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It is among the strongest hands but also among the most feared of all Texan poker players. Many inexperienced players play it badly and report serious losses or eliminations from tournaments. Let’s see some advice on how to play this hand, also known as Anna Kournikova.


It is a “monstrous” hand, second only to pocket Aces, Kings or Queens (ie AA, KK, or QQ). It is in practice the fourth-best starting hand possible and takes on an even more important value if the Ace and Kappa are of the same color, that is, both of spades, hearts, clubs, or diamonds. Yet it is not always a hand that gives us satisfaction, indeed, it is often a reason for swearing and regrets. With some tricks, however, we can try to optimize profits and reduce the risk of losing our chips.

First of all, AK is not yet a well-defined point but only a project. Even a pair of 2 is more successful in the long run when played in heads up or showdown against our poor Kournikova.
In this article, we want to highlight guidelines for playing AK pre-flop in different situations.

One of the nicest things about the AK hand is the pre-flop pressure we can put on our opponents. Unless any of our opponents have AA or KK, our chances of winning are at least equivalent to a Coin Flip in the worst-case scenario (remember that two overcards basically have about 50% of winning on a lower pocket pair). One of the key aspects to remember, however, is that we will flock a couple roughly once in three. Since there will be more times when we will not flop anything, it is essential to immediately take control of the hand being played.

When to raise

In no-limit mode, you have to raise at least in 70-80% of the cases in which you are the first to speak or speak after some player who has made a limp. That is, valid both in early, in middle and late position. Probably we have the best hand and by raising we get two important desirable results: we win the hand immediately or we fill a plate for which we have good hopes and we have excellent chances to make our own. How much to raise? At least 4 times the Big Blind is recommended. The more the opponents are losers the more we need to increase the amount of our raise.

When to call

Rarely preflop (basically 20-30% where no raise is made) when someone before us has already placed an important raise. Many players become shy with AK because they remember losing too many big pots against three of a kind or two pair or because they don’t know how to behave if at least one pair is not flocked. But you don’t have to change our poker strategy based on past bad beats or remembering missed opportunities.
By just calling with Asso-Kappa, in practice, we are throwing a good opportunity in the wind in case you flop a pair or a good draw (flush or straight). The biggest mistake that is made by calling only when you have AK, is that you allow yourself less important to ‘buy luck’ and therefore become stronger than ours without having spent practically nothing.
An alternative reason to call when you have AK can only be an attempt to set a trap and eliminate some opponent or, better yet, mix and vary your game a bit.

When to counter-raise

It is an important decision. You have to consider your position. the image of yourself that you have at the table (even if you play online), the general progress of the game and, of course, what we know about our opponents. The general rule, however, says that if the pot has already been increased 3-4 times the Big Blind before the action reaches us then we must re-raise the starting raise by 2-3 times in 60-70% of cases, regardless of the number of players already involved in the hand. If in addition to the raise there was also a counter raise, then probably the right thing to do is Call because you could find yourself fighting against a pair of Q, K, or A.

If we raise and reraise someone, we have 3 options: fold, call or raise again. The fold should hardly ever be considered (only when there is an all-in or a large stack would it force us to go all-in). If a conservative player makes an important reraise then, especially in cash games, one can seriously think about leaving the pot to the opponent. In the best-case scenario, in fact, one can expect to be in a coin-flip situation against a lower pair or, even worse, an overpair. There is therefore no reason to risk the entire stack in a cash game in such a situation.
The exception to what has just been said can be represented by the situation in which you have a good reading of the opponent or a stack much higher than that of our opponent and it is suspected that he is in steal.

All of these rules also apply quietly to multi-table tournaments. Indeed, if the blinds are very high then the AK hand in tournaments must be played even more aggressively. In the early stages of the tournament, however, there is no reason to risk much in a single hand which, even if won, will be of little importance for the final position in the tournament.

Some mistakes that can be made when playing the AK hand: being impatient, not enduring any bluffs, not knowing how to get out of the game (falling in love with one’s cards is said), being led to make useless and too legible bluffs from the opponent.

In mathematics, the variance is a quantity that measures the dispersion of the values of a sample or a probability distribution. In other words, it is the difference between the measured values and the expected values.
For example, let’s say you play heads or tails with a friend. When the coin falls side down you win, face side, you lose. So you have a 1 in 2 chance of winning, a probability of 50% or 0.5. In theory, if you make 10 throws, you should win 5 times. The game takes place and on the 10 throws you have won only 3 times, a difference of 40% compared to the expected result.
It is this difference between the number of victories you should have obtained and the number actually obtained which is called the variance.

Since poker is a strategy game in which chance plays a very important role, variance, therefore, has a very significant impact and can materialize in multiple ways.

Bad beat

It is probably the materialization of the most known variance in poker because it is also the most brutal. The bad beat occurs when you stack before the river, your opponent follows with a hand much weaker than you but who could still win and touches the card which makes you lose all your stack river.

example 1: You stack preflop with AA, your opponent follows with JJ and beats you at the showdown by touching three of a kind or other.

The setup

Less obvious than bad beat, set up occurs when you have a very strong hand and your opponent shows an even stronger hand. What can be confusing is the fact that when one is the victim of a setup, one can always wonder if one could not have been able to lie down before and if the set up was not, somehow avoidable.

example: You stack with QQ on a QTT flop and your opponent calls with TT.

Bad timings

The difference between a good run and a bad run is not necessarily limited to the cases mentioned above. It sometimes happens, for a relatively long period, to chain bad timings. Bluffs that pass habits and that are normally profitable do not pass, ditto for hero calls. This form of variance is even more complicated to manage because it can encourage us to question an entire strategy when it is sometimes only a bad series.

Whatever the forms of the variance of which a poker player can be the victim, there are several strategies to adopt to limit the impact of this variance in your game.


Let’s go back to our coin flip example, but this time you flip the coin a thousand times. It will then be very unlikely to have a 40% difference by winning only 300 times in a thousand.
If we bring this example back to poker, it means that the more you play a higher number of hands, the more the variance will be smoothed and the probability respected. To make as many hands as quickly as possible, you have to play several tables at the same time. This may seem difficult, but be aware that professional players can play between 6 and 16 tables simultaneously or even more for certain extreme cases.
To make it easier to multi-table, there are computer tools called trackers, which allow you to display the stats of your opponents as real.

Choose your tournaments well

If you play in a tournament, the choice of formats and fields will have a significant impact on the variance to which you will be subject.

The more players registered for the tournament, the more difficult it will be to seek a well-rewarded place. Admittedly, prize pools are often very attractive, but the probability of winning it is so much lower, even for an excellent player, that you can wait a very long time before seeing your bankroll take off. The ideal is to mix the fields by playing one or two big tournaments next to several small tournaments.
The faster the format, the faster the actual stacks are small, and the faster you will have to stack to avoid dying (Recommended article: When to stack) and therefore suffer the law of chance more often. Again, the rule of thumb is to mix formats between fast tournaments (Turbo or semi-turbo) and slower tournaments (deep stacks).

Mix your strategy

The more your strategy is focused on aggressiveness, the more you will be subject to big swings. By varying your game, by balancing your way of playing, i.e. playing your strong hands aggressively at times and passively at other times like your bluffs, in addition to masking your game, you will limit the impact of the variance in your results since you will less often commit a large part of your chips.
Do not become too passive either because there you will simply become a loser, whatever the variance you undergo.

Finally, remember that the variance can also be positive and that our brain tends to retain only its negative impacts. To avoid being “result-oriented”, review your hands cold with an objective eye to prevent a difficult period from sweeping you towards tilt.

Poker, since its origins have been undergoing modifications in order to find ways of playing that, are more fun, exciting, or require greater control by players. This has resulted in a wide repertoire of poker modalities and types in which the characteristics vary and which are more or less welcomed by the players.

The most popular for more than a decade is Texas Holdem, but almost all types of poker are common among the offer of poker rooms and it is worth knowing the characteristics of each one to find the one that best suits our tastes.

Texas Holdem Poker

The most played in the world among all types of poker. Each player receives 2 cards of their own and then up to 5 common cards are placed on the table. The player will be able to use his own 2 cards and the 5 common ones to elaborate the best possible move. There are 4 betting rounds that are preflop (only with your own cards), Flop (with 3 community cards on the table), Turn (with 4 community cards on the table) and River (with 5 community cards on the table).


Texas Holdem plays tournaments and events every year with thousands of participants like the WSOP, in which millionaire prizes are distributed. Texas Holdem tables are available in almost any small casino, and it is of course the type of poker with the most professional players.

5 Card Draw Poker

The evolution of the poker player begins by entering the world with the 5 Card Draw, for a few years later moving to Texas Holdem. In the 5 Card Draw, 5 cards are dealt with each player, and a round of betting will take place. Then a discard will be carried out and after this a second and final round of betting.

In the event that the showdown is reached and there are several players who reach the end of the last betting round, the player with the highest play of his 5 own cards will win the hand.

It is also known as classic poker since it is the most traditional among the types of poker.

5 Card Stud

One of the most peculiar types of poker, although it is very popular in the United States. It has the peculiarity that only one of the player’s own cards is dealt face down while the rest are visible, which is information for the other participants.

Before the first round of betting, 2 cards are dealt to each player, one deck and the other uncovered. A round of betting occurs and one more face-up card is awarded to each player, and so on until 5 cards have been dealt to each player with 4 betting rounds total.

7 Card Stud

The 7 card stud is about the types of poker that can take the longest to master. It is very similar to the previous one with the difference that the total number of cards dealt to each player is 7.

In the initial deal 3 cards are given to each player, 2 of which are covered and one uncovered. After the betting round, one more card is dealt with and will be revealed to each player. A new round of betting will occur. The process is repeated with the 5th and 6th cards, which will also be uncovered and will each lead to another round of betting. The last card or “River” will be covered and the last round of betting will take place after it.


Omaha is an advanced version of Texas Holdem and one of the most modern and complicated types of poker played on the internet. 4 own cards are dealt and covered to each player and in total there are 4 betting rounds that are preflop, flop, turn, and river.

Each player will be able to use only 2 of their own cards to make their move, and 3 of the common cards.

Caribbean poker

Among the types of poker, the Caribbean is different in operation since it does not compete against other players but against the house, considering itself a casino game. It is a form of face-to-face poker between the dealer and the player, in which the participant to win will have to achieve a higher play than the dealer.

5 cards are dealt to the player and 5 cards to the dealer, of which 1 will be face up to give that advantage to the player, who will have in some casinos the possibility of buying a card change (discard). Each player decides if he calls or if he passes, and if the dealer has not played the hand is not even played, each participant has to pay the initial bet.

Then the cards are shown and each winning player is awarded the prize that corresponds to him based on the value of his move.

Video Poker

Video poker is a game typical of online casinos and the machines of some physical casinos. 5 cards are awarded to the player who will have a discard to achieve the best possible move. If you get a minimum hand (usually a pair of jacks) you will receive a prize based on the value of your hand, which will go up to the straight flush. It is one of the most peculiar types of poker and it does not compete against any opponent.

Strip poker

Strip Poker is the least serious of all types of poker. It is characterized because it does not play points, chips, or money, but showing up to the rest of the players with more or fewer clothes. Strip poker is usually played among friends, to add a touch of emotion and mischief to a festive night.

It does not matter which type of poker is used as the basis for this game since the only difference will be in the payout for lost hands.

Online poker bookmakers

Some bookmakers traditionally sport betting, have a section to play poker online. This is the case of Bwin or Betfair, which offers their players the installation of a PC software and application for mobile devices, which allow them to participate in tournaments and cash games.

Then there are other poker rooms that have subsequently added the possibility of sports betting, but whose experience comes from poker. For example, 888poker would be a bookie in which poker has a more than considerable roots, and hence it offers game modes and events for all players.