Playing Ace-Rag From Out of Position
Here's a tournament hand in which I find myself playing ace-rag from out of position — not exactly the best spot in which to be.
We were pretty deep-stacked (about 130 big blinds deep) and with the blinds at 75/150 a good, young player raised to 375 from the cutoff. I had in the big blind and defended with a call.
As I note in the video below, ace-six offsuit is not a good hand to play, especially when out of position, but to a small open like this one (2.25x) it is probably worth defending. The problem is is often going to make a lot of marginal holdings at best, which you obviously don't want when first to act.
The flop came to pair my six. I could see leading on a more coordinated board with my middle pair (or with good draw), but on a dry board like this checking makes more sense. Especially when out of position, I want to keep the pot manageable if I can.
My opponent bet 500 and I called, and the turn brought the . I checked again, and this time my opponent checked behind, suggesting I probably had the best hand at this point.
The river was the and I checked, and my opponent bet 1,100 into the pot of just under 1,900. At this point I have to assess the likelihood of my opponent — whom I have marked as a good player — bluffing on this river. Take a look below to hear my analysis and see what happened:
So ace-rag worked out for me after all in this instance. Note how I took into consideration as well how passively I'd played the hand up to the river, which tends to encourage opponents to bluff more.
Jonathan Little is a professional poker player and author with over $6,700,000 in live tournament earnings. He writes a weekly educational blog and hosts a podcast at JonathanLittlePoker.com. You can follow him on Twitter @JonathanLittle.