What to Do When You Miss With Ace-King in Poker

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An Ace of Hearts and a King of Clubs, and stacks of casino chips arranged on a poker table.
BetMGM Apr 18, 2024, 3:12 AM

Ace-king has a possibly undeserved reputation as a tricky hand to play in live and online poker. Sure, it’s not as straightforward as pocket aces or kings, but it’s the second-strongest ace hand and one of the strongest poker hands overall, capable of raking in the profits when played right. The main trouble that beginner players run into is that they’re dazzled by that combination of two high cards, failing to realize that an ace and a king are worth air unless they connect with the board. Even a pair of twos will beat you if you miss the flop. At the same time, you have no reason not to bet when you find yourself with this hand. Maybe that’s why some players don’t enjoy Big Slick – it forces them out of their comfort zone, so they really have to play poker. The good news is that there are ways to turn a missed flop to your advantage or at least mitigate the risk when you’re playing Big Slick in poker. Let’s take a closer look.

How To Play Big Slick in Poker

To understand how to act when Big Slick misses the flop, you need a solid grasp of how to play ace-king in poker. First, you have a 29% probability of seeing an ace or king hit the flop when you’re holding ace-king. This means you’ll be ahead of an opponent approximately 30% of the time, even if they start with a pocket pair.

Opponents holding weaker hands (for example, ace-queen or lower) will be behind the whole time, and opponents with pocket pairs will be vulnerable to your c-bets if they see overcards come on the flop. These are already enough reasons for you to play Big Slick aggressively, with a view to winning through pure preflop aggression, outflopping them, or simply bluffing.

The basic guidelines with this heavy-hitting poker hand are to raise if you’re first to act, 3-bet if there’s a raise in front of you, and 4-bet if they 3-bet your raise. The general idea here is to grow the pot. Opponents with weaker dominated hands, such as ace-queen, king-queen, and so on, are highly likely to raise and call before the flop, which spells out big trouble for them if you connect with the board.

What to Do When You Miss the Flop With Ace-King

So what if you don’t connect, and the flop sees you holding the high card at best or at worst, air? There are three situations to consider.

The first situation is the most advantageous. Imagine a scenario in which you re-raised before the flop, you’re in position, and the flop is disconnected and dry. The flop comes with a queen of diamonds, 7 of hearts, and 4 of spades. You have six outs to make the top pair with the top kicker, which gives you enough equity to make semi-bluffing profitable. If you do make the top pair on the turn, you can fire away with three barrels.

On somewhat more but not super connected flops like 9-7-4 or jack-8-2, it can be correct to check-call check on the flop, and call if your opponent bets. This allows you to realize your equity and it’s still a good amount, with six outs to hit the top pair  for a fairly low price. Better yet, if your opponent checks back, you get to see the next street for free.

The third case is also the worst-case scenario. This is when the board is connected, but you can’t connect with it. For example, a flop like 8 of diamonds, 7 of diamonds, and 6 of diamonds has absolutely nothing to offer your ace and king. If you continue, your future is clear: you’re going to lose all the money you put into the pot. Get out of Dodge and fold.

Don’t Get Married to Your Poker Hand

Las Vegas is a place where a lot of people go to tie the knot, but one character you should never get married to is the attractive yet unreliable Big Slick. So why do so many beginner players have trouble letting go? Most likely, it’s because they get so attached to their strong preflop hand that they can’t face the facts after the flop. Don’t be like them. A great hand on one street can be junk the next. Adapt to each spot as the situation unfolds, and don’t feel like it’s a big deal to fold when it’s time to do so.

Don’t Get Married to Your Poker Hand

At the end of the day, the only way to play Big Slick more effectively is to play more poker hands. BetMGM’s mobile app gives you the chance to do that anytime, anywhere. Register to join in cash games with stakes to suit all player types and compete for prizes in daily, weekly, and monthly online poker tournaments. As a free bonus, you can explore a broad range of slots and table games for your entertainment between sessions. Think blackjack, craps, roulette, and baccarat, complete with live dealer variations. A whole new world of gaming awaits you at BetMGM.

Actress Vanessa Hudgens flipping casino chips next to the text "The King of Casinos"
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Our BetMGM editors and authors are casino experts with a wealth of knowledge of the online casino industry at all levels. Their coverage includes company news, game reviews, how-to instructional articles, strategy guides, and editorials showcasing BetMGM’s superior product and game library.

Our BetMGM editors and authors are casino experts with a wealth of knowledge of the online casino industry at all levels. Their coverage includes company news, game reviews, how-to instructional articles, strategy guides, and editorials showcasing BetMGM’s superior product and game library.