How to Play with Starting Pocket Jacks in Poker?

How to Play with Starting Pocket Jacks in Poker?

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The pocket jack is touted as the most troublesome hand in poker. Known as fish hooks, jaybirds, jj poker and even brothers, the pocket jack, though indicative of a strong hand, is often pitted against pocket aces, kings, and queens. Playing the pocket jack can be rather tricky. Read on to understand how a novice must play his/ her pocket jack in the best way possible.

Playing pocket jacks (or JJ poker) preflop

There is no sure shot method to playing jj poker in pre-flop as a lot depends on the table position of the player, the blinds, the opponents and chip stacks.

Probability dictates that the pocket jacks have a 56% win rate, against a 47% loss. Though the odds might not seem all that favourable, the risk, if undertaken in a cautious, calculated manner, can pay off good returns.

The pre-flop can actually serve as a usual round for information gathering. If it appears that no other player has a higher pair that the one you hold, an open-raise from your side will be a value raise. In circumstances where players with a higher pair exist, then your raise will serve as an information raise.

It is always necessary to consider one’s own position, one’s position relative to other big hands in the table and one’s position relative to extreme players during jj poker. In a situation where the player is heads-up, then the pocket jack will come through as a very strong hand because the player needn’t worry about the other players flopping trips or two pairs. In cases where there is a raise ahead of you in jj poker there are two options available – one is to call and make the decisions post-flop without any other information from the pre-flop or second is to make a three-bet pre-flop.

Also, in situations where there is an extremely tight player who has called a raise from an early position, it is best if the player just calls flat with the pocket jacks as the player in question is likely to have an extremely narrow range.

Pocket jacks are the perfect examples of a middle hand pre-flop simply because if the opponents hit the flop, the pocket jacks will become a bottom hand, turning it into nothing more than a bluff. It is best to avoid over-committing from an early position and to play it like a small pocket pair on the flop.

Playing pocket jacks (JJ poker) postflop

As the blinds increase, pocket jacks have the chance of turning into all-in hands and are worth more than a tight aggressive cash game. However, one must keep in mind that statistically, the probability of running into an over-card is 2/3 of the time. Jj poker is situational and the pocket jacks are only as strong as your opponent's hand allows it to be. Therefore, the key is reading and adapting to the board post-flop.

For instance, say the flop comes down to a A-K-3 (of different suits) and the original raiser continues with the bet and an aggressive player calls. It is prudent at this point to exit as there is a high probability that one of them has an ace or king. There is a lot of variance and tight spots that the pocket jack will place the player in. The player must proceed with some tact and caution.

In case you run into a low carb flop, then play the situation to your advantage and play your pocket jacks strongly to derive the maximum value out of it. One may bet the flop, turn and river and slow down only in circumstances when there is a board runout such as the turn comes with a king and the river comes with an ace.

In case of high card flops, experts generally advise players to either ‘bet the flop, check the turn, bet the river’ or to ‘check the flop, bet the turn, bet the river’. This exercise of pot control will under represent the strength of the player’s hand and will expose worse hands of opponent players.

Some general things to keep in mind during JJ poker

·  Pocket jacks tend to lose strength with the presence of more players and at times when overcards hit the board. The key is to get players out of the pot as early as possible to better one’s chances.

·  It is best to be cautious when the opponents raise or re-raise as there are higher chances of them having a higher card such as an ace, king or queen. An automatic quit is not called for, it just means that you’ve got to ‘slow your roll’ and respond and recalibrate accordingly.

·  Most importantly, don’t avoid folding out of obstinacy or thoughtless optimism.

Final thoughts about JJ poker

Studying how to play pocket jacks effectively is crucial for one’s success, especially at the low limit poker tables. Pocket jacks are exceptionally powerful hands to begin with, but the fear of running into an ace or king might dampen your appetite to run the game to its fruition. Instead of resigning to the fate of the hand, a well calibrated approach might just help you capitalise on the cards that were once considered with some loathing.

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About The  

Kanchan Sharma
Kanchan Sharma

Kanchan Sharma started her career as a learning designer at an MNC while pursuing poker as a hobby. However, she soon pivoted to becoming a professional MTT (Multi Table Tournaments) player. She is currently a leading player, who has taken the male dominated poker world by storm. During her stint as a poker player, she has bagged many titles including India Online Poker Championship (IOPC) for Rs. 17,98,906, Winter Celebration Series for Rs. 6,62,500 and has final tabled multiple tournaments. She continually seeks to improve her poker game and work on her mindset to win the WSOP title soon. Her journey from being a recreational player to a poker pro is inspiring for many people out there.

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