How to Play AK "Big Slick"

Ace King, commonly referred to as “Big Slick”, is one of the most understood and incorrectly played hands in No Limit poker. Players get so excited when they get big slick but don’t know how to properly play it and win.

Odds With Ace King

You should know that when going heads up against a pocket pair when you hold AK you are only 50/50 to win. In most instances you will be a slight underdog and against lower pairs you will be closer to 50/50 depending on your suits.

Why Do You Lose With AK?

The top reasons so many players lose their entire stack with AK is because they improperly call of their chips with the hand. Ace king is a powerful hand if played properly during pre-flop action. If you play AK properly you won’t even seen the flop.

Your primary goal with AK should be to re-raise and take down any pre-flop raises with Ace King. You are losing with AK because you are probably just calling a raise or you are not re-raising the proper amount.  Re-raising another persons raise gives you much more power to bluff after the flop if you don’t hit.  This is crutial in high stakes internet poker where pre-flop pots can reach in the tens of thousands.

How Much Should I Raise with AK?

You need to pay attention to your opponents chip stacks to know how much to raise. Remember if your opponent raised before you bet you want to re-raise just enough to where they will fold and not where they will call. You don’t want to raise too much as to where if you get re-raise all-in that you can’t fold. There is no shame in folding AK and we advice it if you get pushed all-in and the situation doesn’t warrant a call.

Quick Example

You hold AK suited and you are in mid position. For this example lets assume you are in a tournament and you have 1,000 chips and so do most of your opponents. A player in front of you raises 90 chips and you get one or two callers in front of you.

In the situation above you want to go ahead and raise large enough to get that player to fold so you raise to 375 chips. This puts them in an awkward position. If they have Jacks or tens they know you could very easily have queens or kings. Even if they do put you on AK they know they will still have to outrun you.

In most cases your opponents will fold and you will pick up nice pot without too much risk. If you get re-raised all in you could put them on a prime pair and your play should be to fold. You don’t want to call all-ins with AK.

Don’t Make Them Pot Committed

If a player is short stacked they are going to call your all in with their mid pair. You are forcing them into calling and you are going to get called. As we said your AK isn’t that strong in all-in situations. Once again always pay attention to your opponents stack sizes.

Don’t go Too Big

If you bet too big with AK the only hands that will call you is AA or KK. If you bet too big to protect your hand then you will end up losing to bigger pairs.

Quick Recap for AK Play

1.  Your goal is to get them to fold
2.  Don’t call all-ins with AK
3.  Raise enough to get them to fold
4.  Don’t go too big where only AA or KK will call
5.  Pay attention to opponents chips stacks
6.  Folding AK is ok


Ace King is a great hand when played properly.  The hand gives you security to bet aggressively and take down large preflop pots.  With this strategy there should be no more whining about losing with Ace King. :)

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