are very helpful, but don't go too crazy. It's easy to overwhelm yourself with info, and there are plenty of high stakes guys that only use a barebones hud.
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Texas Holdem Poker Overview

Online Bitcoin Texas Holdem Overview
Texas Holdem is one of the most popular variants of poker and has fascinated players for many years. The history of Texas Holdem is full of intrigue, mystery and full of interest. The popularity of this game has continued to grow and players are flocking from all over the world to get a piece of Texas Holdem poker.
In Texas holdem, players are dealt two face-down cards. Afterwards, each player gets a chance to exercise his betting options. Next, three cards are dealt simultaneously on the table for all players to share. This is called the flop, and it is followed by another round of betting. A fourth card, called the turn, is then dealt, and it too is followed by a round of betting. One final community card called the river is dealt followed by a final round of betting. When all bets have concluded, there is a showdown, in which the highest ranking hand in play wins the pot. Visit our hand rankings page for an overview of poker hand rankings. For more Poker Games
The History of Texas Holdem
The invention of Texas Holdem is unclear but Robstown, Texas is the official birthplace of the game as declared by the Texas State Legislature. This poker variant is believed to have started sometime in the early 20th century. After the game gained popularity throughout Texas, it was taken to Las Vegas in 1967 by Texas natives. After its initial introduction to Vegas, the game was only offered at the Golden Nugget Casino. This casino did not draw in many high profile players so the game did not receive much publicity until 1969 when Texas Holdem poker was made available at the Dunes Casino. In 1971, the directors of the World Series of Poker decided to feature no limit Texas Holdem as the Main Event tournament and Holdem has been played in the Main Event ever since. The popularity of Texas Holdem surged during the 2000s because of its exposure in literature, the internet and television. The popularity of this game can also be credited to its combination of simplicity and complexity. The structure and rules of Texas Holdem can be easily learned while allowing for a complex interaction of strategies. Currently, Texas Holdem one of the most prominent poker variants in online casinos, bitcoin casinos and U.S. casinos.
What Makes Texas Holdem Fascinating
For many players, there simply is no substitute for a rollicking game of Texas Holdem poker. This game first captivated the public's attention in the 60s, and it's global popularity has swelled since. The widespread appeal of this game is owed in part to the simplicity and entertainment value inherent in it. Players are tasked with forming the best 5 card hand possible. It's a simple proposition, but mastering this game certainly takes tremendous insight, practice, and poker smarts. The games take place in an interactive and wildly entertaining arena. Skill, strategy and luck play their part in determining the outcome of Texas Holdem showdowns. For players though, there is but one reality: Texas Holdem variants reign supreme. The game can be enjoyed by players of any bankroll, both low rollers and high-rollers alike. Thanks to the inclusion of pot limit, fixed limit and no limit Holdem, everyone scores with this feature rich attraction. And then there's the psychological aspect of the game: bluffing! The art of maintaining a poker face against overwhelming odds is certainly an enviable characteristic. But that's what it takes to rise to the top and become the crème de la crème of Texas Holdem poker. The art of the bluff is crucial in Texas Holdem and because of this, players sometimes spend years just perfecting their bluffing skill. Professional Hold'em players prepare for their tournaments by studying the subtle tells of their opponents, from the movement of their eyes to the way they hold their cards. This bluffing preparation has gained attention from poker players and fans from all over the world as it truly pushes the game of Texas Holdem into the realm of art instead of a simple game of poker.
The Use of Probability in Texas Holdem
One of the most important skills that players can use in Texas Holdem is probability. There are many players who get into the game without understanding how to calculate the odds of completing their hand. Players may get lucky every now and then but more often than not they will lose if they do not know the probability of filling their hand. An easy way to calculate the odds of completing a hand is to compare the number of cards that are needed to complete the hand to the number of unknown cards. As an example, if a player needs to complete a flush and already has 4 cards that are suited, the number of unknown cards is 46. In addition, because the player has 4 suited cards and there are 13 cards in a single suit, there are 9 possible cards that could be used to complete the player's hand. This means that the player's chance of filling his or her flush is about 19%. These odds get worse when the hands of other players are taken into account as these players could hold some of the needed cards because these cards are completely unavailable. When players understand the odds in Texas Holdem then they know when to play more tightly and are able to more easily recognize when to place a bet. Another important consideration that players should take into account is their starting hand. The strength of starting hands will determine how the player will proceed in the game. In many cases, players will not be a dealt strong starting hand and therefore should not get into the game. The probability for being dealt various Texas Holdem starting hands is as follows:
Pocket pair: 6% Suited cards: 24% Non-paired and non-suited cards: 71% Ace/King: 0.3% Ace/Ace: 0.5% Suited Ace/King, King/Queen, Queen/Jack or Jack/10: 1% Ace/Ace, King/King, Queen/Queen, Jack/Jack or 10/10: 2% Suited Jacks or higher: 2% Suited 10s or higher: 3% Connected and suited cards: 3.9% Connected 10s or higher: 4.8% Any pocket cards with rank of Queen or higher: 5% Any pocket cards with rank of Jack or higher: 9% Any pocket cards with rank of 10 or higher: 14% Any connected cards: 15.7% Any pocket cards with rank of 9 or higher: 20.8% Non-suited or connected cards with at least 1 card between 2 and 9: 53.4%
These probabilities show that premium starting hands are rare and players should expect to fold more often than placing a bet or a raise. A mix of calculated poker plays, tactics and strategies form the bedrock of any successful poker player.
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Whether or not to make a post-flop continuation bet after you have been the pre-flop aggressor is one of the first multi-layered decisions poker players are faced with. Several factors should come Continuation-Betting — Part I by Michael Piper | Published: Mar 01, 2011 Consequently, your most common situation is seeing the flop as the preflop raiser in a heads-up or three-way pot, in One seemingly simple concept in No-Limit Texas Hold’em which tends to get a large amount of discussion is continuation betting. For those unfamiliar with the term a continuation bet (c-bet) is a bet by the pre-flop raiser on the flop. The term refers to this aggressive player before the flop continuing their aggression after the flop. The continuation bet is a core strategy in Texas Holdem poker. If you raise before the flop, follow it up with another bet after the flop. Always play as if you're holding Southwest Airlines, Google, or Microsoft. Know what I mean? If you want to play the continuation bet strategy, you got to be representing the flop! Continuation betting is pretty common nowadays in no limit Texas Hold’em, so much actually that it’s losing its distinction. Players tend to call bets on the flop without having anything just to get to 4th street (the Turn card).

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