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Old 2nd May 2007, 03:41 AM
sharbear613 sharbear613 is offline
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Default Playing Pocket Jacks

I got this article from another thread. I thought it was a great article, because we all run into Jacks and not always sure how to play them. It has helped me, so hopefully you all can get something from it too.

Theory for playing pocket jacks is a topic which every player addresses at some point in the development of their game. Jacks are the strongest pre-flop hand that can be easily beaten after the flop. Danger is the theme when discussing jacks, and an experienced player knows that pocket jacks can end your night in a hurry. With that said, we should still remember that pocket jacks do have value and when played properly, can prove to be a very profitable hand.

When you look down and see pocket jacks, the first thing you should remember is that players play big cards. It's likely that multiple opponents are holding at least one ace, king, or queen. If any of these cards hit the flop you need to realize that you are most likely behind at this point. This type of flop is common and you'll find that unless you hit your set, your jacks quickly become garbage post-flop.

In order to avoid this common disappointment, playing jacks aggressively pre-flop is usually the right move, unless you're in a one of the early positions ? then a call is best.

If it's a limit game, a raise is almost always in order. If you get re-raised you know where the big cards are. Capping pre-flop after a re-raise is something you'll want to stay away from with jacks. Pre-flop re-raises often mean you're up against pocket aces or kings; you'll be looking to hit your set in this situation. If you do hit your set the over pair will pay you nicely; if you don't and there are over cards, you should fold to any bet.

If you're playing a no limit game a pre-flop raise is good if no one else has raised. If an opponent calls your raise, the main issue here is whether you're up against two big cards or a big pair. A lot of different factors play into this decision such as how many players are in the hand, the type of player your opponent is, physical tells of aggression, and the betting patterns those opponents have revealed. If you can determine that you're up against two big cards, you should remember that you're still in a race and are only around 52% to win the hand heads up. That percentage goes down as the number of opponents in the hand goes up. It's smart to have at least a 75% edge if you're going to risk all your chips, and these races don't provide those odds. Save the all-in calls for late in the tournament or your jacks will eventually get beat.

As a table gets shorter the value of a hand like pocket jacks increases. With fewer players, the chances of being up against an ace, king, or queen decrease. Flops with over cards are still dangerous, but the chances of being up against a premium pair is reduced, and opponents will push two high cards more aggressively pre-flop. Most races you find yourself in will be more in your favor because opponents will be forcing the action with hands like ace-ten or king-nine. This is when pocket jacks become more powerful, and tend to hold up more often.

Jacks should be played the way you would play any medium or small pocket pair. Just because they are face cards doesn't mean they are special. You're looking to push them pre-flop and if you have callers you're looking to hit your set, or the jacks should be an over pair after the flop. If these scenarios don't occur, your jacks have become a liability and are most likely going to cost you bets.
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Old 2nd May 2007, 04:42 PM
kittyg kittyg is offline
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Default Playing Pocket Jacks

Thanks for that Shar, Im heading off to a live game tonight so Im definately going to take the advice of your post.

Any chance you want to have a look at my 'AA How do you play it' thread and if youve got any hints and tips for that hand would be helpful.

Cheers matey thanks again for the post I will look forward to using it.
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