Poker players who are new to the game often come across a bunch of fancy names that get them confused. Today, we will be looking at one such phrase that is popular among regular Hold’em players. In the game of Texas Hold’em, you will find that a lot of pre-flop starting hands will be given some sort of a nickname as this helps recognize the cards dealt. One such strong and versatile starting poker hand combination is termed as the Big Slick Poker pair.
This two-card combination is known as the Big Slick pair due to its components being the Ace and the King. Both of these are strong cards to hold by themselves, which is why when combined, especially during the pre-flop, they become all the more noteworthy. The big slick pair is regarded as a formidable holding because if you flop an Ace or a King, you will then end up holding a top pair with a top kicker card as well. Also, this card combination has the extraordinary potential of forming the highest straight and flush.
Why is the Big Slick Polarizing?
The big slick pair gives the license for you to play aggressively during the pre-flop, especially in No-Limit games while also being a safe bet to place. In most poker games, the second-best hand is generally regarded as the one that could clean-up the entire stack on-board, and this is where the big slick comes in aid. Despite all of this, the Ace/King duo is often regarded as a highly tricky combination to play with. Even though it is a strong opening hand to possess in Texas Hold’em, you must improve along the way to guide your path to the pot, and that is where the error happens. You could end up with the nuts holding these two cards, or an underwhelming Ace-High; both are possible scenarios.
This pair is hard to take all the way till the end due to all its limitations. It is a complicated hand to make decisions with, and so you will often see poker players compare it to being something that glitters and yet far from gold. While it would take an expert to write an entire thesis as to how you can use this pair to its best capabilities, we do not wish to confuse you any further. Therefore, here are seven ways in which you can use the big slick pair to your favour the next time you play a game of poker.
1. Play Heads-up with Big Slick Off-suit
In Texas Hold’em, unlike other hands, the off-suit Ace-King is not a hand that can be played well multi-way. These cards must be played heads-up, that is where they perform best. Hence, you will have to play your pre-flop moves wisely around the idea of making heads-up pots frequently. If at all there happens to be a late position caller and opener, and if you happen to be at the big blind, then that gives you a choice to make between an overcall and a squeeze. In order to narrow down the field, your best option would be to go for the squeeze. Overcalling will put you in a multi-way pot situation post-flop, and that is not an ideal setting for the off-suit big slick poker pair to survive.
2. Stack-off Pre-flop only when BB is Greater than 100 From Late Position
This rule usually only stands true for cash games. Most players know that it is acceptable to stack-off pre-flop with big slicks. However, you need to take into consideration your position and the depth of your stack. If you or your opponents are at the early or middle position, the advice given is to generally not stack-off pre-flop. It is also generally suggested to stack-off pre-flop only if the stacks at the big blind position are deeper than 100. It should be noted that stacking-off pre-flop is not going to fetch you any remarkable profit even if the stack size is smaller than 100 at the big blind in the late position. There will be more options available that are much better when seeing a flop.
3. Top Pair and Top Kicker Are Not Ideal for Stacks
One of the most common post-flop outcomes you will end up making with the big slick pair is the Top Pair and Top Kicker combination. A big blind stack of 100 could prove to be extremely tricky for this holding, even more, when you are playing a single-raised pot. If your opposition is aiming to get 100 big blind at the centre pot-flop, it is likely for him to have a one pair beat. Therefore, your goal should be to value-raise and put pressure but be willing to fold if met with counter-aggression.
4. Big Slick Poker Hand May Not Improve Pot-flop
If you miss the flop, your hand will suffer significant damage in value even if you start with the mighty big slick combination. At times, players could face a tough time letting go of these cards, and they are satisfied to call big bets with the Ace-King-High with no additions. Keep in mind that a lot of value diminishes from your hand when you don’t pair-up because then you are just left with an Ace-high. Being the aggressor during the pre-flop, there is no reason for you to play under pressure and go on a betting assault when you have missed the board texture. Typically speaking, the suited Ace and King pair fares better in this regard than the off-suit one since the suited Ace and King at least have the chance to pick-up a flush-draw when they miss the pair.
5. Boards: Good and Bad
Here’s a skill that needs to be mastered over time. It is vital to make judgements based on the situation you are playing with in terms of poker and so here are a few rules to follow:
The off-suit big slick poker pair will mostly lead to an unimproved post-flop holding on dry textures, especially the ones with no Broadway.
You do not wish to see a Ten, Queen or Jack on the board when you are opting to make a Top pair and Top Kicker combination because this leads to your opponent making a two-pair. This reverse-domination, however, does rely on the exact pre-flop move.
An unimproved big slick poker pair tends to give up the flop in barely any time in cases with drawing textures, especially the mid-high connected ones.
Q-T-X, J-T-X, Q-J-X are often regarded as the toughest boards to play on. Possessing the big slick poker pair, you are prone to be the pre-flop aggressor, but these boards tend to connect better with the range of the pre-flop caller. You must be careful about aggressive semi-bluffing on these types of tables.
6. Big Slick Poker Hand Does Not Guarantee the Pot
You must approach the big slick knowing that it could very well end up in the losing end; that is why it has such a notorious reputation. Poker should never be thought of as a guaranteed win under specific conditions, that is a wrong mindset for the game of cards. This will only lead to disappointment mixed with frustration when you see things not working as per your plan. Expert players will gladly tell you that the aim is never to win every hand. As long as you do justice to the Ace-King and play it in a way that it multiplies its long-term expectation, that’s all that matters, and individual hand performances must not count.
7. Big Slicks: Suited and Off-Suit
Suited big slicks are different from off-suited ones. In terms of pot-equity, suited big slicks have an advantage in most cases. They also perform a lot better when compared to their suited version in multi-way situations. While handling suited big slicks, you should know that your only target is to go for the nut flush or not straight. Top Pair and Top Kicker are not strong cards to hold during multi-way pots and can easily be defeated when faced with much aggression.
Some Big Slick Odds for you to know
Knowing what big slicks are, their tricky nature and the best ways to utilize them, here are some big slick odds and numbers that could help you frame a strategy next time you’re dealt with the Ace-King combination pre-flop.
You have a 78% chance to beat king-deuce with a single shared suit.
You have a 73% chance to beat a hand lesser than A-X.
You have a 66% chance to beat any two random cards.
You have a 62% chance to be victorious against 9-8 suited.
You have a 48% chance to beat most pairs.
You have a 46% chance to beat pocket queens and pocket jacks.
You have a 34% chance to beat pocket kings.
You have a 12% chance to beat pocket aces.
You have a 1.2% chance of being dealt with any ace-king (including suited)
You have a 0.8% chance of flopping a flush with suited ace-king.
All in all, the Ace-King is a great drawing hand that could lead to some highly profitable scenarios if you know how to use it well. This is a solid starting poker hand, and so the key is not to overplay it as most players do. Don’t push it too hard, calculate your moves and play them wisely to reap the real rewards of the Ace-King duo. You will find many more such interesting topics to read about in order to upgrade your poker knowledge on Spartan Poker. You can also download our app and register for any of the many poker tournaments we have, and if you get the big slick hand, we hope you know how to take it to the end!