Outside of AA and KK, I love AK. 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 mean donks who are in every hand, and I mean every hand betting, raising, or re-raising whatever he has even air. 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. You could play it with a raise pre-flop, then trap then if the board is good for you. 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. Once there, I just hope that the AK holds up. I am reasonably confident it's not pocket aces or kings, since I am already holding part of that.
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,. This is proven profitable.
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. So as always, the key is to know your opponent. Those are just my suggestions based on my experience anyway.