It’s a fine line between playing the right hands and too many. One of the biggest mistakes a beginner will make is overplaying ace rag but this article is focusing on suited aces. One of the hands that intermediate players probably fold too often and give up potential to earn a lot of money. This article will explore the benefits of suited aces, both in cash games and tournaments.
How to Play Suited Aces in Cash Games
Generally, you want to play suited aces in position and with deep stacks. There’s no use playing it out of position to a 3 bet because you won’t hit often enough to make it profitable. Instead, try to be the initial raiser or at least flat calling when you are likely to be the last person to act post-flop. A common thought is that it’s “bad” to flat call a raise these days but I am not of this opinion. Check out my cold call is ok article for breakdown of why.
With suited aces, you usually want to play top pair for 2 streets of value against a tight player and value bet thinly for 3 streets if the board helps you against a loose player. This is very generic advice but the fact is, tight players are likely to have a low ace beat if they are check/calling flop, turn and river. The same is not true for a loose player. They often level themselves or are too stubborn to fold second pair. This makes betting small on the turn and/or river profitable. A bet of around 20% of the pot will often get called by worse.
Beginner Texas Hold’em Question
What are suited aces?
Suited aces are where you have an ace and second card of the same suit e.g. ace of hearts and 5 of hearts.
Lower is Better…
This may sound counter intuitive, particularly if you read our poker kicker article. The fact is, when you play suited aces, you are not necessarily playing it for kicker value. You either want to hit a flush or straight. This is not possible to do with both your hole cards if you hold an ace 6 through to 9. This means that the low suited aces (A-2 to A-5) are of more value to you. They work well because your hand is well disguised on low boards. Players don’t easily put you on A-3 or A-4. They also work well when the flop comes with 2 of your kicker. Few can get away from an overpair when you have hit a heavily disguised 3 of a kind.
How to Play Suited Aces in Tournaments
Suited aces don’t have the same benefits in tournaments as they do in cash games. With shallower stacks comes less opportunity to play post flop poker. You can play suited aces for small raises from the blinds, early in the tournament or if you are raising from late position. They work well as a hand to steal the blinds with too as you have a blocker to an ace.
You can also look to 3 bet shove suited aces with less than 20 big blinds. If the initial raiser is opening from late position or is an active raiser and opening from middle, you can profitable re-shove suited aces. Make sure you have decent fold equity though.
A suited ace will also work well in a limped pot. They can be a good hand to bluff catch top pair out of position or semi bluff flush or straight draws with. Consider a limped pot and having the nut flush draw. You have great equity to check raise or bet/shove with. An overcard and 9 outs to a flush means you are likely to be a coin flip if called. This makes suited aces one of the better hands to play in tournament poker.
Many of the players I coach and mentor were never fans of aces, unless they had a big kicker. They often thought it was a leak to play them.Whilst beginners will make mistakes and bet too much or get stubborn with top pair, a confident, capable player can get away from tricky spots. A good player will also find great spots to make money with these hands. Which are you? Are you earning lots of money in cash games with these hands and raking in lots of pots in tournaments too? If not, feel free to get in touch with us at firstname.lastname@example.org and I can help you.
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