How To Play Ace-Queen: The Worst Best Hand in Poker

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An extreme closeup of the corners of an Ace and a Queen playing card with three gold and silver coins next to them.
BetMGM Sep 11, 2023, 10:33 AM

Poker players don’t see too many hands as strong as the powerful ace-queen combination. Which is why nobody wants to squander this golden opportunity when it comes along. 

Check out these easy-to-follow tips that will help you avoid the most common ace-queen mistakes. Discover how to utilize the hand correctly, both preflop and postflop, whether playing online poker or in a live environment. 

How Good Is Ace-Queen?

Almost every poker player knows that ace-queen is one of the best Texas Hold’em starting hands. How could it not be? The ace in poker is the strongest card of all, while the queen is the third-highest card in the deck.

Nevertheless, this hand is not flawless and is often considered the worst best hand in poker. Think about it. When you show aggression with this hand, what action are you likely to get? It’s quite likely that you’ll be up against other strong holdings. And ace-queen never has much equity when running into other premium hands. 

For example, against ace-ace, you’ll only have a 13% chance of winning. Ace-queen beats hands like ace-king, king-king, and queen-queen around 30% to 34% of the time. Even with two overcards, you’ll only beat jack-jack about 46% of the time. 


Your preflop poker strategy, not only with ace-queen, should always consider your opponents’ tendencies. Pay attention to the range of hands they’re betting with to understand what type of player they are. Are they tight? Do they bluff a lot? All of this is valuable information that shapes your strategy.

Further, preflop decisions depend greatly upon the action before it’s your turn to act. Take a look at some scenarios.

Unopened Pot and First Raise

Say that you’re first to open or there was just a single raise ahead of you. In both scenarios, your best course of action is to raise. Anything else is just wrong in this scenario. 

Limping in — simply calling the blind — will result in smaller pots, meaning fewer chips for the winner. Since you’re holding ace-queen, you should fancy your chances of taking this pot down, so look to build something worth winning. For the same reason, folding should obviously be out of the question.


If you’re facing a 3-bet, then two reasonable choices are available to you. The first is simply to call, which is fine if you like to play more conservatively. 

On the other hand, if you like to make riskier plays, you can re-raise and look to take the pot down there and then. 

This choice becomes more reasonable when the player who raised before you has a tighter range. In that case, blockers become more important. The combination of ace and queen in poker is good at that. It blocks ace-ace and queen-queen, as well as some combinations of ace-king.


Typically, you’ll want to fold when facing a 4-bet preflop. Why would you do that with such a good hand? With that level of aggression before you, how can you be good?

Assume one player is bluffing or playing with an extremely wide range of hands. What are the chances that the other players in the hand are doing the same? 

The more likely scenario is that at least one person has a truly premium hand. And as previously explained, ace-queen doesn’t do well against other top hands. That’s why your best option is to simply fold.

Relative Stack Sizes

Here’s one scenario where you don’t necessarily want to fold ace-queen against a 4-bet. It’s more applicable to live and online poker tournaments than cash games. Nevertheless, it’s still important. 

Say that you’re deep in the tournament, and your opponents have small stacks. Such players will be more comfortable 3-betting with wider ranges. This means that ace-queen might still be a favorite, so you can afford to call more liberally.


The beauty of Hold’em is how quickly things can change. As soon as that flop hits the board, the strongest of cards can instantly become the worst poker hands. As such, it’s massively important to constantly reevaluate your position after the flop.

When Things Go Well…

If you hit the flop, you’re in excellent shape. Two pair or better would be amazing. But even a pair of aces or queens with a strong kicker is more than enough to get busy with. Therefore, you want to extract value by betting, raising, and building a pot.

However, if the flop is connected, you’re more vulnerable to straights or flushes, so proceed more cautiously. Perhaps the better option here is to call and assess how things play out before pushing too hard. You can always return to the more aggressive queen-ace poker strategy on the turn if needed.

…And When They Don’t

Sometimes, things just don’t go your way, and you’ll miss the flop. How should you proceed? This also depends on whether the board is connected or not. 

If it isn’t, you’re still in a fine position and should continue betting. Given your preflop aggression, you have the initiative, and a standard c-bet will often be enough to win the pot.

Of course, the opposite is also true. If the board is connected, consider a check. It’s fairly standard for players to check to the aggressor anyway, so you might get a free look at the turn card. If it completes a straight or a flush, you can now think about ditching your ace-queen. 

If you’re playing in-person events instead of online poker games, poker tells may also come into the equation. If a person is showing extreme strength, they might actually be weak. If that’s the case, a bluff could get them to fold. 

Put Theory Into Practice

Now you know how to play one of the best poker hands in theory. But, as they say, practice makes perfect. The more you play, the more experience you’ll gain, and the better your results will become. 

Put your theory into practice and register with BetMGM, where you’ll find many popular poker variants, including Texas Hold’em. In addition to cash games and tournaments, you can hit the roulette and blackjack tables and play hundreds of video slots.

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Our BetMGM editors and authors are casino experts with a wealth of knowledge of the online casino industry at all levels. Their coverage includes company news, game reviews, how-to instructional articles, strategy guides, and editorials showcasing BetMGM’s superior product and game library.

Our BetMGM editors and authors are casino experts with a wealth of knowledge of the online casino industry at all levels. Their coverage includes company news, game reviews, how-to instructional articles, strategy guides, and editorials showcasing BetMGM’s superior product and game library.