Delik James' Chronicles

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Saturday, February 23, 2008

Ace-Queen Disdain

I recently had a lively discussion with a player, post-bust, who blew his stack literally and figuratively after his AQ faltered big time. Why is it that anyone would think AQ would qualify as an automatic call to an all-in hand pre-flop?
Now I know that there is a time and place where it might be, (short stack on the button for example), but generally, I find this hand can get you into a lot of trouble.

The basics: Against any pocket pair JJ or less you are only getting 50:50 OR if your opponent is tilting and holds two random cards (say 5-6) they are still 'live' and can be caught to suck out on you (same odds of hitting anything as you have.) Worse still, are the kinds of hands that would reasonably raise to all-in pre-flop that could end nearly all hope for your AQ...
Your unsuited AQ against AA gets you to only 18% to win, KK 22%, QQ 30% and even AK 25%. This doesn't get much better even if you are suited; these numbers are dismal.

I notice a lot of players have wised up to the fact that AK is a tricky starting hand and will bite you in the ass more often than not - so why have they moved onto playing similarly with AQ, which even the bottom of the barrel rookies can tell is not as valuable as the AK from the starting gate?

Well, I think the AQ needs some nicknames like its cousin the AK that drives the point home. My favorite for AK is Anna Kournikova - looks good but loses every time. This gets the point across as directly as possible that AK sucks more often than not. Over time - with sayings much like this one, players began to get embarrassed when they got felted and had to turn over a losing AK. Others would roll their eyes and think - 'there goes another one.'

I played three sit-and-goes yesterday and I must have seen more ridiculous AQ moves than I could have ever expected. I think the trouble is that some players will not face the ugly truth that no matter how good your hole cards may look pre-flop, they can quickly turn to dust after the flop and must be thrown to the muck if it comes down to an all-in. Don’t fall for the lure of invincibility that comes with a hand like AQ; it has all the disadvantages of the AK that you’re too 'embarrassed to lose with' - plus some.

As for Ace-Jack...don't get me started.



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