This is an excerpt from this webpage.

They're [novice players] also dangerous and can put you off your game. How many times have you been on Party Poker playing $1-2 No-Limit Hold 'em and raised 4x the big blind with A-K and get called by A-5 only to watch the flop come A-6-5 rainbow. "Great!", you're thinking as you reraise your clueless opponent for all his chips. You don't catch a K on the turn or river and you're left wondering why he stayed in the hand at all.

So, the flop is A-6-5 rainbow. It's implied that going all in with A-K is a good idea, but calling that with A-5 is a bad idea. Why? I mean, if we look at this from the position of the calling player:

I have an ace high two pair, so the only way the other player could already have a superior hand is if they had A-A or A-6, both of which are fairly unlikely. They can't catch a flush since the flop is rainbow, and even if they have exactly the right cards, like 4-3, they're still unlikely to get a straight. So my two pair is fairly likely to come out on top.

Now I guess you could argue that "fairly likely" doesn't justify going all in, but then why is it okay for the first player, who had A-K, to go all in? They have even worse odds.

  • 1
    As @corykendall states in this answer, I think you've misunderstood the context of what's written, regarding pre-flop and post-flop distinctions.
    – Toby Booth
    Commented Feb 3, 2013 at 21:02
  • Not only A-A and A-6 are ahead. 5-5 and 6-6 as well. Commented Apr 24, 2018 at 20:32

7 Answers 7


I think the writer is arguing that calling with A5 is a bad idea preflop, while your italicized thoughts from the callers position are talking about post flop.

Post flop, I think A5 on an A65 rainbow board is a strong hand; however preflop A5 is fairly weak.

The "Great" sentence from the excerpt is the writer putting the caller (who holds A5) on single paired Ace with a kicker less than a K (like A7, A8, ... AQ), which are each far more likely than A6 or A5.


The assumption in that text is not correct.

There isn't enough information to go on and there are perfectly good reasons for calling a single 4bb raise depending on your stack, the amount of people playing the hand, how you perceive the player, how many players are at the table and your position.

The comment is more of a rant against bad luck and bad play, especially if you don't have position (as the text seems to imply). Basically, he expected the other player to only call with AJ+ and is caught off guard when he does it with A5... Understandable but not that strange. In addition there's a bunch of other hands that could have called, like 66 or 55, and I will almost always call with A5s and A6s, especially with position.

In my opinion the All-In with AK wasn't justified as that usually gets you either a fold with the best hand or, as in the example, a call that will beat your hand.


Sounds like a live player who doesn't understand how to hand read whatsoever. The fact that he calls villain a 'novice player' but doesn't consider that such a player could flat A5 preflop is proof.

This type of player thinks that everyone should play like him (which he would consider 'playing well'). In fact, if this guy opens AK and will never fold it on a board like A65r it actually makes a really good case for flatting weaker aces (especially suited ones) in position against him - when you both hit you'll easily stack him and when you miss you'll easily be able to barrel him off of lots of hands because he won't want to look like a 'weaker player' who would make a questionable call down.

  • The math doesn't really support this. You aren't going to make two pair anywhere close to often enough for it to be pofitable to call preflop if the only way you profit is by stacking him on boards you both hit. Commented Mar 2, 2013 at 15:02

Players who are unhappy that someone with A5 called a large raise pre-flop are hopelessly focused on short-term results. Yeah, it stings when the hand plays out as in the example, but I would expect to recoup those losses many times over the long haul.

All that having been said, when I have AK and the flop comes A-5-6, I am mostly expecting that the caller of my big pre-flop raise has AQ or the like.


"Stayed in the hand at all" is referring to pre-flop call.

A5 is not that bad of a call pre-flop if it is suited. Calling 4 bb is not so good. If it was 2.5 bb it is a better call. Kind of why AK was mad as they thought 4 bb was enough to chase off A5 and A6.

  • will flop 2 pair or better about 6.88% of the time
  • will flop 2 pair or better or 8+ outs to straight or flush or better about 18% of the time

Even a single pair flop if all cards are under 10 is playable.

AK should not get all that excited. It is still only top pair. Raise 1/2 - 1 pot but I don't see going all in. Behind A6, A5, 56, 55, and 66. I think there are 54 combinations. All of those hands could call pre-flop. An overbet is only going to get called by a better hand. Might get called by AQ or AJ.

It is not a good pre-flop call but it is not a terrible call. It stacked the hero.

Slightly off calls that have ways to win often have good implied odds. Need decent sized stacks to have implied odds. Suited it could make the nut flush. It can make a straight.


I'm always slightly nervous of low cards on a flop like that. The EV on A(2-5) is pretty good if you get your straight and lots of inexperienced players will take those hands on when they shouldn't and lots of experienced players will do it if the pot odds are good.


The A-5 player played poorly before the flop. He should feel that a raiser would probably have raised with "higher" ace; that is, an ace with a side card.

The A-K player was trapped after the flop. He can't expect that the other player was helped with TWO cards of the "rainbow," and he only with one.

But if there were no ace, the A-K player should fold if the other player bets. He wasn't helped by the flop, and other player may have matched a pair of fives, or sixes, or whatever the third card was.

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