Poker players either love or hate Ace Queen. But when you know how AQ actually hits boards, and can plan accordingly, this hand becomes easier to play. So push play and let’s discuss how Ace Queen really works, and give you some tips for playing the hand better.

Welcome to another video in The Science of Poker series, where we meticulously analyze popular starting hands to enhance your performance with them.

Today, we will focus on Ace Queen, a hand that is adored by some players and detested by many others. Those who harbor negative sentiments towards this hand often do so due to a few specific reasons…

Why Poker Players Hate Ace Queen

Firstly, Ace Queen occupies a position towards the lower end of the top-tier hands. It’s very strong, but still dominated by hands like QQ+ and Ace King.

Secondly, AQ is the strongest unpaired starting hand that can hit second pair on the flop, as Ace King can’t even do that.

Thirdly, Ace Queen possesses enough strength to warrant an aggressive preflop approach, but determining the appropriate response to a 3-bet (or 4-bet) can be challenging, particularly in the context of tournament play.

What To Expect With AQ

Understanding what to expect from Ace Queen is also crucial.

In your poker database, Ace Queen should undeniably be a profitable hand, provided you have a sufficient sample size.

But your winrate with it is heavily impacted by your preflop decision-making skills.

Furthermore, obtaining three streets of value with top pair against non-fishy opponents can be difficult.

Ace Queen With Poker Chips

How Does Ace Queen Hit Flops?

Now that we have covered these aspects, let us delve into Flopzilla Pro and explore how Ace Queen actually hits on different flops.

Since Ace Queen can be obtained in two variations – offsuit or suited – we will analyze both scenarios.

Starting with AQo, we can observe the frequency with which it hits particularly strong hands such as two pair. This occurs approximately 4% of the time.

If we consider the occurrence of single-pair hands, including middle pair, we find that it catches that around 29% of the time.

Additionally, when we factor in draws, including gutshots, we notice that roughly 14% of the time AQo will flop some sort of draw.

Comparatively, in the case of suited Ace Queen, these percentages increase slightly to approximately 52% overall, largely with more inclusion of flush draws as a possibility.

What’s The Difference Between AQs and AQo?

There isn’t a huge difference between the suited and unsuited variants of Ace Queen. Both hit single-pair hands roughly 29% of the time, but AQs gets a slight bump in smashes since it can flop a made-flush (1% of the time). AQs also flops more draws (since AQo rarely flops a flush draw) bringing the total hits of AQs up to 52% compared to 45% with AQo.

Flop Textures When Holding Ace Queen

It is essential to not only contemplate how various starting hands perform on flops overall but also to consider the specific characteristics of potential flops.

Ace Queen frequently flops top pair, but you must be mindful of the board’s connectivity.

There is a significant disparity between having Ace Queen on a rainbow flop like Q84 and having it on a flop like QJ9 with a flush draw present.

Another category in which Ace Queen enjoys success is draws. When Ace Queen flops a draw, it will have one, if not two, overcards to the board. Even with a gut shot, holding Ace Queen suited has a single overcard on a board like K76 with potential backdoor flush draw, or Ace Queen on a JT4 board, which again offers two overcards and a gut shot, provides flexibility and an increase in equity.

In such situations, continuation past the flop is usually a wise choice.

What About When AQ Misses?

It is important to note that even when Ace Queen fails to connect, either resulting in a weak draw or a mere Ace-high hand, it still retains a substantial amount of equity against opponents.

For instance, if you input Ace Queen into Flopzilla Pro and a board like T72 with potential backdoor draws but lacking any significant strength at the moment, you will still possess a considerable chunk of equity against the opponent’s assumed range of hands.

Even if we alter the board and eliminate the backdoor draw, Ace Queen still maintains solid equity.

Many players make the mistake of throwing this equity away too easily and overfold, especially on the flop. Don’t fall for this trap and don’t play AQ too weak/passive on earlier streets.

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Ace Queen Tips

Considering all this, here are some general tips to enhance your gameplay with Ace Queen and make better decisions overall.

Firstly, in terms of preflop strategy, avoid limping and instead favor more aggressive approaches. While this may seem obvious to most players, it is worth mentioning as a reminder for newer players.

Secondly, it is usually favorable to 3-bet these hands preflop. This can be verified by referring to The GTO Ranges App from Red Chip Poker, where you will notice that three-betting with both AQs and AQo is a prevailing strategy in 6-max games across all positions.

Even in live games, three-betting with offsuit Ace Queen is a default strategy.

Although it may not be the absolute strongest starting hand, it is crucial to remember that calling should not be the default option. Instead, prioritize 3-betting more frequently unless your opponent exhibits an extremely nitty playing style.

My third suggestion is to continue often when facing three-bets.

While novice players tend to fold Ace Queen when facing such preflop aggression, this is a significant misstep.

Skilled opponents will quickly notice your propensity for folding against 3bets and exploit it to their advantage.

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