Poker Words - A Poker Blog

Mostly a recount of my poker exploits along with a bunch of random other stuff just for fun.

Monday, June 06, 2005

How to Play Jacks

So I don’t post for a few days, and I have one friend complaining and another checking up to make sure I’m not dead. It’s a good thing I only have two readers or I’d never be able to stand the pressure. I had planned on posting once or twice this weekend, but I didn’t really have much to write about. And I’m lazy.

Party Poker has another reload bonus. BONUSJUN gets you a 25% bonus. You have to play 7x raked hands in I think a week to obtain the bonus, and blah blah blah.

It’s a good thing they keep offering these bonuses, because without them I’m pretty sure I’d have run out of poker funds by now. My limit game continues to a less than profitable situation for me. Unless you count the bonuses, then I’m a little ahead.

On the plus side, I actually had my pocket queens hold up both times I had them last night. Unfortunately neither pot was very big, and to make up for it I got my aces cracked twice. Losing with aces was probably the difference between a winning a loosing session yesterday, but there wasn’t much I could do about it. In the first case the guy flopped a set of threes, and in the second someone flopped top pair, and picked up his second pair on the turn. I don’t think there was much I could have done to get either of them to fold.

So now the point of this post. In any given night there always seems to be one hand that occurs way more often than any other. Usually it’s something crappy like 53o, but sometimes it’s a decent hand. Last night it was wired jacks. While most people would probably consider this to be a pretty good starting hand, right now I’m not a big fan of it. I really don’t know how to play it correctly. In limit play, specifically low-limit, I’m not sure that it’s all that much more valuable than medium and low pocket pairs, especially when you get it in late position.

I think that in a no-limit game I can raise enough pre-flop to scare away people holding ace-rag, king-rag and queen-rag, so I don’t find myself going up against as many opponents, and it’s easier to bluff on a scary looking flop. But, as I said before I’m playing low-limit and usually best I can do preflop is raise one small bet. That usually isn’t enough to scare away many players. Because of that I’d actually rather have jacks in early position than late. The reason being in early position I have a better chance of being first in the pot, and then my raise might convince some people to fold their marginal hands. In late position, raising does no good since four or five people have already limped in, and they aren’t going to fold to my miniscule raise. A late position raise isn’t going to scare any of them away and only gives them a bigger pot to chase their draws with later in the hand.

So here’s the problem. Jacks seem like they should be a premium hand. I feel like I should be raising every chance I get with them because odds are I have the best hand at that point. I end up with jacks in late position, raise after five people limp, and then have both blinds call. The flop will inevitably contain at least one queen, king or ace, and I know that at least one person has me beat. From there, I’m drawing to two outs, because there is no amount of raising that is going to get them to lay down their top pair. They might go into check-call mode, but unless a third jack comes up I’m toast.

So I think the obvious thing to do is stop raising after so many people limp ahead of me. I’m not limiting the field, and I seem to be costing myself more bets overall. I think I also need to start treating them as I would a medium pair. Try to see a cheap flop, and then get out unless I pick up a set or maybe an open ended straight draw, or the board contains all under cards. If I’m first or second in the pot, then maybe I can raise and try to limit the number of other players that I’m going against, but even that will depend on the tightness of the table.

I haven’t really read a limit book since I actually started playing limit poker with any sort of regularity. I should probably go back and do that. In the mean time, does anyone have any advice on how I should be playing this hand, because it is real kicking my ass. I should go back to SNG's.




At 9:06 PM, Blogger jimbo said...

I think you should give up the limit game and play no limit exclusively. I usually raise preflop 5X the big blind and usually only have one caller (or end up stealing the blinds). If A, K or Q doesn't flop, then raise 10X and that'll usually chase out the caller.

At 2:15 AM, Blogger jremotigue said...

One thing I like to do, depending on the situation (who's in the pot, specifically) is raise with jacks from late position. If I can at least get the blinds to fold, it's a start. I'll bet the flop if it's checked to me, regardless if there are overcards. Then if it's checked to me after the turn, and there are still multiple people in the pot and I think I'm beat, just take the free card. If the river doesn't help, and someone has bet and another player has already called, I'll usually fold. If no one has called and I'm the last to act, I base my decision on what types of hands that bettor has shown down in the past.


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