Texas Hold em Starting Hands » Ace Queen in Texas Holdem
Knowing how to play Ace Queen in Texas Holdem is the mark of a true, winning semi-pro or pro poker player. You have reason to feel excited about your prospects if you get A-Q in the pocket, especially if it's suited. You also have reason to be very, very wary and to feel challenged.
What's important to know about A-Q is that whether it is suited or unsuited, it's a Top 20 starting hand. What that means for you is that this hand (with the suited preferred) is mathematically in the top 10% of all possible starting hands. A mere 5.85% of all possible starting hands are equal to or better than A-Q. A-Qs only gets flat-out beat by 3.77% of all of the possible starting hands. Thus only approximately five out of every 100 dealt starting hands is going to be better than your A-Q. Those are some very good starting odds.
However, A-Q is ranked differently by different professional Texas Holdem players in their personal lists of 10 best starting poker hands. If you go by strict mathematics, and some do, if it's suited it should always be listed #6. Yet there are players who put it way down on their list such as #9 (again, only that high if it's suited). For some it would not make their Top 10 list. How can this be? It turns out that, in actualy playing experience, A-Q is a troubling hand. It's not the peaches and cream like pocket aces or pocket kings or even pocket queens.
Indeed, the odds get even real fast with A-Q: 95% of the time, a player who starts the game with A-Q does not win the pot. And that's because, this is poker, not engineering: mathematics works, but at the same time appearances can be deceiving.
Beginners should not play A-Q if they are in an early poker position. Either limp in and wait to see what the flop brings, or just fold pre-flop. If you're a beginner or intermediate in middle or late position, go in with it aggressively.
Yes, B-E aggressive. That's the way to play A-Q right from the start, pre-flop. You should raise and you should raise anywhere from three to five times big blind. This is not a pocket hand that you try to stone cold bluff, draw out, or trap with. Heed my words, ye mortals, and don't anger the poker gods with that approach. This is a slam-bang hand, and if you are going to play it that's the only way.
The trouble with A-Q is that it's a hand that is strong, and yet at once it's just a little bit too easy to dominate. In Texas Holdem, dominance happens when one pair of hole cards has a card in common with another one and is also a stronger starting hand. A-Q is dominated by AA and AK. (Dominance also occurs when one player has a starting pocket pair that beats another pocket pair. AA dominates KK; 9-9 dominates 7-7.)
By going in with a large raise pre-flop, you can get some to fold, which you want. But you'll also have some "rag dolls" try to bluff you (they may think you're bluffing, too) so they will call and sweeten your pot. But...you also have the possibility of being dominated. And there's just enough possibility of that happening against A-Q that this is dangerous.
Besides the aforementioned going in with the large raise against BB, what other tricks should you use--and be leery of--with this hand?
Know how to play Ace Queen in Texas Holdem and you'll be able to take more big pot-winnings than you do now.