Ace-Queen suited is a beastly hand, but it has limits.
This article will help you play it better before and after the flop.
Let’s get started with how to play Ace-Queen suited in common preflop scenarios.
How To Play Ace-Queen Suited Preflop
Ace-Queen suited is a must-raise hand from any position when the action folds to you. Even when you’re Under the Gun, it’s that simple.
Against an Open-Raise
When facing a raise, you should 3-bet with Ace-Queen suited every time. It is an extremely strong hand that will dominate a ton of your opponent’s calling range. Plus, you force some hands with equity to fold (such as KJo), so it benefits from equity denial as well.
The 3-bet size you should use depends on a lot of different factors, such as stack depth, the raise size your opponent used, and position. But a good rule of thumb is to make it 3 times the initial raise when you’re in position and 4 times the initial raise when out of position.
Against a 3-Bet
AQ-suited is a must-call against any 3-bet. It’s a bit too weak 4-bet for value and a bit too strong to 4-bet bluff. Since it’s right in the middle, it’s an easy call in the vast majority of cash game situations.
Against a 4-Bet
When facing a 4-bet you will generally want to call with this hand (in theory). Since 4-bets are not usually bigger than 2.8 times the 3-bet, the hand has good enough equity, great blockers, and playability in order to call profitably.
When you’re playing against very tight 4-bettors — and if you play low stakes live or micro stake online, that’s probably most of your opponents — then I suggest you fold. You are avoiding a potential train wreck. You are most likely up against Pocket Jacks through Pocket Aces or Ace-King. It’s very hard to win much of anything with Ace-Queen against a range that strong.
Note: Know exactly how to play every hand in every common preflop situation. Get instant access to extensive preflop charts and lessons (for cash games, heads-up, and tournaments) when you join the Upswing Lab training course. Lock your seat now!
The Advanced Solver Ranges for cash games — one of six sets of preflop charts in the Upswing Lab.
Now, let’s move on to postflop play with Ace-Queen suited. I’ve included 6 total tips (3 for when you hit and 3 for when you miss) that will help you make more money with this top-notch hand.
3 Tips For Playing Ace-Queen Suited When You Hit The Flop
Tip #1: Always bet and barrel for value with top pair (unless the board runs out in a very dicey way)
If you have Ace-Queen and the flop comes Ace-high or Queen-high, you have a monster hand worth multiple streets of value. You should always start with a bet on the flop, and usually look to bet again on the turn and a final time on the river.
The exception is on very bad run outs. If multiple straights complete or if there’s four-to-a-straight or flush, consider slowing down with a check.
But that flop bet is the most important part. Checking too often on the flop with these strong top pairs opens up a whole new world of problems. For example, the board may run out in such a way that you can no longer get value from worse one-pair hands. You’re better off extracting chips from your opponent right away before that happens.
Tip #2: In 3-bet pots, size down your c-bets
Since the pot is already bloated from the preflop action, it’s pretty easy to get your whole stack in by the river in 3-bet pots. The stack-to-pot ratio is low enough that you can bet small (25-40% pot) on the flop and still get all the money in (assuming 100 big blind starting stacks) without having to overbet.
Furthermore, when you hit a top pair with Ace-Queen this will be on an Ace or Queen-high flop which are extremely good for the 3-bettor. You should use a small c-bet size on these flops to force your opponent to call with a lot of hands that have very little equity.
Tip #3: Play more cautiously in multiway pots
Multiway pots are a different animal. When 3 or more players see the flop, there is a much higher likelihood that someone holds two-pair or better. Another problem is that your opponents can fold more of their hands, which lowers your top pair’s equity against their calling range.
While it’s okay to c-bet on the flop for value and protection, you should be more cautious (on average) on the turn and river. It’s no longer a mostly-mandatory three-street hand like it was in tip #1.
3 Tips For Playing When You Miss The Flop
Tip #1: In heads-up 3-bet pots, always c-bet unless the board is low and connected
After you 3-bet and get called, you will retain a range advantage on the vast majority of flops. You should leverage this advantage by c-betting with a large percentage (sometimes 100%) of your hands.
Ace-Queen suited will always have at least 1 overcard to top pair. And on top of that, you’ll often have some backdoor draws to go with it. Go after the pot and bet!
The exception to this rule is when the flop is low and connected flops (such as 975, 864, or 753). These are the only boards that favor your opponent (the caller), so you should employ a more defensive strategy and check your Ace-Queen suited. You should check some pretty strong hands (like overpairs) on those boards as well to protect your checking range.
Related article: Checking Flops with Overpairs: When Should You Do It?
Tip #2: You should sometimes check-raise in 3-bet pots with backdoor draws
Suppose the player on the Button raises. You 3-bet with A♥ Q♥ from the Small Blind and the flop comes 8♥ 7♣ 3♠. This is a bad flop for your range, so you should check.
However, if the Button bets on the smaller side (~33% of the pot), as she often should, you should consider a check-raise!
This will put a lot of your opponent’s hands in a tough spot. He will already be afraid that you have an overpair, so you will make him fold some decent hands right away.
Plus, you have multiple escape hatches should your check-raise get called. You will still have 6 outs to hit top pair, which will usually be the best hand. You also have 10 outs to pick up a nut flush draw, with which you can continue betting. So, whatever your opponent does, she will be put under pressure very often!
Tip #3: After c-betting and missing on the turn, give up
Suppose the player on the Button opens. You 3-bet with A♠ Q♠ and the flop comes J♣ 7♠ 5♦. You c-bet small (about 33% of the pot) as a semi-bluff and get called. The turn is the 3♣.
Bad luck, my friend! It’s time to waive the white flag.
Your hand was great preflop and decent on the flop. But when the board is somewhat connected and you have nothing but two overcards on the turn, it’s best to give up. Don’t feel like you need to win every pot just because you had a great hand on the previous street!
There you have it, the 5-minute quick guide to smashing your opponents with Ace-Queen suited! It’s a relatively straightforward hand to play overall, especially now that you are armed with the right knowledge.
If you enjoyed this article, you can let me know in the comment section down below, and if you have any other hand that you’d like me to cover feel free to tell me there as well.
Till’ next time, good luck, grinders!