Whether you’re grinding online poker or just having fun with friends, you need to understand many different hands if you want to improve. Learn the ins and outs of playing with ace-3 suited, a particularly testing combination.
Discover the general strengths and weaknesses of this hand, as well as learn how best to use it in different positions. Knowing how to play this tricky hand more effectively will give you an edge.
Ace-3 Suited Basics
Most beginners who are new to poker tournament strategy, often overrate ace-3 suited. It’s among the top 20% of starting hands but by no means the strongest. In fact, it’s actually one of the weakest suited hands containing an ace, only beating ace-deuce.
It does offer both flush and straight potential, which are its biggest strengths. However, it’s far from optimal. Whenever you flop top pair, you’re almost certain to be out-kicked, which can lead to all kinds of trouble.
However, this particular hand has its uses, as you’re about to discover.
Plays such as floating in poker are a great way to trick your opponents. But sometimes, things just fall your way without needing to set anything up. Ace-3 falls into this category whenever you hit the flop hard.
If you flop two pair, for example, it becomes a lovely little trapping hand. These are powerful holdings that are well-disguised, with which you can trick your opponents. You play the hand like it’s weak, hoping your opponent falls into your trap. A flop of ace-8-3 seems extremely good for someone holding ace-king, but little do they realize you’re well ahead.
Your opponent might bet more than they should if you didn’t show much aggression. If everything goes your way, you’ll find yourself in a situation where your expected value is large.
Ace-3 Suited Strategy
If you’ve studied poker for a while, you’ve probably noticed that online poker tips often differ based on table position. Your seat in casino table games like poker is important. Sitting under the gun is totally different from having the button.
Well, the same applies to this hand. As such, the following advice is separated accordingly.
If you’re in early position, you can profitably open-raise with ace-3 suited. As previously mentioned, your hand is in the top 20% of starting hands, so open-raising puts you in a good spot.
From earlier positions, you can also defend against another raise or possibly even two. It’s not unreasonable to still be in a favorable spot, although you’re effectively semi-bluffing.
If you’re folding with such hands, you’ll quickly be marked as a particularly tight player. Whether you’re sitting in online poker tournaments or live cash games, you don’t want to be too easy to read. Playing strong cards is obviously desirable, but you’ll want to mix some weaker hands into your ranges.
Middle positions are just slightly different from the early ones. You can profitably open-raise from any position with this hand, so that’s always advisable.
Depending on what kind of players you’re facing, you could even re-raise. However, you should try to avoid a 3-bet scenario in general, and almost never go for a 4-bet. While your hand is good, it isn’t strong enough to go to war.
If you face a raise when you’re in later positions, it’s going to be a pretty hard decision. In general, you can afford to call one raise, but you won’t particularly like seeing 3-bets or 4-bets.
When many players are raising, it’s unlikely that your hand will be the favorite. It becomes risky to invest a lot of chips to reach the flop. You could still call if you feel like the players that raised are playing loosely. If they’re aggressive with a wide range of hands, you might still want to invest some chips.
With differences between positions, you can clearly see the gap concept, an important part of advanced online poker tournament strategy. This concept implies that you need a better hand to call than to make a raise. Make sure you understand and apply this concept correctly in order to attain online poker tournament success.
Playing After the Flop
Finally, here are some tips on how to proceed after the flop. As always, pay attention to how your opponents are responding to the revealed cards.
If you miss the flop, it goes without saying that you mostly want to check or fold. Raising is out of the question unless you’re trying to mix some stone-cold bluffs into your range. Throwing chips around in such crazy spots is just gambling and you’d be better trying live dealer casino games such as blackjack.
Imagine the flop contains some combination of aces and 3s, so you now have two pair or trips. Here, you shouldn’t slow play, but instead start adding chips to the pot. Don’t overextend and risk scaring your opponents away too quickly. But if you aren’t betting, you’re not going to win much with your strong hands.
If you only made one pair, you can likely call a single bet, but not more than that. You’re in a good position, but not a great one. Of course, your patterns of play may vary depending on how well you read your opponents.
There’s also the option that you hit a flush or a straight. When this happens you’re sitting on a powerful hand, so you still play fast. Just keep in mind that if you make a straight, an opponent could potentially beat you with a higher one.
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You should now understand ace-3 much better and you’ll be able to use this knowledge to your advantage. If you’re looking forward to putting it into practice, why not register at BetMGM?
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