Some people I know would "pre-empt" three spades with a hand like the following:
(s) AKQxxxx (h) xx (d)xx (c)xx.
My preference, however is to open with a "weak two," (spades) basically treating my seven card suit as if it had six. With some partners, I might open one spade even with only nine hcps, because it has 12 points counting distribution, seven (probable) tricks, and should make game opposite an opening hand that has three tricks.
On another question someone asked me what I would do with KJTxxxx KTxx x x. Again I prefer a weak two in first and second positions, pre-empting only in third. (Take away the side king, and I would pre-empt three spades in the first three positions.) The reason is that my seven hcps (eight counting the two tens) is close enough to the "average" of 10, so that I don't want to take up bidding space that my partner might be able to use.
I would even open a "weak two" with Axxxxxx and nothing else in other suits. That's because the ace (unlike a K or KJ) has real defensive value, and I feel less need to pre-empt.
Are all (or most) of the above viable alternatives to pre-empting? Or should I be pre-empting more than I actually do?