Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Twitter Answers to Poker Question on Pocket Jacks

Here is the question I asked last night: How would you play Pocket Jacks in a no limit poker tournament? Assume 1st hand of event. You are first to act after the big blind, $25-$50.

Here are the answers--you need to click on the photo to enlarge the visuals:

My favorite answer is from trishwebb who tweeted: "Of course, there are just 3 ways to play jacks and they are all wrong.:)"

I think pocket Jacks is one of the most difficult, if not the most difficult hand to play in no limit poker tournaments. A main reason it is so hard to play is that you will usually get a flop with a card higher than your Jack--it's like 65% of the time.

Pocket Jacks is a premium hand, and you don't want callers. I believe you must raise in this situation. But not a big raise. If you make a big raise you may be committing yourself to call a re-raise. (A lot of times players in this spot will raise 5 times or more the big blind to protect their hand--which may signal you have a pocket pair like 9's, 10's or J's.)

If you like small ball raise 2 1/2 times the big blind. If you want to tell people you are strong, bet the standard 3 times raise. If you really don't want to commit, raise 2 times the big blind. My objective with pocket Jacks is to eliminate opponents and keep the pot small.

Just don't call. It is hard enough to play against one opponent when you have this hand. To invite more callers, well, is that much more difficult.

Thanks for your response.


Anonymous said...

Great post. J's are tough. They seem like such a good hand pre-flop as they're a face card, but when the flop hits, everything goes out the window.

I treat J's much the same way that I do AQ. I don't want to sit on it unless I hit it big post flop. But pre-flop, I'm usually making a small ball raise with J's, unless I'm short stacked, and then maybe 3x to 4x if I'm on the button.

If the flop produces a board of everything under your starting hand, put a small bet out there, of maybe 40% of the pot, and you're likely going to steal the pot. But a call is going to have to make you wait for the turn and river before you can accurately sum up what your opponent has.

Good players likely won't call a small ball raise and a post flop bet without premium hands. If they call your post flop raise, then they've got something.

NetDrifter said...

I had this situation in a tournament. I was under the gun with pocket 10's. At first I was disgusted that I got this hand in a bounty tournament under the gun. I limped. 5 others limped and the button raised. I figured the button could be trying to steal the dead money in the pot so I reraised. This eliminated everyone and it was the button's turn to act. He took his time and finally made another raise. At this point I decided my 10's were crushed and folded. He showed pocket KK's. I don't know the best way to play these hands, but I was glad I got out before a flop with this one.

Mitchell said...

My suggestion is to make a small raise like 2 1/2 times the big blind in that situation. You may get one caller, or only the button comes in with a re-raise.

Now you can feel rather confident you are behind with pocket 10's, especially since you raise from an early position.

It was a bold play on your part by trying that limp re-raise.

Anonymous said...

I put J's and A-K in the same category as far as I wouldn't put my tourney life on neither.

babbo said...

So, JJ preflop. 1st hand of NL tourney. Under the gun.

Well, I'm pleased to get such a good hand so early on. I do not like my position so much.

My first question is what is my starting chip stack? Need to know everybody's M before I decide how much to bet.

If the starting stacks are $10,000, a bet of 3 or 4X the BB is not likely to make enough people fold, which is what I want playing this hand UTG. If our stacks are $2000, then a bet of $200 seems about right.

I'd rather lose 10% of my stack than the whole thing, and if overs drop on the flop, I'll probably have to let it go.

Now if the flop comes with unders or one over, I'll bet the pot (if heads up) or 3/4 the pot if it's multi handed. I might just check if there are more than two opponents i nthe hand. The more who stuck around, the better chance somebody hit that one overcard.

I like JJ much better than AJ. If an Ace flops with AJ, you could lose a bunch of money.

Thanks for the question!


Steve Brogan said...

I like Mitchell's approach. Betting about 2 to 3 times the big blind and being able to dump the hand if the flop is not helpful. All premium hands can run into this same problem. Even pocket rockets AA can be cracked by a bad flop. Be careful out there.

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