Adam Jones and James Sweeney - Optimizing Ace King

Optimizing Ace King book coverWriter: Adam Jones and James Sweeney
Title: Optimizing Ace King. The Right Strategy For Playing Poker’s Most Complex Starting Hand
Year: 2019
Who should read this book: Poker players who want to learn advanced concepts and master the aspects of AK in particular.

As stated by the book’s subtitle (“The Right Strategy For Playing Poker’s Most Complex Starting Hand”), ace-king can be considered the most difficult of starting hands in Texas Hold’em. To this subject Adam “W34ZSL” Jones (poker player and coach) and James “SplitSuit” Sweeney (poker player and co-founder of the training site Red Chip Poker) has devoted a full book.

Optimizing Ace King give you answers on such questions as what to do when holding AK and missing the flop (around 67% of times it misses completely). Other typical situation with hard decisions on the agenda are when to go all-in pre flop with AK, when to fold with top pair top kicker post flop, how to act when flop a gutshot draw and when to 3-bet.

The equity of AK is discussed but the situational factors are empathized. One interested example is the circumstance with deep stacks in which the writers favor T9s over AKo. Another interested example is the comparison between AK suited and off suited from an “equity-realization” perspective.

Because of the narrow subject this is obviously not the general strategy book you should get if you are new to the game. Instead this is something you approach if you are an intermediate or even an advanced player and want to get into the details of the game. The writers assume the reader know a lot of terms and concepts already and if you do that you will probably appreciate that all fundamentals are skipped and the book are directly heading for the refined landscapes of poker studies.

Perhaps it would not be worth the time reading a book with a very specific subject like how to play the hand ace-king, but as expected Optimizing Ace King does more than cover a specific subject. Although the book centers around its prime subject it is rich enough to offer interested readings about poker theory from different views. In other words, you will get more than advice how to play a specific starting hand. Some concepts approached that may be new for you are minimum defense frequency (MDF) and streets of value.

Q&A sections are added after some chapters, which is a great ide a to include in a poker book. Some players who read this will probably feel familiar with some of the questions made from typical (advanced) players. 

There is also a foreword, from the prominent poker player and writer Ed Miller. Miller is telling a story that only seems could have happen in Las Vegas and, appropriate enough, with the hand AK involved.

In overall: as mentioned, this is a book for ambitious players and not newbies and its field is somewhat narrow. But if you think about how many times you may play the hand AK, much more profit can be made by in-depth knowledge about situations with this specific hand.  

Optimizing Ace King is available in two versions and can be ordered directly from the publisher's website

Review written by Oscar Sand

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