ace-nine offsuit

How to Play Ace-Nine Offsuit In Cash Games

Ace-Nine offsuit (A9o) is a solid hand. It’s certainly not great, but it can feel like Pocket Aces when you’ve been dealt trash for hours.

While A9o is playable in many situations, you need to know exactly when and how to play it. That’s what this article will cover.

Let’s begin!

How to Play Ace-Nine Offsuit Preflop

Whenever you consider playing a marginal hand before the flop, it’s crucial to consider the positions at play.

Here are the positions that will be referenced in this section:

positions for ace queen 3-betting reference

Note: Keep in mind that all of this advice assumes you’re playing in a standard (no ante) cash game with table rake. If you’re playing in a game with no rake and/or antes, you can play looser than the following advice.

Unopened Pots

Ace-Nine offsuit is a marginal hand that can be raised in certain situations. When the action folds to you, you can profitably open-raise with Ace-Nine offsuit from the Cutoff, Button, and Small Blind.

If you’re in any of the earlier positions, let this one go.

Against an Open-Raise

Once another player has shown initiative by raising, the value of Ace-Nine offsuit shrivels up.

You can profitably call this hand against a raise when you are in the Big Blind, and only when the player who raised is seated in the Cutoff, Button, or Small Blind. In every other situation, this hand should hit the muck against a raise.

Against a 3-Bet

When you raise and face a 3-bet, you should always fold with Ace-Nine offsuit. It is simply too weak to call, and you have better candidates to 4-bet bluff (like Ace-Five suited).

Now, let’s get into some postflop advice.

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3 Tips For Playing When You Hit The Flop With Ace-Nine Offsuit

The following 3 tips are for when you flop a pair or better with Ace-Nine offsuit.

Tip #1: Always bet with a top pair of Nines

When you have top pair top kicker with Ace-Nine on a Nine-high flop, your hand is very strong. With this hand class, you should bet to make the pot bigger since you likely have the best hand.

Depending on what cards fall on the turn and river, you can even go for multiple streets of value with this hand.

Example: You open-raise from the Cutoff with Ah 9s and the Big Blind called. The flop comes 9c 7c 3h. You should always fire a bet (I’d suggest 75% pot) in this situation, looking to get called by a variety of worse made hands and draws that the Big Blind can have.

A secondary benefit of betting is denying equity. Forcing your opponent to fold a hand like Queen-high on that 9c 7c 3h flop is a win for your Ace-Nine because the turn very well may have been a Queen!

Tip #2: Mix between betting and checking with a top pair of Aces

Hitting top pair on an Ace-high flop is significantly different than a Nine-high flop. There are two huge differences:

  1. Your hand has a worse kicker (i.e. you have top pair medium kicker instead of top pair top kicker)
  2. No overcards on future streets can reduce your top pair to second pair

The first difference should make you less inclined to build the pot (because your opponent might have you outkicked). The second difference means your hand requires less protection.

As a result, solvers are often indifferent between betting and checking on the flop with Ace-Nine on an Ace-high flop. A good rule of thumb is to bet 50% of the time and check 50% of the time.

Tip #3: Always bet your two pairs and trips

Fast-play your strongest hands.

I repeat: Fast-play your strongest hands.

When you have Ace-Nine on a board like [Ac] 9s 7d or 9c 9d 6s, you simply must bet (or raise when facing a bet). Checking back to “trap” will cost you money in the long run.

You have an extremely strong hand that wants to increase the pot immediately. You will make more money, on average, by playing aggressively.

3 Tips For Playing When You Miss The Flop With Ace-Nine Offsuit

More often than not, you’ll miss the flop with Ace-Nine offsuit. These tips will help you navigate those situations.

Tip #1: Check back when you have a marginal hand with showdown value

When you have a marginal hand like a middle pair, bottom pair, or Ace-high, you should lean toward checking back.

These hands don’t benefit much from betting since, by doing so, you will often force folds from worse hands and get called by better ones. That’s the opposite of what you want when betting!

Example: You raise with As 9c and the Big Blind calls. The flop comes Td 9d 3h and the Big Blind checks. This is an ideal check hand.

Tip #2: Bluff when you have the nut backdoor flush draw

Example: You have As 9h on a Qs 7s 2d flop.

Having the nut flush draw card is powerful. Not only can you hit runner-runner to make the nut flush, but you also have a key blocker.

By having that card, you eliminate the possibility that your opponent has the nut flush when the third card of the same suit rolls off. This gives you massive amounts of leverage on later streets.

This hand also has low showdown value and an overcard with the Ace. That all adds up to a great c-betting candidate.

Tip #3: Mix between betting and checking with a straight draw

Example: You have As 9h on a Ts 8d 7c flop.

Straight draws (open-ended and gutshots) are great bluffing hands. They have a good chance of becoming a nutted hand on the turn or the river.

That being said, if you’d always bet with these draws, two things would happen:

  1. Your checking range would be left unprotected on the straight completing turn cards (i.e. you’d never have a straight after checking)
  2. Your turn range after the c-bet would become too strong on the straight completing card (i.e. you’d have “too many” straights in your range after betting)

For these reasons, mixing it up is the way to go, especially if you play in tough games with the same people.

If your opponents are weak players who are unlikely to exploit your imbalances, you can lean toward the aggressive action.

Final Thoughts

There’s your 5-minute guide to crushing it with Ace-Nine offsuit!

Make sure you don’t stray too far away from the tips I provided and you’ll be ahead of most of the competition.

If you have any questions or feedback, please let me know in the comment section down below!

Ready for another starting hand guide? Check out How to Play Eight-Six Suited in Cash Games.

Till’ next time, good luck, grinders!

Note: Improve your skills with every hand in any spot with the Lucid GTO Trainer. Learn more now!


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About the Author
Dan B.

Dan B.

Online grinder aspiring to reach the highest stakes and crush the toughest games. I'm available for quick strategy questions and hourly coaching -- reach out to me at [email protected].

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