This is a discussion on AJ vs KQ !!! within the online poker forums, in the Tournament Poker section; Guys, i have learnt how to play AK effectively in NL games, but am really confused about how to deal with AJ now.:joyman:
I have lost
It really depends on the situation. AJ is mediocre, and should only be played in late position in unopened pots. If you make a habit of playing AJ in early position, you will have some very tough decisions to face post flop. It also depends on whether it's a cash game or tourney, stack sizes, your table image, how the table is playing, etc.
M33K3R's advice is very good, AJ is way better from position than out of position (every hand is, but AJ more so).
You've got a strong ace, if you take the flop heads up you're ahead most of the time. Better still, when you do hit there are a lot of hands that will pay you off. Hit the J and there's a whole range of J's that will pay you off, hit the A and even more hands will pay you off (since Ace-rag suited is very playable). The reason however that it gets most of it's value from position is that there are a lot of hands that have you dominated and you need position to figure out if you're up against one of them.
I fold AJ from early position very often when facing a raise (doesn't have to be a big raise either), I suggest you do too.
When someone leads out before you, you've got to ask yourself if they've got AK, AQ or big pockets.
KQ really shouldn't be the hand that causes you troubles, AK or AQ are going to be the thorn in your side when you play AJ.
If you're having trouble against KQ, I suspect what you're doing is over valuing your AJ and not wanting to throw it away when you miss. What you should be doing is:
1) Looking for A flops, here you're often ahead and likely to get some money out of AT and Ax suited. Keep in mind that even when you hit your A, it's often correct to fold because you can be up against AK, AQ, big pockets or someone has flopped two pair or better.
2) Looking for jack high flops, here you're ahead of everything but big pockets and two pair or better, you're going to get paid off by KJ, QJ, JT and anytime someone overplays something. These flops are where AJ makes it's money. I'm not saying don't fold here, it's still correct to fold sometimes and you should be on the lookout for bigger hands, but it will be rare that you're beat at this stage.
3) Betting your ace high, a lot of the time it will be good on the flop if you take it heads up and you should bet it because it can be outdrawn very easily. Of course, this is highly dependent on your read in the particular hand and you will end up check-folding or bet-folding sometimes.
In a cash game I don't play AJ much. In limited situations, I will raise when I am in late position and the pot is unopened. I will also three bet from the SB or BB from a late position raiser if I have a read for them to be raising with a wide range of hands.
In tournaments, I don't want to commit many chips with AJ early in a tournament, but in the later stages I'll routinely raise with this hand.
It mattered not how many foes he faced as they were no match for his bodacity.
A/J is pretty much A/T.
Just like J/J is pretty much T/T.
The portrait makes the J look more important than it actually is. Few people complain about A/J and T/T. So in the short term (for the quick fix), just play your J's like T's. As you get better, you'll start getting a little more active with the J hands.
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It is a very difficult hand. Assumiing ABC poker is being played at the table, in an unraised pot from the button, the SB or BB I might consider raising, but if there are any raises behind me, I will probably fold.
AJ is much much weaker than AK. Heads up, AK is only dominated by two hands- and is no worse than a coinflip against all others. AJ is dominated by seven hands.
Of course if I'm short stacked or in the latter part of a tournament, this is a hand a might be willing to gamble with depending on the circumstance. But it will usually be a shoving situation.
AJ vs KQ usually wins 60% of the time, so I'm not surprised that you lose often to it.
By the way is it wise to raise preflop with AJ ?
I always make a small preflop raise with AK, but is it ok with AJ? or can i even call a raise preflop?
You should never make your raises based on your cards. You should base your preflop raises on your position and your opponents in relation to table/self image; trying to play the situation and not the cards.
I usually will take AJ against weak post flop players or limpers with a high preflop percentage or range while I am in late position. However, as stated already, the hand is mediocre. I typically wouldn’t want to dump a lot of chips just to find a flop with K, J, 7 and be forced to drop the hand because my opponent raised me from the flop or turn.
Another theory would be to use the hand to be unpredictable and re-raise preflop when you have position to better see where your opponent is early. The tactic is based to see if your early raiser is willing to come at you with 89s or 65s or is he just going to dump the less profitable hands right there. The information gained from a reraise preflop can save you money on a tricky flop or turn that isn't going your way. Since the hand is mediocre you should be able to get away from the hand pretty easily, but early information might save you from putting too much in on the later streets.
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The AJ and KQ are trouble. You should know that playing these out of position you could get roasted good and frequently. Nothing wrong with seeing a flop cheap, but man you can get in trouble big time. Play when you can and be prepared to fold also when things get fishy.