Pocket Jacks tend to create a ton of heartache for players. Most of the time JJ cannot handle a heap of preflop pressure, it faces an overcard on the flop a ton, and even when the flop does cooperate it doesn’t mean the turn and river will. But like any other starting hand, good play means understanding what goes into making solid preflop and postflop decisions, and then utilizing that strategy at the tables.
To help us do that, let’s breakdown this hand sent in by Anthony. Here, we have to make some serious postflop decisions when JJ faces a really ugly turn card…
STAKE: 100NL ONLINE
This hand was played at 100NL online and Anthony is dealt JJ. From the BB, there is an open-limp, a limp behind, a complete from the small blind – and hero decides to raise to $6. This is great, but as usual, I would’ve preferred a bigger raise, something like $7 or $8. The reason is we have a CO with 60BB who open limps and a 40BB player on the button who also limps.
Neither of these players seems strong, look to be on the passive side, and look like they commonly call preflop so why not get more out of them if you can?
As played, 2 folds and one player raises to $12. Now we could try and guess what our villain has and why he raised, but honestly, I feel like he is just messing around and doesn’t really know what to do with his hand. So safe it to say that I wouldn’t be folding here. But we still have to decide whether or not to raise or call.
In this hand Anthony decided to call and I think a lot of players would do the same, but what I want to focus on is coming over the top. So I think about villains range and basically put everything into 2 categories, things that beat us and things we beat. Everything QQ+ beats us, and pretty much everything else we crush.
The first thing we focus on is the hands that beat us, those QQ+ combos. Honestly I think there is a natural reduction in those combos simply because they did complete from the SB after two limpers, and the average person, even if they believe you’re an aggressive player, probably will not do that with QQ+. So we aren’t really stressing about QQ+ we can focus on the other possible hands. This is just a natural leak that online players have when they craft their limp/re-raise range.
When thinking about it that way, our JJ start to look better and better as we go through the combinations. Also in this spot are there any other hands that the SB would have that they would act like this but still get involved in a big pot preflop? I think yes, things like TT, 99, 88, and AQ are all hands that the SB would do this with and again very happy that we are creating a big pot when our JJ give us a pretty big edge against those hands.
Now I’m not really worried about GTO sizing mainly because I am playing against someone who has a 51% VPIP, I think this person is going to be pretty bad and I don’t see them folding here. So going for something like $35 or $40 is around the right size here. I think a lot of people would just call but remember to ask yourself if coming over the top is going to be the better option and is my opponent the kind of person who’s willing to create a big pot with a lot of second best hands.
But as played hero calls and flop reveals J, and a K 10 of hearts. SB bets $10 and Anthony decides to call but writes that he feels like he should’ve raised since he has such a strong hand with the J of hearts blocker. Well I definitely agree, we do have a strong hand but I don’t think the J of hearts blocker is really going to factor in.
Based upon who our opponent is, the SPR we have on the flop, and the exact board texture, I’m just not super concerned about that, given how this hand is playing out. So I’m looking at it like this, if this person is bluffing am I really going to make that much extra money? If they are firing here for $10 into $26, I don’t think I am making heaps of extra money if I’m going into a bluff induction mode. If they have a second-best hand, I think lots of those are going to give a good bit of action here before the board gets pretty gnarly.
There are a lot of different ways this board can get pretty bad and why allow those things to happen especially when they can cut into our implied odds, so this is a situation where I want to see you raise to something like $45, $50, and move forward from there rather than go for the call and get put in an awkward spot.
Now the turn comes and it’s a 9♥ which is not good for us and SB fires into us. But notice if we had came over the top on either one of our previous decisions, leaving most or almost all money in the pot, we wouldn’t be so worried or stressed over this decision now. Especially when playing online poker, you need to be precise in the decisions you make EARLY the hand instead of being reactive later in the hand.
When being put in a funky spot like this, look back on your preflop and flop decisions. Subpar plays in the beginning can lead to awkward turns and rivers. So based upon that entire conversation, I’m basically skipping over the turn and river primarily because if we had played the streets differently, the pot would really be almost all in or so huge that there isn’t much of a decision left.
Seeing that hero took the line he did and we are now in this odd spot, I don’t blame him for calling. You could consider shoving but I don’t see much reason to. Again the large reason you might call the flop is to induce bluffs, you did pick up a card that induces bluffs and as such you should be giving action here and even the times you are behind you always have outs. The thing is, we can plan ahead here.
The pot is about $90, there is about $45 back, so if you face a river shove you will be getting 3:1 there so you should have a plan for that now. My plan would be to continue calling, again if my plan was to induce bluff by calling preflop than I should stick to the same plan all the way through. So when the river bricks off and we pretty much face a shove, I prefer calling here but hero decides to fold and I just don’t like that decision.
I don’t think this person is showing up with KK, or turning AA into a bluff ,even if they had that kind of hand. Again the person that would limp-reraise with AA preflop is the same person that barrels this off here given this exact texture and he will be very polarized. Either he will have a queen, or he won’t, and as such just show it to me. If I call, will I lose sometimes, of course but if this person was messing around preflop and did some weird play and that is the whole reason I took this line, then that’s why I would call instead of fold.