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Playing A-K in No-Limit Hold’em

When the money is deep

by Bob Ciaffone |  Published: Dec 25, 2009


A-K is the most powerful hold’em non-pair hand you can hold preflop. “The no-pair nuts” is one of its nicknames. (“Big slick” is another. “Walkin’ back to Houston” is a less-flattering Texas nickname.) In terms of overall results, big slick is about the equivalent of two jacks, meaning that only the three biggest pairs are better starting hands. Even though it is not as good as a pair in an all-in heads-up confrontation, it is a much better hand than most of the pairs when you do not know what your opponent has. The reasons are, it has a large advantage against all other hands that contain an ace, and only two other hands place it at a big disadvantage (aces and kings). Tournament players are fond of A-K, because the stack sizes relative to the blinds in all but the earliest stages of a tournament are such that you ...

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