Fold AK preflop, just fold it

by ~ May 18th, 2008. Filed under: poker.

Meh, sometimes I don’t take my own advice.

I’m on a new site, trying to build another bankroll from freerolls again. I’ve played a few but they don’t run them too often. Best chance so far, two weeks ago I was in mid-pack with 75 or so left, top 50 get some cash. But, I had to go to run an errand. Came back, having blinded out in 59.

Today I was doing not quite as well. When there was 66 or so I was about 45. I decided I should fold almost everything except for good steal attempts or catching a good hand from the big blind. Was slowly being chipped down, but still 45 or so out of 54 when I get AK in mid position, new table, but three people behind me are sitting out. I couldn’t bring myself to fold, couldn’t bring myself to limp, so I shoved. Really big stack in the small blind folds, big blind with a big stack as well calls with TQo. I was ahead, but marginally. He filled a 4 flush with his ten and I was gone in 53rd place.

Very stupid play on my part when the bubble was so important to me. Mind you, ITM was only worth $1 so I don’t know how far I could get with that, but still, given how important ITMing was for me, given the new table where no one had seen me play, and given the big stacks in the blinds who could call with little damage to their stack sizes, it was a bad play. I just couldn’t talk myself into laying down AK when I have a short stack.


Over time one develops natural poker reactions. One such reaction is to always, always, open shove AK when you’re short stacked, especially if the table is short (ie. less than 9 players or you have sitters as I did). Well, always, there are exceptions. One is when the bubble is important, like a satellite where it doesn’t matter what place you finish because the top 9, 25, 50 or whatever players get the same thing. Or something similar where just getting ITM is important to you, like when I satellited into a $75 tournament and just wanted to cash. And especially if there are others who have fewer chips than you and who are likely to go out if you just fold,

The more you play, the more of these reactions you develop. The thing is, the more-more you play, the more you take even more aspects into consideration and these reactions become tempered by the additional information. That’s all part of the developmental process.


At the same time, I’m aware of my impatience with MTTs. Part of my inability to lay down AK was lack of patience, and it showed in another tourney that I was playing at the same time. This other one was a $11 private tourney with some 80 runners. I did some stealing, some aggressive play early on and had a stack. Short stack early shove, person to my right with chips shoves, I shove my QQ. Person to my right had AA, and we both hit a set on the flop. I was down to just under 10 BBs and went into impatient/turbo tourney mode, shoving A5s from mid with no callers, but next hand shoving AT from UTG+1 and getting two callers, one with KK and I was done.

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