Every list of texas holdem starting hands has Big Slick suited (AKs in poker shorthand) near the top. It is a very powerful starting hand, and one that shows a profit over time if played well. But, it is not a made hand by itself, and cannot be treated like one.
Lets look at some of the odds involving AKs before the flop.
Against any pair, even a lowly pair of twos, Big Slick at best a coin flip. Sometimes it is a slight underdog because if you do not create a hand with the board cards, Ace high will lose to a pair.
Against hands like AQ or KQ where you have the higher of the cards in the opposing hand “covered”, AKs is roughly a 7 to 3 favorite. That’s about as good as it gets pre-flop with this hand. It’s as good as taking AKs up against 72 offsuit.
Against a better hand, say JT suited, your odds are roughly 6 to 4 in your favor. Better than a coin flip, but perhaps not as much of a favorite as you would think.
When the flop lands, the value of your hand will probably be made clear. If you land the top pair on the board, you have a major advantage with a top pair/top kicker situation. You will often win bets put in by players with the same pair, but a lesser kicker.
You will also beat good starting hands like QQ, and JJ if they do not flop their three-of-a-kind. Not to mention that if you flop a flush or a flush draw, you will be drawing to the nut, or best possible flush. These are all things that make AKs such a nice starting hand to have.
But what if the flop comes, and misses you. You will still have two overcards (cards higher than any of those on the board). What are your odds now for catching an Ace or a King on the turn or the river and salvaging your hand? Of course this only works if a pair is able to salvage the hand and will be good enough to win the pot.
If the Ace or King you’d like to see land on the board doesn’t also fill in someone else’s straight or flush draw, you would have six cards (three remaining Kings and three remaining Aces) that can give you the top pair.
With those six outs, the odds of landing your card on the turn are roughly one in eight, so if you’re planning on putting money into the pot to chase it, look for at least seven dollars in there for every one dollar you’re willing to bet to keep the pot odds even. Those odds do not change much on the river.
While playing poker by the odds does not guarantee that you’ll win every hand, or even every session, not knowing the odds is a dangerous situation for anyone at the poker table that is thinking of risking their money in a pot.