How many times have you looked at your cards only to see this beautiful hand looking back at you? Numerically, it's one of the best hands in poker. The odds of catching A K suited is 331 to 1, for A K off suit it's 110 to 1. The odds of catching pocket Aces is 220 to 1.
My question is why does a hand that is so rare, break so many hearts?
The answer may lie in the way that we play it.
Each person has their way of playing BS. I have to admit at times, I have fallen deep in love with Big Slick. Should you push? Should you make the standard 3x the BB raise? Should you raise 5 or 6x the BB to knock out all limpers?
I don't fault any of the above plays, but my philosophy has changed about the way that I look at BS. Below is the way that I typically play BIG SLICK in multis.
*** Short stacked (anything 30% below the average chip stack)
I push in any position. No questions asked. At this point the blinds are eating away at your stack and there are only 2 hands that dominate you.
*** Mid stack (anything around the average, I can cover more than 2/3 of my table)
This decision requires more thought. If I'm in the EP, I want to weed out any and all limpers. Based on the play of my table I might just make a raise a 3x the BB to get a feel for what type hands are out there. If I have a tight table I might try to take it down without a flop by making a larger raise. My motto has always been "I would rather win a small pot than to lose a large one". If I have any callers and miss the flop I have to rely on instinct and table history. But I have to keep in mind that my opponent had something that he felt good enough to risk more of his chips on and at this time I have Ace high.
In the LP of a raised pot, PROCEED WITH CAUTION! This is where the love of Big Slick can make you lose sleep. I will usually just call at a full table. You have to give your opponent credit for a hand. Even if it's a pair of 2s, he's going to beat you almost 60% of the time.
In the LP with 2 callers or less, I want to build this pot. I will raise this pot 3x the BB. I love it when the SB thinks that you are trying to steal and reraises you. When this happens, I almost always push.
*** Large stack (you are the big guy at your table)
The best position to be in, you can use your chip advantage to push people around. I will usually reraise any preflop raise. My goal is to put them all in. A high percentage of the time they are pushing with any Ace and as you know, Ax is dominated by Big Slick.
The key thing in each of these scenieros is to remeber that AK is not an unbeatable hand. If the flop doesnt hit you don't be afraid to fold and live to battle another day. Ace high is not going to win alot of pots.