Bill Rini has put forth a "challenge". He has asked people to blog on a central theme. Thinking it is a good idea, I decided to pop forth my own entry. Think the game show Password when you read this:
The theme is: Expect nothing from a hand. Play each street based on the information at hand.
Bill speaks of how various people play aces. I liked that. Thus, I will go on a slight tangent. A K. Big Slick. It is a strong starting hand, especially when suited. It will give you TPTK, nut straights or flushes. People love this hand.
Some love it too much. They play it like they have A A or K K. They feel they are entitled to the pot and cry when all rags hit the flop. Time and time again they just can let the hand go. Soon they are broke and busted out of the tournament.
A K is nothing more than a drawing hand. A strong drawing hand. But the majority of the time it needs help and won't stand on its own like a pocket pair will. You really need to read the board and more importantly, the actions of your opponents.
A hand I played last night in the WWdN tournament is a good example. I am in MP and have A Ko. I raise 3xs the blinds. I believe only BadBlood called in the BB. Flop comes all undercards. Damn, totally missed me. I bet out around half the pot. Blood calls. Hmm...I do not like that. Turn is another rag. I bet around a third of the pot. I have a bad feeling I am either slightly ahead or way behind, though it is possible he is about to lay the Hammer on me. Blood raises. I have really no decision. I have to fold. I will still have some chips left so I muck the hand. Turns out Blood had flopped a set of 5s. I was waaaay behind.
Yet, so many people would have not only called, hoping to draw a card on the river. They will not even recognize the call on the flop tells them they are in trouble. They may even try to push their opponent off their hand and go all in.
I think I took the best approach. Raise pre-flop, make a continuation bet on the flop, and a turn bet. My turn bet could have been higher but it didn't matter. The only way I was going to win the hand was to keep firing. The mistake would have been to try and check it down.
Likewise, Blood played the hand well too. I like his turn raise. Some would just call hoping to get more out of their opponent. But the extra card could make his set vulnerable.
With A K, you cannot expect to win. The flop will determine where you are going. You need to determine where you are and whether you can push someone off their hand.