Like it’s brother Ace-Five suited, Ace-Four suited has become a quite trendy hand in recent years.
That’s because it has so much potential. Ace-Four can hit the strongest top pair, disguised straights, and nut flushes.
In this article, I am going to help you get closer to playing this hand like the top pros do. Here’s what you’re about to learn:
- How to Play Ace-Four Suited Preflop
- 3 Tips for When You Miss the Flop (As the Preflop Raiser)
- 3 Tips for When You Hit the Flop
Let’s dive in!
How to Play Ace-Four Suited Preflop
Let’s take a look at how to play this hand preflop first!
Note that I’ll be writing out the hand as Ace-Four suited and using the shorthand version (A4s) interchangeably.
Ace-Four suited is a very strong hand that should be raised from every position (even if there are 9-10 players at the table).
Against a Raise
This hand should almost always be played when facing a raise, usually as a 3-bet, assuming that no huge raise sizes are involved. The only exception is when you’re up against an early position raise while seated in early position yourself — you can fold sometimes in that situation.
If you’re in any position between the Lojack and the Small Blind, I recommend 3-betting. Ace-Four suited is a staple merged 3-bet hand which plays a key role in all of these ranges. It has good equity when called, good blockers to the calling range because of the Ace, and great playability! What more can you ask for?
From the Big Blind, you should usually 3-bet Ace-Four suited against all positions. It’s a great semi-bluffing hand to balance out the stronger hands in these 3-betting ranges. You can also call with it sometimes, especially if you’re up against a very tight range.
Against a 3-Bet
As versatile as Ace-Four suited is, you can only continue with it sometimes against a 3-bet. What matters most is the range of the 3-bettor.
For example, when you are playing from the Lojack or Middle Position against a 3-bet from a player who has position on you, you should fold Ace-Four suited because it is simply too weak against those 3-betting ranges, assuming they are playing a decent preflop strategy. You also have better 4-bet bluff candidates from those positions.
If you up against a 3-bet from one of the blinds, you have the extra edge of being in position, which pushes Ace-Four suited over the threshold to become a profitable continue (either by calling or 4-betting). Again, be wary of your opponent — you can always play more cautiously and fold if you perceive them to be very tight.
When you are seated in the Cutoff or Button, however, you should always defend with this hand because the range of the 3-bettor is much wider, thus weaker.
- From the Cutoff, you will want to mix between 4-betting and calling since it works great in both lines.
- From the Button, you will want to only call because the hand is much stronger and there are better 4-bet bluff candidates in your Button raising range.
Against a 4-Bet
Here is a simple rule: always fold Ace-Four suited versus 4-bets when playing low stakes online or low-mid stakes live. A4s has simply too little equity and too little playability to be a profitable call against the fairly A-B-C players at lower stakes.
If you are playing in high-level games such as $5/$10 online, however, A4s is a great candidate for 5-bet bluff shoving in very wide range spots. I’ve seen many top players use this hand (and Ace-Five suited) to 5-bet shove in a blind vs blind preflop battle, or from the Small Blind after facing a 4-bet by the Button.
The hand works great as a 5-bet bluff because it folds out a few better Ace-high hands (such as AQo/AJo), while also having extra equity from being able to make straights and flushes.
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3 Tips for Playing Ace-Four Suited When You Miss the Flop (As the Preflop Raiser)
Tip #1: Always c-bet out of position when the flop has two broadway cards in blind vs blind battles
Double broadway flops (such as K-Q-5 or Q-J-7) are very favorable for the Small Blind when playing against the Big Blind in a single raised pot. The Small Blind has many more top pairs, and also stronger top pairs, than the Big Blind (since the Big Blind 3-bets the strongest broadway hands preflop). The Small Blind also has the overpairs and high sets which the Big Blind can’t have. Moreover, the Big Blind has a wider and weaker range overall.
When these flops fall, the Small Blind is incentivized to c-bet his entire range for a small size to deny the Big Blind’s equity in the lower regions of his range. A secondary benefit is extracting the occasional thin value from a lot of marginal hands that the Big Blind is forced to defend with due to minimum defense frequency (MDF) implications.
Tip #2: When you’re in position in a single raised pot, you should always c-bet with a backdoor straight draw or backdoor flush draw.
On the flop, you almost always have the range advantage due to how many overpairs, better top pairs, and generally stronger missed hands you have in your range compared to the Big Blind.
For this reason, you are looking for any little excuse to add hands to your betting range that balance the enormous value range that you possess. A4s with a backdoor draw of any kind is perfect for this job.
Tip #3: In multiway pots, you should always check if there is one player who has position on you
It doesn’t matter if you have the nut flush draw or just an overcard. Because the player who called in position typically has a capped but condensed range, the frequency at which he has medium and strong hands is high. Even though you might have some sets and overpairs that he cannot have, his set density (i.e. the percentage of his range that is a set) is higher than yours.
Your overall equity is also much lower when multiway and your playability with a player behind is dampened. For all these reasons, you should simply check your entire range and play sensibly afterward.
3 Tips for Playing Ace-Four Suited When You Hit the Flop
Tip #1: Play cautiously with top pair in multiway pots, and check often on the flop
Your top pair is great on the flop in a heads-up pot, but there’s a big drop off in equity when 3 or more players saw the flop.
It’s even worse when there are 2 or more players on the turn that called your flop bet because the burden of defense is dispersed to more than one player, which means that each player gets to fold more often. So, when they do call, they have significantly stronger ranges than they would have in a heads-up pot.
For all of these reasons, your best bet is to simply check on the flop, especially when there is a player with position on you.
Tip #2: Almost always fast-play your nutted hands
I’m talking about hands like trips, straights, and flushes. When you have one of the best possible hands, you should almost always bet and try to build the pot. You want to win as much money as possible, and the way to do that is by going for value for three streets. Getting “trappy” with a check will only cost you money in the long-run.
Tip #3: When you flop top pair with the Ace in a single raised pot, you should often check back
Top pair with a weak kicker is usually a two street kind of value hand, meaning that you can’t value bet it three times and expect to get called by a worse hand often enough.
When this is the case, checking back on the flop with such a top pair is a good choice. You can go for value on the turn, or be ready to bluff-catch should your opponent start betting himself.
This is all you need to know to play Ace-Four suited better than 95% of the players out there
I hope you enjoyed today’s article! I am looking forward to reading your feedback and replying to any questions you might have!
Want some hand analysis next? Check out Did Doug Polk Screw Up? Elite Poker Pro Nick Petrangelo Breaks It Down.
Till’ next time, good luck, grinders!
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