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In no limit Texas hold ‘em poker tournaments, how you play AK against a raise can easily make you or break you. The size of your stack largely determines your play. If your stack is between two and five times the size of the pot, you generally want to raise all-in. You may take down the pot right away, which would be a nice pot for you, and if you get called, you're only in bad shape against KK or AA, two hands that are less likely because you hold an A and a K in your hand.
If the stacks are too deep to move in, you have a decision to make between calling and reraising. Against a player who will likely call a reraise with hands like AJ or KQ, reraising starts to look better. If you're going to be in bad position after the flop, you should be more willing to overbet and get all-in pre-flop to avoid having to play the hand out of position. Finally, AK is very different from AA. There are times you need to fold AK before the flop, sometimes before you even put a chip in. If you never fold AK before the flop, you're going to find yourself busted too often.
|Jennifer Mathes, Ph.D.|