Seven Card Stud – 3rd Street Ace Blocker Play

Some poker friends and I have discussed re-raising an ace that completes in a steal when all we essentially have is an ace blocker in the hole. For example, suppose we have (4A)Q and we are the last card before the bring-in. When an ace completes he is often on a steal and our ace makes it less likely he does have aces so there is a good chance we can win the pot through sheer aggression most likely either on 3rd or 5th street.

A few potential problems with this strategy:

  • While it certainly blocks pairs of aces it actually “unblocks” other continuing hands such as pairs (with an ace kicker), three flushes, and broad-way draws.  So the removal effect is not as pronounced as one would hope.
  • With Ace dead
    Pair of or trip aces 8.2%
    Pocket pair 5.9%
    Three flush 5.1%
    KQo, KJo, KTo 3.0%
  • Without Ace dead
    Pair of or trip aces 12.0%
    Pocket pair 5.6%
    Three flush 4.9%
    KQo, KJo, KTo 2.8%
  • Assuming these are the continuing ranges the dead ace only makes it 13% less likely a player will continue. However, more often a player will continue lighter which makes the percentage difference smaller.
  • Your equity versus the continuation range is quite bad.  Folding against a re-raise is bad for your image but you only have around 16% equity versus AA such it’s not quite a plum spot regardless.
  • Players typically battle hard and get sticky against someone raising an ace.  Even a tight passive player may go  to war as it’s almost a challenge of sorts.  When you re-raise a card between a ten and a king there are many more legit hands where you would do that such as overpairs or smaller pairs with overcard kickers.

Re-raising an ace is a viable play but it is probably better saved for the times where you would have more equity against a continuing range; namely the times you have pairs, three flushes, and three straights.