Play of a Hand - AQ in a 3bet Pot

Lost & Found | estimated reading time
2011. March 12. |
These poker hand reviews are real-life examples on how different strategies work in poker, and help players to improve decision-making skills. This time we analyse how to play AQ in a 3bet pot.
$0.50/$1  No Limit Holdem
UTG  (Hero) $100
CO  $100
BTN  $325
SB  $126
BB  $100


Pre-Flop:
($1.50, 5 players) Hero is UTG with

{#Ace of diamonds}{#Queen of clubs} 
Hero raises to $3, 1 fold, BTN raises to $10.50, 2 folds, Hero calls $7.50

Flop: ($22.50, 2 players)

{#Four of hearts}{#Ten of diamonds}{#Queen of spades}  
Hero checks, BTN bets $16, Hero calls $16

Turn: ($54.50, 2 players)

{#Nine of hearts}
Hero checks, BTN checks

River: ($54.50, 2 players)

{#King of hearts}
Hero checks, BTN bets $297.15, Hero?

Let’s see how to play correctly this hand.

Pre-flop play:


Should I 4bet/call instead of just calling the 3bet?

We consider calling the 3bet a much better option with AQ. With a 4bet, you would eliminate most of the worse hads, exactly the ones against which you could realize value post-flop. Generally, it is better to call 3bets with hands like AQ/AJ, than to 4bet/call with them. To put it simple, you can get more value from these hands if you call.

Post-flop play:

As this is not a completely dry flop, a check/raise play would be preferred. If you choose a smaller raise size, your opponent will probably put you all-in, sometimes even with hands like AK or AJ. Also, he will follow you if he is holding KQ as well. Check/raise is better than check/call, as you are out of position, and risking two free cards if checked back on the turn. So check/call is not a very good option.

As played the river brought us the worst we could expect: a King. Unfortunately, this card really suits your opponent’s range. A river check/fold would be the suitable play here.


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