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how to play ace rag: ultimate guide

You’re for a deal with right now. I’ve put collectively probably the most in depth information on enjoying weak Ax palms. Ace-rag is a hand that will get misplayed probably the most from novice gamers, preflop and post-flop. Most cash will get misplaced as a result of gamers overvalue their prime pair, no kicker (TPNK) palms. Gamers generally really feel dedicated with their TPNK and make investments manner an excessive amount of cash into the pot. 

Since all ace-rags quantity to shut to 10% of the deck, it’s crucial to know when and the way to play them. Enjoying ace-rag will be very difficult, so we’ll talk about some methods within the subsequent chapters. Hopefully, that may cease you from burning cash in the long term.

how to play ace rag: ultimate guideAce rag are all gap playing cards consisting of an ace and 9 or a decrease card.

What precisely is ace-rag 

Defining ace-rag could be a little difficult. Do suitedness and place affect on how dangerous ace is? They do truly.

A9o OTB is taken into account nearly premium whereas we will dump it fairly simply UTG. A5s from MP is an ordinary open whereas off-suited combos are mainly unplayable. For the sake of argument, we’ll outline ace-rag as an ace with a kicker 9 and beneath.

It’s an ace with a weak kicker that can’t flop a broadway straight.

Wheel aces

Aces with a kicker between 2 and 5 are referred to as wheel aces. The one distinction between them and different rag aces is that they’ll flop a straight. That offers them a small general fairness benefit vs. “non-wheel” ace-rags. As you’ll be able to see in desk 1 A5s has 1% extra fairness than A7s, which is kinda counter-intuitive. I do know it’s only one%, however small issues add up in poker.   Fairness towards A6sA7sA8sA3sA4sA5s99+,AJs+,KQs,AQo+31.84percent31.99percent31.91percent32.44percent32.78percent33.09percentTable 1: Fairness distinction between wheel Ax and non-wheel ones, which have a better kicker.

A5 suited has better equity than A7 suitedThe A5 suited has the prospect to hit a wheel straight and has a better fairness than the A7s within the above spot.

Suited vs. off-suited ace-rag

There are 128 (out of 1326) combos of ace-rags within the deck, which quantities to 9.65% of all doable beginning palms. Solely 32 (2.4%) mixtures are available suited varieties. There are 12 mixtures of every off-suite ace and 4 of its suited counterparts. As proven in desk 2 there’s a important fairness distinction between suited and off suited mixtures. After we maintain a suited hand, the potential of making a flush will increase, which provides us higher general fairness (4%). vs.A5sA5o99+,AJs+,KQs,AQo+33.14percent29.35percentTable 2: A5s vs. A5o – distinction in fairness.

Distinction i nequity between A5s and A5o is sort of large.

Enjoyable truth: Bear in mind in-game when it generally feels such as you get dealt ace rag on a regular basis. It’s extra seemingly that you simply’re going to get ace with a rag then some other broadway card. Take, for instance, Jack rag of which there are solely 80 mixtures in comparison with 128 combos of ace rag. 


Probably the most essential attribute of suited aces is the potential of flopping nut flush or nut flush draw (FD). Primary poker likelihood tells us that we flop a flush 0.8% of the time and FD 10.09% of the time. The potential for making an enormous hand permits us to name and guess extra liberally.

Suited aces have wonderful post-flop playability, which provides them the choice to play and win large pots.  


There may be 3 occasions extra seemingly that you’ll get dealt offsuit ace then suited. Each time that you simply get dealt a hand, there’s a 7.24% probability that you’ll get off suited ace-rag.

There are extra off suited ace rags that there are pair mixtures (96 mixtures vs. 78 mixtures). Think about that! 

So now that we all know how frequent ace rag is, let’s dive proper into some technique.

Opening with an ace rag

Ace rags play principally the position of steals in a preflop RFI (increase first in) technique. Off suite, varieties serve primarily for late place steals, when you can open Ax suited from any place in a 6max money recreation. You’ll be able to play them from EP as a result of their suitedness provides them sufficient of a preventing probability towards our opponents’ calling ranges.

Having an excellent preflop choice of Ace rags can prevent loads of troubles and cash post-flop. The Web is flooded with free open elevating charts, so go forward and end up one. They arrive fairly useful at the start as a result of they prevent loads of pondering time.

Defending and chilly calling with ace rag

Ace rags are nice BB defend palms due to their excessive uncooked fairness versus opponents opening ranges. Issues with that uncooked fairness are that it’s robust to comprehend it. As an instance that, let’s have a look at a easy instance. CO opens, and we defend with A5o from BB. Flop brings a T83 rainbow. Though we flop completely nothing, we nonetheless have nearly 30% fairness vs. COs vary. That’s as a result of he’ll nonetheless have palms like K7s, QJ, 67s, A2s that/which we beat. The issue arises if he decides to cbet as a result of we must dump our 30% hand.

Giving up with ace-rag out of positionit’s laborious to proceed whenever you miss the flop out of place along with your weak ace excessive. The proper transfer, if confronted with a guess, is to fold and keep away from robust spots on later streets.

Suited aces are nice to have in your chilly calling vary.

We will play with loads of suited aces in place versus opens. Chilly calling with Ax suited is rather more interesting in multi-table tournaments (MTTs) then the money recreation setting. Pots aren’t raked in MTTs, and the presence of ante provides you a large number higher odds when calling.

Re-raising with an ace rag

Suited Ax is among the prime 3bet bluff candidates. The facility of 3beting suited ace X is that it has stable playability when referred to as, and it blocks our opponent’s sturdy palms. For a extra easy illustration of the way to embrace Axs into your 3beting vary, let’s have a look at a typical scenario.

We sit OTB with 100 BB and face a CO increase. Our 3beting vary ought to encompass all sturdy palms and a few bluffs. As demonstrated within the image beneath we will see that loads of our bluffs come from suited Ax. Suited wheel aces are particularly favored due to their means to flop flushes, straights, and all types of attracts. Additionally they present us with good board protection* on low runouts. 
(* how a lot of a board do our gap playing cards cowl postflop. On this situation on 459 we’d have not less than a gutshot straight draw, or perhaps a pair)

Suited Ax, particularly low ones, are additionally nice 4bet bluff candidates however, in fact, with a lot decrease frequency since our worth 4bet vary is of course narrower.

3bet hands IcmizerA few of the palms aren’t 3bet on a regular basis, that’s why they don’t seem to be absolutely stuffed with coloration.

You’ll be able to discover that within the vary chart, not all frames are absolutely crammed. That simply signifies that we don’t 3bet them with 100% frequency. For instance, in our situation, with A9s, we 3bet 75% of the time whereas A6s solely 25%. 

Ace blocker

Ace blocker is a card that reduces some variety of combos in our opponent’s vary, both preflop or post-flop. Let’s see how the Ace blocker reduces the probabilities of our opponents having a robust hand.

As you’ll be able to see in Desk 3, having an ace blocker dramatically reduces the variety of sturdy Ax mixtures from our opponent’s vary. After we maintain an ace, it’s 25% much less seemingly that our opponent holds these sturdy aces. It’s half as seemingly that our opponent has AA once we maintain Ax. 

Preflop handReduction of combosAKfrom 16 to 12AKo, AQo, AJofrom 12 to 9AKs, AQs, AJsfrom 4 to 3AAfrom 6 to 3Table 3

Holding Ace blocker doesn’t simply affect the hand preflop but additionally post-flop. With Ax, We’re considerably lowering our opponent’s prime worth vary. By holding an ace, we scale back the general probabilities of our opponent holding a really sturdy Ax hand by 35%. Our hand = A4sFlop = AT3rAK, AQ, AJfrom 12 to 8A3 or ATfrom 18 to 12AAfrom 3 to 1Overallfrom 57 to 37Table 4: A4s reduces the possibilities an opponent has hit a robust prime pair by 35% on sure A excessive boards.

Postflop with an ace rag

With an ace-rag, most cash will get torched post-flop. Gamers get married to their TPNK (prime pair, no kicker) palms and are unwilling to allow them to go. In my poker profession, I’ve seen numerous occasions when gamers simply station down TPNK with out even a lot thought. This error will get particularly punished in CG (money video games) since play is far deeper on common then MTTs.

With these sorts of medium-strength palms, it is best to play small pots not large.

Pot management 

When flopping an ace with a weak kicker, your fast thought ought to be pot management. That signifies that usually, you don’t need to inflate the pot along with your weak to medium power palms.

Pot controlling with top pair

Let’s have a look at a widespread instance the place you increase CO with A5s and get a chilly name from an excellent opponent OTB. The flop brings the A83r. Sure, we flopped prime pair, however do we actually need to begin with betting and go for 3 streets. I don’t suppose so. Attempt to think about palms that may name our triple barrel that we beat unimproved. There are mainly none. The villain will nonetheless have loads of stronger aces, two pairs, and units. Our hand is powerful sufficient to get one, max two streets of worth. After we verify our prime pair, we don’t simply pot management however permit our opponent to begin bluffing. 

Bluff catching 

Giving our opponents the chance to bluff when we’ve got a bluff catcher is often a really good thought. Arms like TPNK fall in that class. Let’s have a look at an instance hand. We increase A4s from CO, and BB defends. Flop is AT8r, and we determined to pot management and verify again. Our opponent picks the initiative and begins betting on a 3x flip and 5x river. OTR (on the river), we face a choice to name or not with our TPNK. Since we block our opponent’s worth vary (principally two pairs) and unblock his potential bluffs like KJ, QJ, J9, we’ve got a fairly straightforward name versus most villains. It’s truly higher to have A4 there then AJ as a result of we actually need to see that Jack in villains hand. 

Semi bluffing

With suited aces, we’ll apart from apparent nut flush draw flop loads of gutshots and backdoor potential.

Backdoor straight and nut flush attracts are nice flop bets since we will put loads of stress when a good flip hits.

On the primary look it appears we’ve got nothing. However we will get many attracts on the flip. Adequate spot to cbet, as opponent folding is a superb outcome too.

Think about a situation whenever you increase with A2ss from HJ and face BB defend. Flop brings Kd8c5s. At first look, we flop nothing, however any spade provides us a flush draw and each 4 or 3 straight attracts. That apart from vary benefit** provides us sufficient causes to soundly cbet.

**Scenario the place our vary is stronger than our opponents.

Taking ace excessive to the showdown 

Ace excessive is definitely a legit hand that may win you some pots. Particularly versus passive opponents, it’s generally a good suggestion to simply take your ace excessive to a showdown. This principally applies in spots the place we anticipate villains by no means to fold a greater hand, however there’s nonetheless an inexpensive probability that our ace excessive is sweet. An instance of that might be checking down A7 on K8464. Realizing your fairness with ace excessive is far simpler within the place since you might be final to behave.

Energy of Ace-rag with the quick stack

A quite common scenario in MTTs is that you end up quick stacking with 10 bbs. It’s mainly do or die time. And imagine it or not, ace-rag will be the reply to your issues. Within the subsequent instance, one can find out subsequent how sturdy ace-rag is briefly stacked poker. 

In our situation*** hero has 10BB. We need to know what sort of ace-rag we will shove from varied positions. With the assistance of a push/fold software -Icmizer, we simulated a mannequin for each place. In our mannequin, we used somewhat bit tighter calling ranges that Nash equilibrium**** would recommend because the inhabitants in small stakes tournaments overfolds. That merely signifies that we will push wider since our all-ins have extra fold fairness. For simpler illustration, I created a desk with outcomes. 

Position0.2 bb +A2oA8oA5sA9sUTGAJ+;ATs+-0.49-0.310.060.18UTG+1AT+;A8s+-0.35-,A3s+-,A2s+, A2s+0.420.870.921.4BTNA2o+, A2s+0.841.391.31.83SBA2o+, A2s+1.531.981.882.29Table 5: Many palms acquire greater than 0.2bb, whereas the worst aces lose somewhat.

You’ll be able to see what number of mixtures there are that acquire +0.2bb per hand. As a result of in spite of everything, we need to make some cash in the long term and never take each excessive variance spot. It’s very straightforward to note how our EV will increase with the place. A5s barely makes any chips UTG whereas it completely prints OTB.

Axs develop into shove sooner due to its suitedness will increase all-in fairness of the hand (Bear in mind Desk 2). Most of our EV once we shove weak aces come from our opponent’s folds. And since our ace blocks their calling vary, they’ll fold extra typically. After we shove A9s UTG, we anticipate our opponents to fold round 55% of the time, gaining us humongous 2.3bb (blinds and antes). However within the different 45% once we get referred to as, we nonetheless have round 35% fairness.

The EV modifications with the place as a result of there are fewer opponents to undergo, which means that there’s much less seemingly that any individual will get up with a hand. The rationale why a hand as A8o from CO has such a excessive EV is as a result of we anticipate to get referred to as by loads of worse palms like KQ, QJs, A4s, or flips (22-77). 

*** MTT with ante

**** When gamers attain equilibrium they each play optimally vs. one another and acquire nothing from deviating from equilibrium technique 


To grasp a play with ace rag takes loads of expertise and observe. Everyone at the start of their poker journey badly misplays loads of ace-rag palms. So don’t fear an excessive amount of in the event you mess up a hand, it occurs to all people. However you need to study out of your errors and overcome them. I discovered the laborious manner, so that you hopefully don’t must. If nothing else, I need you to remove these foremost bullet factors. Simply following these pointers can save and win you some huge cash in the long term.

Ace rags are principally preflop steal palms: Steall with suited aces from ep and add off suited varieties from late place in 6max video games
Play small pots: Pot management post-flop rather a lot
Nice 3/4bet candidates: Specifically suited wheel aces
Ace rag is stable hand when quick stack: Study push/fold methods