I got into a dicussion with someone last night regarding the top three best hole cards in hold ’em. I maintained that AK earns the #3 slot while the other person prefers QQ. Its a tough call.
They are all going to be played similarly. In fact the Sklansky/Malmuth ranking puts those four, along with JJ in the same upper echelon category, meaning that all of these hands will generally be played the same way (at least preflop anyway). However I feel that although the ladies do beat big slick preflop, using the preflop examination then any pair would be prefferable to AK. It is the subsequent rounds that really make big slick the winner
One must assume that, at least going with the Sklansky/Malmuth strategy, that any of these hands will push a significant amount into the pot early on. One does not wish to keep play going too long with too many players when holding the premium hands because the higher both those factors are, the more likely a stronger opposing hand could be built. Push out all the possible drawing hands and only the big boys are left.
Now, if AK goes up against QQ then the advantage is with the gals initially. But AK obviously won’t throw his cards away preflop. They will both push in big on the first round. It is when the table starts showing cards that things get interesting. Each player has to know already that they are both holding premium hands. Should a king or ace come up on the flop (not bad odds for it assuming a ten handed game). QQ needs to beware but AK can gain some confidence. If he pairs his Ace he knows that he only has to worry about the bullets. and if he pairs his king at least he is till ahead of QQ. If either Ace or King come however, QQ knows that they are likely behind and that their odds of catching up tooka nosedive. If a queen comes up then AK is in big trouble becasue there is little chance he can suckout against any of the other three top hands at that point. However, the odds of a queen coming are less than either an ace or a king. In this instance AK has to get out while the getting is good.
Now, suppose that nothing hits on the flop. QQ will definitly keep the preasure on, causing worry for AK who completely missed. However, they can be sure that it is more likely they are up against QQ than either of the top two (since he knows two of the eight are accounted for). depending on the situations on the table it could be worth staying in for more cards given psychological factors and such that could affect a possible holder of QQ if one displays the characteristics of a big hand. This would give another chance of hitting that Ace or King. By the turn AK will absolutely know where they stand.
Take from this truncated analysis what you will. Counter aguments are certainly welcome. As I said, Its a pretty close call and I wouldn’t be surprised by anyone who reached the opposite conclusion. Let me know what you think.