Pocket jacks, the nightmare of almost everyone who dared to play some poker. The number 1 discussed poker hands in forums, groups, podcasts and all other possible types of communities.
The biggest problem with pocket jacks, according to the majority of opinions online, is that the hand just always seem to lose. Ending up in tricky spots with pocket jacks is almost guaranteed, every time you get to play this premium hand.
Online you can find all kinds of strategy material, advices, solvers, GTO fanatics – all of which gives mixed opinions on how to play this dangerous starting hand.
Today we will give you 5 simple steps, which to turn pocket jacks into a profitable poker hand, which you will stop fearing that much. To make sure we maximize winnings with this hand, it is most important to understand how to reduce the losses.
Here are the worst mistakes you should avoid, while holding pocket jacks :
Slow Playing Pocket Jacks
This is one of the worst thing you can do, while holding JJ. There is 0 reason for you to slow-play this hand, especially when the flop always seems dangerous, while you hold Jiggities.
In rare occasions, depending on the board texture, pocket jacks can be considered good for hero calling, due to them being great blockers to straights, if you consider that big part of villain’s range, may include them.
Most often than not, just bet big, until you are ahead in the hand. Over cards appear out of nowhere, which will put you in difficult spot and force you to play the guessing game. No one loves marginal spots in poker, it’s not the optimal way to make money.
Just make sure you end the hand quickly, while you feel ahead.
Playing Pocket Jacks as Set Mining Hand
In general, set mining hands are low pocket pairs with which you want to see some cheap flops and hope to hit the jackpot.
Fair strategy, but pocket jacks is not a hand, which should be played this way, if you want to optimize your results. Depending on the flop, many times you will have very little reason to continue to turn and river, with 33 or 55.
With Jacks however, you will almost have to do it, due to probably being ahead, if there aren’t over cards. Only checking and calling, however, will not lead you to maximize the hands potential. Recreational players often forget this is a premium holding, which should not be played with fear .
Which brings us to the next big mistake, which is…
…Playing Passively and Flatting Instead of 3/4/5 betting
There is absolutely no reason for you to keep the pot small, while holding JJ. Money are made by making sure the pot is big enough and try to win it as early as possible.
Flatting a 3-bet of your opponent, turns this premium hand, into just a set mining hand. You purposefully reduce the hand strength.
4-betting and 5-betting with pocket jacks is almost always a good idea. You want to put a lot of chips in the middle and if on the flop there aren’t over cards, it is good idea to win the hand right there and then.
Not only you will give yourself a chance to win a bigger pot, 3-4-5 betting with jacks preflop also gives you an idea of your opponent’s range. Since you are probably not playing high stakes poker on TV, chances are villain will not attempt luxurious plays, like going all in with suited connectors.
So if indeed, the opponent pushes his whole stack in the middle…
…Stop Calling Each “All In” You Face
In fact, with Jacks you should very often fold, when presented with All In situation pre-flop . This advice is valid for ring games only.
Calling an all in of your opponent, in 99% of the time you will be against equally strong or better hand. Villain’s all in range often looks like this :
- AT ( if he is loose player)
Even if we include Ace Ten, even some bluffs like suited connectors, it is rarely profitable to call. If you have not already invested solid amount of BBs into the hand, better to avoid calling All In. Putting whole stacks in the middle, while being dominated or flipping, is not how to improve your win-rate.
Folding pocket jacks is sometimes necessity, even preflop, which is not sexy or popular way to play them, but it definitely can save you a lot of money.
Never folding Pocket Jacks, if there are no Queens, Kings or Aces on the Flop
“Phew”, the sound you probably make when you see the absence of Q , K or A on the flop. It is of course, a great sight to behold, but this does not automatically means you won the hand.
People can have two pairs, sets, which does not mean to always fold a check raise, for example, but tread carefully. Overpair is not equal to nuts. It is far from it.
Do not forget that villain with flush draw and KQ in this hand, has almost the same equity as you. Best way to respond to check raise is by calling and if turn is a blank, to bet ultra aggressively to avoid a potentially risky river.
Basically if you face a lot of aggressive behaviour on seemingly safe flop, call and see the turn, If you like the turn card, bet shamelessly and see the response. If it is once again face a raise, consider being against two pairs or better.
Even premium draws will rarely raise that much on the turn, when there is only one card, left to be revealed.
Pocket jacks is a dangerous hand, which easily puts you in bad spots, if you try to play it in sophisticated manner.
It is much better to keep things simple and avoid those 5 mistakes above. If you need a time bank to make a decision with jacks, it already means you got yourself into tricky spot. Money in poker are not made from tricky spot, but taking easy and profitable decisions.
To sum up, play pocket jacks aggressively or fold them.
There the competition is much weaker and will rarely put you in difficult spots. If you noticed us calling pocket jacks – hooks and jiggities and wondered what is that about, you can check all the popular starting hands nicknames.