So how come it gets beginners into so much trouble?
As with all premium poker hands the pots you play with AK will typically be bigger than average.
That forces you to make more frequent and more difficult decisions.
Before you can try to formulate a consistent strategy with AK you need a firm grasp on the real strength of AK.
The best way to do that is by looking at the true equity of the hand in various scenarios.
A-K is a tricky hand in that the range playing back at it is very wide in its statistical strength.
It's much more difficult to know where you stand with A-K than with many other hands.
There is no worse spot to be in than not knowing whether hitting the flop will be a good or bad thing.
Because A-K is a drawing hand (meaning it needs to hit the board in some way to be more than just ace-high), many players believe it's best played in pots with multiple players.
Since it has to hit to be good anyway, they feel it's desirable to get as much money in the pot as they can.
The second school of thought is to play A-K like a premium hand, raising heavily to isolate A-K against a single opponent.
Before you go any further with one school or the other let's take a look at the statistics of A-K against both of these options.