How will you play your pocket pair?

There are three ways to play:

•  You can check behind them and then bet on fourth poker street if it is checked again.

•  You can move all in to defend your hand.

•  You can bet $350 to see if you have the best hand.


If you bet $350, it would involve lot of amount of your stack, whereas checking the flop after raising pre-flop could appear to your rivals as though you are trying to trap them. The preferred play is the second option. If on fourth street everyone checks to you, you can bet about $250; an amount that you hope will deceive your rivals into thinking that you want them to call.

Situation 16

In no-limit hold'em, the blinds are $10-$25. You are in the late position holding two pocket queens Q ? Q ?

Arnold raises the pot to $100 before the flop and Passive Peter calls. Everyone else folded. You re-raise to $300. The blinds fold, and both Arnold and Peter calls your raise. There is $935 in the pot. The flop comes

Action Arnold is first to act and moves all in with the rest of chips. Peter folds. Now it is your turn.

How will you play?

•  You can fold. Action Arnold has a straight.

•  You can call.


Before taking any action you need to answer some question. What would Arnold move in with here? He may have something AJ or QJ or maybe nothing. With his style of play he might be trying to win the pot with a total bluff (absolutely nothing). If he had made a straight on the flop, he would just check and hope that someone bets behind him so that he can raise.

You can another ask question: What is the strength of your hand? You have an over pair to the flop and also an open-end straight draw.

By verifying the questions, your answer becomes obvious, i.e. you must call. Therefore the preferred play is the second option.

Situation 17

The blinds are $10-$25. Solid Samuel limped in first position and Reckless Ricky also limp behind you. You are on the button with

You raise four times the big blind plus $25 for each of the limpers, making $150 in the pot. The player on the small and big blind folded. Then Solid Samuel re-raises to $900 total. Reckless Ricky also folded.

Now how will you play?

•  You can move all in.

•  You can call and look at the flop to see if an over card comes.

•  You can fold.


Whenever someone limps in the pot, you should take into account. Good player often limp in an early position with strong poker hands, expecting that someone will raise so that they can re-raise. As you know Solid Sammy might re-raise only with the premium hand and now he is willing to invest 60 percent of his stack, he might have your queens beaten. You can make a guess that when re-raises, he must have something like AK which he can make you beat.

Now for calling his raise you need to put all your chips. You have invested so much in the pot that you cannot run away from it. However, if Samuel folded and Ricky re-raises the pot, then you might have considered moving in on Rick. But against Solid Samuel you need to fold your pocket queens. Therefore the third option is the best way. You should play your hand according to the playing styles of your rivals.

Situation 18

The blinds are the same $10-$25. You are in the big blind. You are having Q ? Q ? . Everyone folded to Reckless Ricky who is on the button. Ricky raises to $100 and the small blind folds. You re-raise him to $300 and he calls. The pot now has $610 in it. The flop comes:

Now it is your turn.

How will you play?

•  You can move in with your remaining $700.

•  You can bet $300.

•  You can check.


You should play this hand all the way. Reckless Ricky is that type of player who will raise with any two cards and if you show any kind of weakness in your play, he will bet. If you bet him, he will fold. The flop is good to you with no big draws Ricky would need to have a 4-3 in his hand to have an open-ended straight draw. We give Ricky more a credit than just having a 4-3.

To put more money in the pot, you need to check and then raise all in if Ricky bets. By checking you may deceive Ricky into thinking that you have an AK and missed the flop. He may try to steal the pot. Therefore the third option is the preferred play.

Playing Jacks Before the flop

Like queens, a pair of jacks should also be played very cautiously both before the flop and after the flop. A pair of aces, kings and queens will make your pair of jacks very marginal. When any ace, king or queen flops on the board, with pair of jacks you will fear that someone has hit an over card.

You can try to play a big pot with pocket jacks in the initial rounds of hold'em tournament unless you flop a set.

Situation 19

You are in the big blind holding:

Solid Sammy raises the pot to $100 in first position. Everyone folded to Reckless Ricky who is on the button. He calls, the small blinds folds. And it is your turn to act next.

In what way you will play?

•  You can raise to $300.

•  You can move all-in.

•  You can just call.


A pair of jacks is a good hand but at the same time it has to be played very carefully. As Solid Sammy raises the pot from up front, it is clear that he is having a big pair than jacks. Reckless Ricky is capable to play many hands and that he didn't re-raise you may think that he is not having a pair higher than jacks. You need to see the flop and arrive at the best decision how to play a pair of jacks.

Thus, the third option is the best play that is calling the raise.

Situation 20

For example, Solid Sammy brings it in for $100 in the first position. Novice Noreen calls $100 and Authority Austin also calls the same. You are on the button with

You also call $100. The player in the small blind folded. Tight Tom, in the big blind, moves all in. Solid Sam calls all-in. Novice Noreen folds. And Authority Austin also folds.

Now it is your turn. There is $2310 in the pot.

How will you play with your pocket jacks?

•  You can call with your remaining $900.

•  You can fold.


With such types of players putting in the bets and with so much betting involved in it, your jacks should be beaten before the flop. If you get lucky you might get a set on the flop, but do you think it would be good enough to put all your chips just to hit jacks to stay alive? It would be much better to save your chips for another hand. Therefore the second option is the best play.


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