Poker in Print: Optimizing Ace King (2018)


Written by James Sweeney and Adam Jones and with a foreword penned by legendary poker author Ed Miller, Optimizing Ace King is a poker strategy book that does exactly what it says on its cover.

poker-in-print-optimizing-ace-king-2018If you struggle to play the hand known as ‘Big Slick’, then this book is for you. In fact, even if you don’t – and many players who say they don’t actually do – then this refresher course into how to get the best of the premium poker hand behind aces and kings is one that you might take a lot from.

As the book details, Ace King, or as it is sometimes known ‘AK47’ or ‘Big Slick’ is in the top 5% of the most profitable hole-cards in poker. This is often because it’s a hand players are happy to go all-in with pre-flop, where unless they’re up against pocket kings or pocket aces, they’re around a coinflip to win the hand.

Despite the obvious profitability of Ace King, man players, certainly at a low-mid stakes level, don’t know how to get the best out of this premium poker offering. The options of three-betting pre-flop, calling, playing offsuit and suited Ace-King hands the same way, everything you could possibly want to know about the hand are in this book.

The guide doesn’t just cover how to play Ace-King pre-flop, as with many hands, how to play Big Slick post-flop is by far the area where most people struggle. If you pair either card, you’ve got top pair, top kicker, but how often is that winning, and against which ranges are you in profit or in deep trouble?

The best part of the book is unquestionably the way it questions your own preconceptions about the hand, which is one of the easiest hands in poker to misplay. Getting lazy with Big Slick can cost you chips, table image and tournaments. How the hand fits into your own set of ranges and within your own playing style can often define a player. Give any great player Ace-King and then watch what they do when they don’t pair up on the flop and you’ll learn about them.

Breaking down a variety of conditions in which to receive the hand and how you can turn different scenarios to your advantage, Sweeney and Jones are very good at offering nuggets of advice, backing the up with examples that will tally with your own poker history, then rebuilding a new method of dealing with each situation.

With topics covered including three-betting, four-betting, continuation-betting, barreling with Big Slick, GTO vs. exploitative play and GTO solver lines you can take, by the end of the book you won’t be approaching playing Ace-King with any despondency, instead looking at the myriad ways you can make it profitable.

From bullying opponents that you put on a weaker range to using Ace-King to make full value when you manage to improve your hole-cards post-flop, the book is a great guide at expanding on a strategic point that affects everyone who plays the game we all love.

You can buy Optimizing Ace King right here, and forever be rid of the nagging doubts you have about playing Big Slick in the best way possible.