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Playing Axo oop

JCW Posts: 591Subscriber
Was in a $5/$5 game and this hand made me think about my Axo hands I would play oop.

A mostly unknown but seem ABC player raises UTG with to $20 and $1000 in front of him. A very Tight semi-passive player calls with $600 in front of him. Then a calling station calls behind with like $450. I am SB with ATo. It is $15 to me and I have $1000. BB didn't seem like a squeezer to me but even so, I decide to fold. I thought it was very borderline and I could have called. The calling station made me want to call but instead I tossed it. A dominated Ace oop needs to be 2P+ to win a big pot.

But it got me thinking if this was too tight. Or was right? What should be one's Ax calling range oop. Forgetting about suited Aces, In general I don't always like AJ or AQ here. I normally always call AQ but not always AJ.

So just thought I would ask others what their Ace range is when calling tight guys. Or anyone for that matter. For me, I don't like AJ from early position and even on the button I don't like less than A9. I just find so many players are out there with Any Ace and many passive players will limp AQ-Ax. Some are over limping AK a lot too.
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Comments

  • JerseyJay Posts: 181Subscriber
    Funny, ive been doing same. I folded ATo on the button to an opener and 2 callers last week. Felt dirty, but whats my plan for the hand really? Flop top pair, call, and pray? Unless you flop trips or two pair it sucks, and even then its not the nuts. Id probably rather just 3 bet as a bluff or fold.
  • sevencarddud Posts: 30Member
    In the spot you're talking about, I would call ATo (depending on how loosely the station calls down).

    If the board comes ace high and is a fairly good one to value bet ATo in a vacuum, then I think it's a good play in this spot to lead out into the field. You'll force the pfr and the tight guy to define their hands, and they can't mess around too much because the station is behind them (and protecting you). If either the pfr or tight guy call, then you probably shouldn't put any more money into the pot unless you make 2 pair (unless it's a spot where they could have a flush draw maybe).

    The times you get through those players when neither of them has an ace, then you can get value from the station. You could also check to the raiser, and fold most of the time if either the pfr or tight player bets...but if it checks through, then you lose value from the station.

    Let's look at some math and ranges: If you have ATo and an ace flops, then there are 2 aces left in the deck. So there are 25 combos of aces your opponents could hold that have you beat (8/8/8 for AK/AQ/AJ and 1 AA). Let's say the only pairs the ABC player raises UTG are TT+. There are 21 combos of pairs that you're beating when you flop an ace: 6/6/6 for JJ/QQ/KK and 3 TT. So when you flop an ace, you are ahead of the pfr's range 21/46 times which is a little less than half the time.

    The tight player's calling range is wider. Let's say they'd 3bet QQ-AA, and flat all smaller PPs, suited broadways, and suited aces (questionable assumption if they're really tight). That's 57 combos of pocket pairs (6 each for 22-JJ except TT which is 3). There are 16 combos of suited aces the tight player could have that you are beating, and the 2 suited AT that you tie. 4 suited combos each of KQ/KJ/QJ and 3 suited combos each of KT/QT/JT for a total of 21 suited broadways. 57 + 16 + 21 = 94 combos of hands you are beating. There are 24 combos of AJ-AK that have you beat (he can't have the 1 AA because no 3bet). So 94/118 times, you are ahead of the tight caller's range when you flop an ace.

    The tight player shouldn't worry you much because you're way ahead of their range when you flop an ace. You are losing money more than half the time against the PFR when you flop an ace...but the key to this whole hand is that you have to make up for those losings with the value you get from the station the times you flop the best hand.

    If the station will be peeling with any pair and all straight/flush draws, and will pay off at least 2 and maybe 3 streets with a worse ace, then you are clearly going to make enough from the station to make up for the times you lose to the tighter players.
  • sevencarddud Posts: 30Member
    I realized there are maybe 4 combos of KQ suited UTG might be raising so that'd change it to you beating their range 25/50 times which is exactly half the time. And of course some of the time the tight player has aces up with worse aces, or flops a set, so it's not quite 94/118 times that you're ahead, but still you're ahead a vast majority of the time.

    ...And there are also the times when there are 2 or more broadway cards and the UTG raiser flopped a set or one of them has a straight, but again those few combos won't change the numbers significantly (and you're smart enough not to bet an AKQ board with ATo into the field).
  • BradleyT Posts: 621SubscriberProfessional
    I'm with JCW and the fold camp. I'd rather make money being in position with the betting initiative where you don't even have to hit your hand to win.

    Even though sevencarddud's math might work out, we're playing this hand OOP which is going to make it very hard to extract value when we don't know how our opponents are going to act on an A high or T high flop.
  • Just fold or squeeze if you think theyll respect you. I'd rather squeeze and have the station call with his crap hand and then fold flop than hope for the following parlay:

    An ace flops (which usually won't happen). You donk and the Pfr doesn't have an ace. The Pfr and everyone else did not flop 2 pair+. Someone else actually has a draw etc that can pay you off. You're also able to get max value oop and avoid losing a bunch of money when you're actually behind. Most of the time one or more of these things will not cooperate.

    Basically a lot needs to happen for this to work. I'd much rather have a3s or something bc you can actually flop draws that you can wither win big with or semi-bluff.
  • whatsyourplay? Posts: 752Member
    I think folding AT here is the correct play if villains are decent unless they are opening extremely wide. The main reason is called reverse implied odds (RIO). If you don't flop an ace or a ten (which will happen most of the time), you can't proceed. And if you do hit something, you still can't bloat the pot and feel great about it. So, you'll end up
    - winning a small pot sometimes when you hit and nobody has anything,
    - loosing a medium/big pot if you hit but are dominated
    - loose your preflop investment when you miss the flop and have to give up

    The hand has very little playability postflop. I'd rather have A3s.
    If you have a clean image, though, you can consider 3betting once in a while (maybe 10-20%).

    I would start calling with AJo unless either the openraiser is really tight or you think the opponents in the hand have a significant skill advantage over you.
  • whatsyourplay? Posts: 752Member
    PokerIsFrustrating said

    Just fold or squeeze if you think theyll respect you. I'd rather squeeze and have the station call with his crap hand and then fold flop than hope for the following parlay:

    An ace flops (which usually won't happen). You donk and the Pfr doesn't have an ace. The Pfr and everyone else did not flop 2 pair+. Someone else actually has a draw etc that can pay you off. You're also able to get max value oop and avoid losing a bunch of money when you're actually behind. Most of the time one or more of these things will not cooperate.

    Basically a lot needs to happen for this to work. I'd much rather have a3s or something bc you can actually flop draws that you can wither win big with or semi-bluff.
    Just saw this after I posted. I guess I should have written "+1" instead of repeating everything PIF said. smile
  • DavidChan Posts: 1,208Pro
    I would occasionally make this preflop call if I felt that I had a crazy image versus the Villains in the hand because I could get paid off very light when I call $15 more with a plan to play very tightly and ABC postflop OOP (with good relative position).

    Usually, I would just fold ATo here. For the vast majority of subscribers, I would recommend folding ATo here 99% of the time.

    FWIW, I think this is a bad spot to squeeze. I might end up squeezing if I had some kind of live read that the PFR was weak. Barring that, I would never squeeze here.
  • TheRedKing Posts: 13Member
    I have the same kind of mindset regarding this kind of hands...

    If I get ATo+, I used to 3bet in spots like this before... it would seem like all these broadway Aces are highly likely gonna be top pair kind of hands...
    Unless of course you get a double gutter through a flop like QJ8... which is really hard to play when drawing OOP

    Being OOP later on will only get V to pay off when you hit and if they are weak... also you must have a 9+/10 image to pull off a donk or CR when you don't hit...

    Sometimes you'd think that having 2 over cards on a low flop like 723 that you could induce double or triple barrel bluffs, which can move you off a hand would be another factor to call this types of hands...

    With the many combos that you re ahead off and the 2 blockers that you have against TT+ and Abroadways... It is very enticing to 3-Bet this...

    In the end, it would all boil down to table dynamics... If you think that you are up against an ABC player with a big stack and a tight passive player with a good stack... this is not gonna be a very good spot to deal with...

    Nowadays, I think that ATo/AJo on a not so deep stacked games or even if they are deep but you know that the player is an ABC player, is better to fold and choose a better spot later on...

    You might say that it is incorrect to just flat here with AQo+ as well but sometimes we just have to play things differently... I suggest that as long as V's includes an ABC player with a stack like this... I'd flat with them in both SB or BB in this spot instead... It really works a lot when you have a tight image... because they will never put you on those hands anyway....
  • ThatOtherJeremy Posts: 314Member
    I am folding here 90%++ of the time. Just not enough potential for value, given all of the specific things that have to happen post against this set of villains. I think sevencarddud mathematical analysis is too speculative with regards to Vs EP ranges. Combinatorics are pretty secondary here. You should be asking yourself how often you expect to get much value from A10o OOp against tight and straightforward players postflop. The station in the hand isn't enough to balance out the call, without some existing dynamic that makes you think you can get called super light from multiple villains in the hand.

    Either way, I would think most of the people that post hands on here are probably good enough to pass and
    *sigh*...
    (told myself I wouldn't say it)...

    "wait for a better spot"
  • JCW Posts: 591Subscriber
    Yeah, I think the math makes a good point but doesn't take into account that I only really get to play the Turn. As I am most likely checking most flops. If it it check though to me, then I get to bet. I rarely get to be aggressive on the flop except for about 1:40 hands (a guess in ratio).

    But what I really want to talk about is the other hands AJ and AQ. Where is the line?

    I think to most of us AQ is the cut off of a call. AK is a call and perhaps a raise (but I don't know if I even like it as a raise). I think it might be too light for value and therefore I rather have a more polarized 3b range here (even if it is VERY polarized to KK-AA).

    So yeah back to AQ-AJ. Are they calls, folds, mix? Really what do people think.
  • ThatOtherJeremy Posts: 314Member
    JCW said

    Yeah, I think the math makes a good point but doesn't take into account that I only really get to play the Turn. As I am most likely checking most flops. If it it check though to me, then I get to bet. I rarely get to be aggressive on the flop except for about 1:40 hands (a guess in ratio).

    But what I really want to talk about is the other hands AJ and AQ. Where is the line?

    I think to most of us AQ is the cut off of a call. AK is a call and perhaps a raise (but I don't know if I even like it as a raise). I think it might be too light for value and therefore I rather have a more polarized 3b range here (even if it is VERY polarized to KK-AA).

    So yeah back to AQ-AJ. Are they calls, folds, mix? Really what do people think.
    A player-dependent mix. Personally I hate AJ multiway ooP as a field caller just because I am really bad at identifying the players who flat with AQ-AK, and even if I flop A and bet it, once I am called I just go into monkey-call mode the rest of the way, and level myself into folding a lot of rivers where I have faced 3 streets of betting. I 3bet this hand more than I flat but only against guys that I know play spec hands from all positions, and always open to a raise

    AQ suited I am almost always flatting because of equity realization, AQo would again fall into that blurred line that really depends on who is in the hand.
  • whatsyourplay? Posts: 752Member
    I am calling AQ for sure. Of course it's possible to end up in a setup where opponents are so strong that you can't play AQ profitably in this spot, but then it's time to table change IMO.

    I also think AJs is a call everytime as long as effective stacks are at least 80-90 BB+.

    AJo depends on who is in the hand. There are setups where it's probably a fold, but if you are facing average competition and have at least SOME reads about how villains tend to play postflop, it's a call in my book.
  • TheRedKing Posts: 13Member
    ATo and AJo is used at best against LAGs... If the table is full of them, then these cards can be used as a flat call OOP...

    Against co-TAGs and NITs... I believe that 3-Betting here around 1/3 of the time you get them, is key... Folding the rest.. hehe... treating them as if they were AQo+.... Here we have a different use for these cards... It seems that they are blockers to many broadway cards that is usually raised by TAGs...

    My thinking is that, if we have these cards, then it is less likely that they have it... This is just my opinion of course...

    With a 9+/10 image... 3-betting these hands against TAGs could probably make them fold, I suppose...

    Been winning lately with this strategy... Somehow, I am able to pull it off...laugh
  • ILYA Posts: 129Subscriber
    My AQ/AJ line in the blinds is completely dependent on raise size and my perceived tightness of the raiser.
    I will be calling $20 raise with AJ from any opener, regardless of the position of the open. AQ as well, obv.
    If a nit raises to $30 over one limper, I'm folding AJ and calling AQ almost always. In some rare exceptions, with known nits, I might fold AQ.
    If I perceive an isolation button raise (ex. $30-35) over a couple of limpers from an aggressive kid, I can call. Or I might 3-bet A9+, or like KTs.
  • JCW Posts: 591Subscriber
    I'm not taking about any suited Aces here. They are completely different animal. The range of suited Aces here that I call with might be nearly 100%.

    I am becoming more mixed about the AQo hand here. I think for such a small % of my stack it using a call, but unless the flop is AQx, QQx or KJT it is hard to play for stacks. Those flops are about 3% with the majority being the AQx... And once in a great while I will lose there to AA and QQ.

    So if I am calling only for monsters, then there is no difference between AQ and A5. But obviously AQ can win a lot more marginal spots. And at only $15 and 4 callers it isn't impossible for me to make the $500 to justify the $15 to call.

    Thinking about it this way I now am leaning to a call with ATo. It's funny how I go back and forth on this. It is just so hard to stack people oop. I mean not only do I need to hit my 3% flop but he has to have the right hand to pay me off and not beat me. I mean does KK stack off on AQx board? Maybe AK does.

    So once again I am leaning to a fold ATo to AQo. Better to call with 75o and look to stack KK.
  • ThatOtherJeremy Posts: 314Member
    JCW said

    So if I am calling only for monsters, then there is no difference between AQ and A5. But obviously AQ can win a lot more marginal spots.
    That's a pretty important differentiation.
    You are kind of employing circular reasoning, where all of the rationale for not playing the strongest hand somehow propagates reasons to call with the worst

    Then again, if everyone played this line of AJ-AQo optimally then no one would ever lose to it because it would never go to a flop. So maybe its a call now.

    my head hurts
  • whatsyourplay? Posts: 752Member
    JCW said

    I am becoming more mixed about the AQo hand here. I think for such a small % of my stack it using a call, but unless the flop is AQx, QQx or KJT it is hard to play for stacks. Those flops are about 3% with the majority being the AQx... And once in a great while I will lose there to AA and QQ.

    So if I am calling only for monsters, then there is no difference between AQ and A5. But obviously AQ can win a lot more marginal spots. And at only $15 and 4 callers it isn't impossible for me to make the $500 to justify the $15 to call.

    Thinking about it this way I now am leaning to a call with ATo. It's funny how I go back and forth on this. It is just so hard to stack people oop. I mean not only do I need to hit my 3% flop but he has to have the right hand to pay me off and not beat me. I mean does KK stack off on AQx board? Maybe AK does.

    So once again I am leaning to a fold ATo to AQo. Better to call with 75o and look to stack KK.
    I think we are mixing some different thoughts here. First, our decision to call or fold should mainly depend on how wide the ranges of our opponents are, and less so how big the raise is. The most important consideration with a hand like AJ or AT is how likely we are dominated by villains' ranges and how often we are actually dominating him. If the initial raiser opens hands like A8s or A9o, I am probably calling with AJ even if he's always openraising for 7 BB. If he's only openraising AK and JJ+ from UTG, I am folding AJ even if it's just 3 BB. Don't get me wrong, pot odds are important, but it's not the number one decision making criteria here IMO.

    Second, the question how often we are able to stack villain is not all that relevant in this spot. AJ and AT are not hands we are looking to stack somebody with. We are looking for pots where villain cbets and gives up, or we can get one or two streets of value from a weaker Ax hand, and so forth. We need to make sure that we win enough of those medium sized pots while we won't loose too much when we run into stronger hands. Only then is the preflop call +EV.
  • BarryHope Posts: 18Member
    Wouldn't the fact that the pfr is UTG be important. I would fold to a pfr in Early Position or Middle position, but 3bet a pfr who is in the CO or BU, counting on the assumption that the later the position of pfr the more likely he is "light."

    None of the posters suggested considering the position of the pfr.

    Further, it seems "weak' to me to call the pfr. I would think that if you are going to play oop then you should "pump or dump." Taking down the pf pot with a 3 bet to me would be +EV , If both the pfr and the "Station call the 3-bet I would probably fold, but if one of them folds then I am definitely going to either "donk" or C-bet.
    As a "sthort-stacker," my 3bet would probably be all-in pf and certainly on the flop.

    Does this assessment from a "rookie" have merit?
  • ThatOtherJeremy Posts: 314Member
    BarryHope said

    Wouldn't the fact that the pfr is UTG be important. I would fold to a pfr in Early Position or Middle position, but 3bet a pfr who is in the CO or BU, counting on the assumption that the later the position of pfr the more likely he is "light."

    None of the posters suggested considering the position of the pfr.

    Further, it seems "weak' to me to call the pfr. I would think that if you are going to play oop then you should "pump or dump." Taking down the pf pot with a 3 bet to me would be +EV , If both the pfr and the "Station call the 3-bet I would probably fold, but if one of them folds then I am definitely going to either "donk" or C-bet.
    As a "sthort-stacker," my 3bet would probably be all-in pf and certainly on the flop.

    Does this assessment from a "rookie" have merit?
    Not so much, IMO.
    These assessments are in consideration of 200bb, not short stack play. In the same way we don't want to speak in absolutes of "I am always calling with xxxx from xxx position", we shouldn't form absolute assumptions that an opponents raising range from UTG is ALWAYS stronger than his raising range from later positions. When the villain is described as "unknown" by JCW, we should think squeezing here would be a really bad play. Why?

    1) We know nothing about his perceived opening range from EP
    2) We stand to learn little more if we are called because we will be ooP post flop
    3) If we know nothing about his opening range, we should take the default position that he is almost always continuing with a hand that is ahead of us.

    So the question becomes, does he fold an UTG open with a marginal hand enough of the time to a blind squeeze that this play can be +EV? We don't know, therefore it seems like a really bad play at 200bb effective
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