- Jun 1, 2021
- Total posts
Yes Ax suited versus Ax offsuit matters very little - only about 2-4% better equity; practically speaking, the difference is negligible.
One reason to play the suited cards is for the extra outs with semi-bluffing, but again, the few extra equity percentage points don't really mean a whole lot.
I think the "real reason" suited hands are preferred (although not thought of this way by many) is because it makes up less combinations from a hand range perspective. For non-pocket pairs, there are 16 possible hand combinations for each holding; 12 offsuit combinations and 4 suited combinations.
Ax hands are not so great compared to the more premium hands Villain may hold (or represent and bluff you into folding), so we don't want to increase our VPIP statistic by playing that many Ax hands for fear of turning into a bad LAG or Maniac. By primarily sticking with only the suited Ax combinations, then you are only contributing 4 combinations more for each holding than the full 16 for suited and off suit combinations.
To illustrate how this adds up, let us compare just these ranges (not a good range to play, but just to demonstrate the math in how much adding Ax offsuit hands add to VPIP)...
1st range: AA, A2s+ (pocket Aces and all suited Ax hands)
2nd range: AA, A2s+, A2o+ (pocket Aces and ALL Ax hands suited or offsuit)
The 1st range makes up 52 of the possible 1326 hand combinations (4.07% of all potential holdings).
The 2nd range makes up 198 of the possible 1326 hand combinations (14.93% of all potential holdings).
This is substantial! About 4% to 14% just by including Ax offsuit hands means that including all Ax (versus Axs) adds roughly 10% more to VPIP!
Also worth noting is that playing more hands in itself isn't necessarily that terrible (many poker playstyles can be successful: not just TAG styles), but Axo hands are not so great. This means that you are entering pots with holdings like A7o when the opponent could very well dominate us with AK or AQ...or AJ...or AT, A9, A8 and you see the problem with lower Ax hands (suited or offsuit). Even if we hit an Ace on the Flop with A7o, then are we really confident that we are ahead? Not so sure...we are crushed by higher Ax holdings and a bluffing opponent can easily force us off of our marginal holding even if they had the worse hand.
By limiting which Ax hands to play, we can minimize the "damage" of diluting the power of our hand range. If we are limiting which Ax hands to play, then why not play the suited ones and get a slight edge in equity over the non-suited counterparts?
Instead of just playing all suited Aces, some players will play less Ax hands by:
- Avoiding "weaker" Ax hands entirely. Perhaps only playing AJ and higher or something like that.
- Only playing "red Aces" or "black Aces" as this cuts the number they would play in half. These players will switch what color they play different days of the week or something similar to "balance" while still not playing every Ax hand. (Versions also exist with a quarter of all hands by playing only a specific suit of Ace that session, or playing only the Ax even numbers or Ax odd numbers etc.)
- Only playing the premium Ax hands like AQ+ and only playing the lower Ax hands like A5s. The logic being that hands like A5s or A4o give a few extra outs to hitting a low straight and may serve as crucial blockers to opponents hitting those straights.
There are many ways people could use to limit the number of Ax hands they play (if they play them at all), but it is important to note that playing EVERY Ax hand is typically not the best strategy, so we need some method to decide which to play and which to avoid playing.