AK: All-in or fold?


Last weekend I was in late stages of a tournament at my hometown casino. It was the Saturday deepstack, $250 buy-in with 15,000 starting chips, with about 45 entrants. Grand prize was about $3400 and the top 5 players paid.

There were 12 players left. The following numbers are estimates. I have a somewhat-above average stack, about 65,000 chips. Blinds are 500 ante / 1500 / 3000. I am in late position. An early position player, who has about 35,000 chips, goes all-in, and everyone after him folds. I hadn't played a hand for probably the last 6-8 hands. I was bleeding away my antes (or so it seemed to me, even though I still had plenty of chips). I looked down, praying to find either AA or a trash hand I could easily fold. But, much to my chagrin, I was holding AK off-suit.

What should I do: fold, or go over-the-top all-in?

I'll post hand outcome, later. Thanks.


  1. I think moving all in is the best play here as a general situation. With a stack of $65,000, calling will commit just over half of our chips. We really can't call and then later fold if some one else comes over the top. So, being committed, I think moving all in makes some sense. That being said, if there were a really loose gambling type, I might think about calling and hoping to lure that person in. But, again, by deciding to continue, we are committing ourselves to this pot and we need to see every card through the river. So, if I make some exotic play like calling, I am moving all in on 100% of the flops. Honestly, I hate decisions like that, so moving all in prevents me from having a hard decision on a flop I miss.

    I think there is a solid chance that the $35,000 stack is moving all in with a pocket pair. However, somewhat less likely is that he has A-A or K-K. Those hands might not opt for an over-bet here. So, we may well be behind. But all the dead money - and the possibility we are up against a hand like A-Q that we dominate - give us plenty of reason to gamble here even though we might be slightly behind. But you need to gamble at some point to make it into the money.

    With 12 players left, were there two tables of six? If so, being up against A-Q or A-J go up in possibility and you can absolutely not ever fold A-K here (even if, like me, you hate the hand).

    If you were significantly better than most or all player left - and you weren't prone to overestimating your own skills, there might be a point to finding a better spot. But this seems like a pretty darn good spot so I'd go with it. ALL IN BABY!!!!

    Hope this went well for you.

  2. @allin67 I agree with you. But then again your user name is allinn lol

  3. You are 7 from the money, your actual stack does not guarantee you to be paid, you have 22 bb and you hold AK. If there is 2 shoves before you of stacks as big as yours is the only situation where I could find a fold here (as you are probably sharing outs and diminishes your equity). Here everything else than re-jamming is burning money.
    Oh and don't be result oriented you have to win flips and setups in tournament.

  4. I agree with everyone here. Over the top. This is a spot where you need to be playing to win, not survive. If you bust, so be it. Make the right decisions and let the chips fall where they may. Hopefully you came out ahead here.

  5. Hand outcome: I stammered a bit before acting, as I was anticipating a bad outcome (I am cynic at heart). Then, I shoved all-in. The blinds folded and we raced heads-up. I figured my opponent was holding a pocket pair, unlikely to be A or K. As expected, he had pocket TT.

    I lost the race.

    My chips were deflated down to about 20,000 or about 10BB. I went all-in a few hands later with suited A2 (maybe not a good decision?), lost that race, and busted out in 12th place.

    Thanks for your comments. I know that you have to have some well placed luck, a couple of races in your favor, and good timing, to win a tournament. But I still feel better after venting my hand on this board!

  6. @Goodshoe - And that's part of it. Good choice in shoving. You win that race you're sitting nicely to really go on the attack and try to take down the whole thing. :)

  7. Easy Shove :)

  8. Unless you think he's never shoving AQ or AJ here with 11 1/2 BB's. Actually Looking at Propokertools if you think he's still shoving a very tight range of say 99+ and AQ+, your an underdog - although the added blinds/antes help compensate for the slight < 1% negative immediate EV. In general we're reshoving unless you believe his range to be very very tight still... Considering a decent amount of players will shove with any suited ace there, or any semi decent ace along with their pocket pairs, there's a little added dead money, and we won't be eliminated by this player we should be shoving here relatively easily with AK.

  9. Shove

  10. Even my grandma would have called that.

  11. @JG1983 see you at the 50k guaranteed :) nitt

  12. @Goodshoe yes you do but donking off your stack w/A 2 isn't a race

  13. @Goodshoe....I am by know means a pro, but do feel I have a good handle on my game. If you are really in the "zone" than I think you call with AK with hopefully a little luck your hand hits the flop. If you are playing to win the tournament you fold and wait for another hand which will come within a minutes time. No one at the table knows what you are playing! Good luck!

  14. This is what I see all the time. People holding AK and think they got the nuts...and how do they justify folding AK?
    To answer your question correctly, I'll first ask you exactly what hand did you put him on and what kind of action behind you did you expect?
    You said he had pocket Tens, so is AK a loser to pocket Tens? Yes. So you shoved anyway. I guess you didn't get lucky. If you want to play a game of luck, don't waste time on strategy.
    No way I would intsashove right there...and I'd be ashamed if my grandmother did.