Pre-flop Poker Strategy: Playing AQ and the Like

Let's say cards are dealt and we get an AQ hand. What pre-flop poker strategy should we use with this hand? Are we still in a winning position?

An AQ hand is considered among the third strongest hand in mo-limit poker. It is followed by such hands as 9-9, 8-8, 7-7, suited AT, and suited KJ. At pre-flop, we can dare raise with such hands as A-Q and 9-9, be it coming from an early, mid, or late position as long as no player has yet raised. We make a small raise in this case, say from $1 to about $2.50, with careful consideration of what position we are in (better if we are in late position). If we're an early player, we go easy on the raise. We must also carefully note the playing mood at the table whether players are playing tight or loose.

In another example, say we have such hands as 8-8, 7-7, suited AT, or suited KJ, we can safely raise pre-flop if: our position is either in the middle or late position, no one has raised yet, and we limit our raise from $1 to $2. Should someone raise us we call. But the re-raise should be small, like our raise, and particularly on hands AQ or 9-9. An 8-8 and 7-7 may also be considered. However, other than such hands, we ought to fold with lower hands.

In the above case, we should re-think before re-raising and should only do so if the raising player is known to be a habitually poor one often doing what costs the player lots of money. Moreover, re-raising this player rids us of an opponent if we have the stronger hand, of course. When calling a raise, the raise made should be not more than 10 percent of our bankroll, and do so when we have at least a pocket pair. If the raise is below 5 percent, the urgent pre-flop poker strategy is call pronto!

These hands (AQ, 9-9, 8-8, 7-7, and suited hands of AT and KJ) are fairly strong enough. But a worthy pre-flop poker strategy to remember is that they don't stand a chance against hands that are frequently raised. In raises, an AQ is less than an AK, and pocket pairs earlier enumerated are beat by pocket T and other stronger ones.

Playing an AQ and other low hands should keep this rule: guard against rasies made on them.