Ace-Five suited (A5s) is a powerful hand that has generated a lot of conversation in the past few years.
If you’ve ever looked at preflop ranges, you’ve likely noticed that A5s gets included in a lot of different ranges, even when some higher suited aces are not.
That’s really no surprise given it’s powerful properties:
- It has an Ace (making it less likely your opponent has an Ace).
- A5s can make the nut flush.
- It’s the strongest ace that can make a wheel straight (with both cards).
Because it’s such a cool and versatile hand, I’m going to show you how to best play it in cash games. As I usually do in these types of articles, I am going to cover preflop strategy and postflop tips for when you hit and miss the flop.
Here we go!
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How to Play Ace-Five Suited Preflop
Let’s take a look at how to play this hand preflop first!
This hand is strong enough to be open-raised from any position. A5s is too strong to fold, and limpingwould only lead to smaller pots being won on average over the long-run (you should actually never open limp with any hand).
Against a Raise
When faced with a raise, this hand is a perfect candidate for 3-bet bluffing from all positions. This is because it has high equity and equity realization (due to being able to flop flushes, straight, flush draws, and straight draws) when called, and great blockers against the villain’s continuing range preflop.
While raising is always an option, you have the option of just calling when you have this hand in the Big Blind. It’s up to you. But from all the other positions, I strongly recommend you 3-bet every time you are faced with an open-raise.
Against a 3-Bet
When faced with a 3-bet after open-raising, Ace-Five suited is a marvelous 4-bet bluff candidate for all the reasons why it’s a great 3-bet bluff candidate. Just re-read the reasons that I gave out in the previous section if you need a refresher.
Against a 4-Bet
Playing against 4-bets requires a more nuanced conversation. I will divide the scenarios into two parts:
- after we’ve 3-bet out of position and
- after we’ve 3-bet in position.
1. After 3-betting out of position and facing a 4-bet from the original raiser, the solver recommends using this hand as a 5-bet bluff shove at least some percentage of the time.
I advise you to only do this against opponents that are 4-bet bluffing enough. Given how tight many players are preflop, I think there is very high probability that you are not going to play against such an opponent at the current time.
2. After 3-betting in position against your opponent, the solver elects to call against a 4-bet some percentage of the time.
Again, I recommend you to only take this line of action if you have a strong read that your opponent is 4-betting with a balanced range, otherwise calling with A5s would be simply disastrous.
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3 Tips for Playing When You Miss the Flop (As the Preflop Raiser)
Tip #1 – Always bet when you flop any real draw.
Ace-Five doesn’t have much showdown value, which makes it a good semi-bluffing hand when you have outs to improve to a straight or flush.
That includes gutshot straight draws. This hand has the added benefit of being able to draw to the nut flush, which further incentivizes to build the pot in case the flush completes and it can cooler lower flushes.
- A♠ 5♠ on J♠ 8♠ 2♥
- A♦ 5♦ on 8♣ 4♠ 3♥
Tip #2 – Always bet when you have a backdoor flush draw.
When you have some type of backdoor equity like a backdoor straight draw or backdoor flush draw, then it’s best to bet.
This is because it will enable you to continue semi-bluffing when the turn gives you a real draw. Given that you also hold the Ace, there is an added chance that you will hit a top pair on the turn and be able to value bet for the next two streets.
- A♥ 5♥ on T♣ 7♠ 2♥
- A♣ 5♣ on Q♣ 6♦ 3♠
Tip #3 – In 3-bet pots, when the board is King-high or Queen-high, you should c-bet even if you don’t have a backdoor flush draw.
The idea here is that these boards are very favorable for your range, which means you can push your edge very hard with very small bets (about 1/3rd of the pot) with your whole range.
- A♠ 5♠ on K♦ 3♥ 3♣
- A♥ 5♥ on Q♣ 7♠ 2♦
3 Tips for Playing When You Hit the Flop
Tip #1 – When you flop top pair in a 3-bet pot, lean towards betting on the flop and checking on the turn.
On most boards, the top pair that you’ll hit will not be strong enough to value bet for three streets.
Ace-Five’s top pairs are usually worth betting two streets for value, and it’s usually better to extract this value by betting flop, checking turn, and then betting river (rather than bet, bet, checking).
This way, you can pick off some bluffs from your opponent (who may attack your check) or find yourself in a clear value-bet spot on the river after the opponent checks again. More clarity = better decisions.
Tip #2 – Never slow-play your super-strong made hands.
This tip really applies to every hand. When you have a strong hand in poker, you should almost always lean towards building the pot ASAP.
When you flop two pair, trips, a straight or a flush, you should basically always fast-play your hand.
Tip #3 – If you have top pair plus a flush draw, always double-barrel on the turn.
As previously mentioned, normally the top pairs you hit with Ace-Five will not be not strong enough to value bet with for three streets, so you should often check the turn.
But this changes when you have a flush draw to go with your top pair, especially when you are drawing to the nuts.
The addition of a flush draw pushes the value of the hand just above the threshold that makes it worth betting. This is due to the implied odds of hitting the flush (or two-pair) by the river.
Ace-Five suited is an awesome hand to hold.
It’s so dynamic and can hit disguised hands that your opponents might miss in their estimation of your strategy. You’ve now got a really strong blueprint for handling 95% of the situations you will find yourself in with this hand. Make sure you put this knowledge to good use!
That’s all for this article. I hope you enjoyed it and that you learned something new. I am looking forward to reading your feedback and replying to any questions you might have!
For more advice on how to play specific hands, check out how to play:
Till’ next time, good luck, grinders!
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