1. Scare away as many players as you can before the flop.
2. Take control of the board and action.
3. Find out where you’re at in the hand.
Even if Drew (or anyone else) came back over the top of me after my pre-flop raise, I’d be okay. Because then I could put my opponent on aces or kings, muck my Big Slick, and live to see another hand without catching a “bad beat.”
So, play AK aggressively when you’ve got good positioning, and back up your pre-flop raise with a post-flop raise, even if you’ve hit nothing on the board. Of course, you can’t play Big Slick like this in every position. This is simply how you play it with good positioning.
How to Win With Big Slick in Early Position
Let’s discuss how to win when you’re dealt Big Slick (Ace, King) in an early position. First, let me clarify what is meant by the term “early position”. If you’re in an early position, it usually means you’re one of the first three players to the LEFT of the dealer. Of course, if you’re small blind, that means you’re almost last to act before the flop, but first to act AFTER the flop.
If you’re big blind, that means you’re last to act pre-flop, but second to act after the flop. And last but not least, if you’re the THIRD player to the left, that means you are the FIRST to act before the flop, and third to act after the flop. This position is also known as “under the gun”.
Ok. Enough with the definitions. Re-read those four above paragraphs if you’re confused. Otherwise, let’s dive into the strategies.
As we discussed a few days ago, Big Slick is a “monster” hand that most players pray for, BUT it can actually be a TERRIBLE hand for you if you don’t know what you’re doing. It can be terrible if…
1. You go “all in” (or bet a substantial pile of chips) before the flop, but then don’t catch anything. Or… 2. You catch an ace or king on the flop, bet a lot of chips, but then get run down by another player who gets a better hand.
Since even a pair of DEUCES can beat Big Slick by itself, I recommend that you don’t go all-in with Big Slick before the flop. It’s just too risky. Because there are so many hands that can beat you. Going all-in with Big Slick pre-flop is the equivalent to saying, “Hey, I’m not that confident I can win this game, so I’m going to HOPE to get LUCKY and risk all my chips on the CHANCE that an ace or king hits, or that my ace high wins.”
Obviously that’s not ALWAYS the case, but for the most part it’s pretty accurate. The second scenario, getting run down by another player even though you hit your ace or king, can be EXTREMELY frustrating.
For example, let’s say you’re holding Big Slick and the flop comes out A, K, 5. You’re obviously excited because you flopped top two pair, but what if Marty, that new guy who just learned how to play Hold‚Äôem a couple weeks ago, is holding a pair of fives?
Chances are; he’s going to clean you out for all your chips. Your strategy then should be to DECREASE the chances that someone at the table (like Marty) is going to get lucky on the flop. And you do that by making sure they don’t even SEE the flop in the first place, by making a pre-flop raise or strong bet.
The ultimate goal should be to create “heads-up” action before the flop when you get dealt Big Slick. Force players like Marty to fold before the flop hits. That will prevent the “bad beats” and allow you to focus on a single opponent. The most difficult way to win with Big Slick is if you’re in an early position AND you don’t catch anything good on the flop.