Hand Quality: Suited Aces

Suited Aces (A9s – A2s*) represent only 2.41% of all starting hand combinations. This is slightly more than suited connectors (JTs-54s) as defined in the previous article (important from range balancing perspective, which will be discussed later).

*AKs and AQs are covered in earlier Big Aces article, while AJs and ATs are in Suited Broadways article.

These hands generally have decent raw equity due to the Ace (guarantees around 30% equity against everything except AA), while suitedness adds around 5% preflop equity and a lot of postflop playability (due to semi bluffing opportunities with the nut flush draw). This also makes them useful for 5bet bluffing in blinds vs. BTN battles.

They flop less well than suited connectors and suffer from reverse implied odds (ROI) issues on Axx flops (top pair but weak kicker). This is not really a big deal for better players, but fish tend to get stacked a lot with this type of holding.

Suited Aces benefit greatly from having position due to the need to pot control with weak TP type hand (which happens often) and the frequent need to profitably draw to the nut flush (easier to get paid in position when we hit).

Depending on player’s style, they can be included in opening and even 3bet / 5bet ranges (as bluffs) from all positions.

Suited Aces

Suited Aces have the following odds to flop desirable hands:

Strong made hand = 4.31%

Flush = 0.84%

Two pair = 2.02%

Trips = 1.35%

Full House = 0.09%

Quads = 0.01%

It is important to note that:

… the nut flush is great but it is hard to get paid unless someone else also flopped a flush

… two pairs are great against TPTK / TPGK type hand (AK/AQ), especially in position

… we are looking to flop trips with the weaker (non-Ace) card (!) because of kicker problems with medium / low suited Aces. Trips with the Ace also have value on many boards (backdoor draws, some double paired boards etc.) and 12.5% of the time (= 1 out of 8 times) we will actually pair the kicker too on turn / river, which gives great value.

Flush draw = 10.94%

TOTAL = 15.25%

One pair (no draws) = 25% – Top pair with weak kicker has some value but needs to be played very carefully (folding to big bets / raises is usually the only real option). Pairing the lower card might sometimes be better since domination is not an issue (and can even work for us, for example holding A9s on 952r board against J9s/T9s from the opponent).

Winning small pots with TPWK / MPTK type hands adds some profitability to suited Aces, but main goal is always to try and hit the flush / 2P.

One card straight draws have little practical value (= it is hard to get paid well when we complete and there is always the chance of a weird cooler).

Individual Breakdown:

A9s

Hand strength = Weaker than 9.50% of hands, stronger than 90.20%. Equity vs. random hand = 62.78%.

Speculative value = Flopped nut flushes seem valuable but pay off rarely (mostly against weaker flopped flushes). Nut flush draw can be played aggressively, especially out of position (because it is hard to check-call and get paid when we hit the flush) or with added equity from a pair/gutshot/OESD.

Flopping TPMK on Axx boards has some value since people have lower Axs in their ranges, but as all suited Aces there are domination issues and conservative play is often optimal. Backdoor flush draw adds playability and some value to this type of hand.

Good news is that at least 2P hands with A9s-A6s need to worry about straight draws a lot less than Broadway Aces (AKs-ATs) and Wheel Aces (A5s-A2s).

Position = Like other suited Aces, plays much better in position.

Previous action in the hand = Suited Aces are good hands to open raise with. They can be played against open raises but calling is better when there is already 1-2 callers ahead, while against a single raise there are sometimes profitable 3bet opportunities (with the possibility to fold out better Aces!). This is, however, both opponent dependant and image / 3betting strategy dependant. Against heavy action (3bets / squeezes) it is best to open fold them.

Preflop stackoff equity vs. range of AA-QQ, AK = 28.65%

A8s

Hand strength = Weaker than 12.37% of hands, stronger than 87.33%. Equity vs. random hand = 61.94%.

Speculative value = Similar to A9s except slightly worse when it makes only a pair (worse kicker with the Ace or worse MPTK).

Position = Same as A9s.

Previous action in the hand = Same as A9s.

Preflop stackoff equity vs. range of AA-QQ, AK = 28.88%

A7s

Hand strength = Weaker than 13.88% of hands, stronger than 85.82%. Equity vs. random hand = 60.98%.

Speculative value = Same comment as A8s, except now making a TPWK means we only dominate 5 other hands while losing to 6, so it is clearly hard to get much value from it.

Position = Same as A9s.

Previous action in the hand = Same as A9s.

Preflop stackoff equity vs. range of AA-QQ, AK = 29.04%.

A6s

Hand strength = Weaker than 16.14% of hands, stronger than 83.56%. Equity vs. random hand = 59.91%.

Speculative value = Same comment as A7s.

Position = Same as A9s.

Previous action in the hand = Same as A9s.

Preflop stackoff equity vs. range of AA-QQ, AK = 28.83%.

A5s

Hand strength = Weaker than 15.38% of hands, stronger than 84.31%. Equity vs. random hand = 59.92%.

It is interesting to note that A5s actually has better hand strength than A6s (while being dominated by it). This is obviously due to straight possibilities.

Speculative value = Same as A7s, except it is important to note that making a straight might mean a cooler situation against 65s (which is often played) so some caution is appropriate. Postflop value includes semi bluffing opportunities with the overcard + gutshot type of hand (for example K42r), especially if there is a backdoor flush draw.

Position = Same as A9s, except with potential straight draws it is even more valuable than usual.

Previous action in the hand = Same as A9s, except Wheel Aces (A5s – A2s) are often included in 3bet / bluff 5bet shoving ranges from blinds due to good stackoff equity and the problem of calling with them OOP (they get dominated a lot on Axx boards). There are specialized articles about it elsewhere so there is no need to go deep into it here.

Preflop stackoff equity vs. range of AA-QQ, AK = 30.15%

Note that A5s-A2s actually have better stackoff value than AQs-A6s against a very tight range.

A4s

Hand strength = Weaker than 18.85% of hands, stronger than 80.84%. Equity vs. random hand = 59.03%.

Speculative value = Same as A5s, except that making a straight is much safer now since the cooler hand is 64s (much rarer than 65s).

Position = Same as A5s.

Previous action in the hand = Same as A5s.

Preflop stackoff equity vs. range of AA-QQ, AK = 29.75%

A3s

Hand strength = Weaker than 21.57% of hands, stronger than 78.13%. Equity vs. random hand = 58.22%.

Speculative value = Same as A5s, except that making a straight is almost completely safe (cooler hand is 63s, which is only played by fish) and in that sense A3s is the best Wheel Ace from post flop value perspective (no need to be careful with the straight so value gained is higher).

Position = Same as A5s.

Previous action in the hand = Same as A5s.

Preflop stackoff equity vs. range of AA-QQ, AK = 29.34%

A2s

Hand strength = Weaker than 23.08% of hands, stronger than 76.62%. Equity vs. random hand = 57.38%.

Speculative value = Same as A5s, including the cooler problem (this time 76s is the trouble hand).

Position = Same as A5s.

Previous action in the hand = Same as A5s.

Preflop stackoff equity vs. range of AA-QQ, AK = 28.93%

 

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