I really like playing Ace King, even though it`s not the best preflop hand. Playing the small stacks where the weakest of weak players reside I.e. those who play anything aggressively pre-flop, take the joy of landing AK. I am talking about the worst players that play virtually any hand, even if it doesn't hit. They can screw you too, becuase they have a good chance of hitting the flop better than your Ace King.
I’ve made three typical plays to deal with these players. One is to push them hard PF and then after the flop if you hit something, play passively. If my poker software says I am up against a maniac, I feel tend to bluff more even with air if he senses weakness in your hand. It’s the perfect way to trap him especially if you flop something big like a KK or AA, or get flush or a straight draw.
The second is I play normally as I would pre-flop so that I can just let it go if I don’t hit the flop and reduce the risk of a major suck out.
The other option of course is to make him decide a play for his whole stack. After all, AK is the best hand pre flop against anything but pocket pairs. Poker odds math suggests I am good against all other hands aside from KK and AA. Sometimes you just have to let Ace King do its job, hopefully. I’m ¼ sure it’s not AA, or KK, which should obvious since I’ve already got 25% of each to build those pairs.
Each one of these strategies depend on the type of maniac I’m facing, and if there is poker tournament strategy involved. If he’s a super donk and a known idiot who will call and raise any hand just to get to the flop, I do number three. I should say also, this is a widely used tactic,. And to great success too.
If he’s aggressive but is known to play a good hand or two, and shows a penchant for waiting for the flop, I go with number one. In the long run, you should have the higher chances of winning as you have top hand other than AA and KK, and have as much a chance of flopping flush or straight, and have an edge of winning top card.
If I don’t have enough information yet on said donk, I go with number two until I know more about him at least. Profiling your antagonist is clearly important. After several years of playing AK, those are my best ideas for playing the hand.