Suited aces?

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Murph1969

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I don’t understand why everybody says to play them. The fact they’re suited only gives you about four percent equity. I’d much rather have a big unsuited ace than a small suited one.
 
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ph_il

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I don’t understand why everybody says to play them. The fact they’re suited only gives you about four percent equity. I’d much rather have a big unsuited ace than a small suited one.
2-4% extra equity.
 
Phoenix Wright

Phoenix Wright

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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.
 
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Tomek416

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I play them even if someone raises high, but I usually don't go all in. It also depends on what the kicker is. If it's a king or a queen, I might even go all in at times.
 
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Murph1969

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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.

Insightful post. Thanks!
 
NWPatriot

NWPatriot

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Suited AX is a drawing hand. Just like low suited pairs are a drawing hand, and suited connectors are drawing hands. Their pre-flop equity is not why we play them.

A nut flush is a very powerful hand. It beats all the other drawing hands - made straights, made sets, and made worse flushes. The Ace itself needs to be played carefully as you will have kicker problems if you do hit an Ace. We don't need to think this is an all-in or nothing hand, we simply play what we have and do these best we can. We may hit a 2 pair or even a wheel straight if we get lucky.

The point is, if we can get to a cheep flop, we can easily get away from the hand if our flush isn't coming. If we have outs to the flush, then we play them like we play all of our non-made hands.

There is a concept called "equity realization" which tells us which hands realize their equity more than others. Their starting equity may be very similar, but the AX's may not need to be folded off so many times. AXs realizes its equity far more than other suited connectors. Its flushes are dominant and when it pairs, its hole card, it is a much better hand than a paired suited connector.

Good luck and God bless.
 
corleonegerber

corleonegerber

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Potentially Nuts

I think is because A's suited have more options to play, like be in a flush nut draw on flop, even if you do not flush on river, you can be agressive and forces to fold a better hand on turn, or even get paid with a worst flush than yours.
 
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dregan

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I play them even if someone raises high, but I usually don't go all in. It also depends on what the kicker is. If it's a king or a queen, I might even go all in at times.
 
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Mahdi

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As people said suited small Ax can make flush or straight, that is easy to get value from
 
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