JJ or the “Hooks”


I’ve posted earlier about the destructiveness of AK which is probably the most over-bet opening hand in Texas Hold ‘Em. So I thought I’d blog about JJ. I rate this a potential chip-swallower that deserves careful play.

A pair of “hooks” or JJ looks pretty. It’s probably the fourth best opening hand you can wish for. Most people will advise on making a significant raise of a three-bet or more to scare off the random hands like the “Gay Waiter”. This is sensible advice because then, usually, you’ll be left playing opponents with middle ranking pairs or Ax, Kx thus limiting the range of hazards you have to think about.

However, there is a 1 in 224 chance of an opponent having AA. Likewise, KK or QQ- all three hands dominating your JJ. Keep a watch out for those.

So, the first hurdle is to suss out is “Does one of my opponents hold a better pair or a high?” if they call your raise. Or re-raise. Look for changes in betting patterns, the type of player betting and “tells”.

Then comes the flop. A low one is good for you because your bet pre-flop should have scared off the low hands. Middle cards can be good but have opponents called/ raised with a lower pair and hit trips? Or are they on a draw? Are you on a draw too? Any flop with either A, K or Q should scream danger.

I’d suggest if the flop is low then make a strong raise. If the flop is middling, make a raise. If you think the flop gives your opponents an over-pair it’s best to check. Then call any min raise and hope to hit another J on the Turn. If you’re really lucky you might hit trips in which case I’d hide my hand by playing it with a check or flat call, praying your opponent will hang themselves. Be aware that, sometimes, hitting the third jack can be a nightmare if someone else has hit a straight so try to work out your opponents’ range and look at the flop.

Come the Turn or River and you think JJ is still good then jam the pot to scare off lower pairs or highs. If you’ve hit trips them just follow the other raisers unless you’re first to act. In which case do a min raise.

If you think you’re behind then you probably are so fold. Trust your instincts; they pick up on other players’ betting patterns and actions. There is always another hand to play. Is there any point in matching a big raise when you’ve around 8 or 6% chance of improving your hand?

Bitter experience has taught me caution when I am dealt JJ. My strategy is pretty much as above-pot control & don’t over-commit your chips.

The above works well for me. Notice I’ve not mentioned how to deal with possible two pairs, straights or flushes that opponents may have… or draws. Then I get creative ;/)

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About ReidIvinsMedia

After working for many years in Higher Education I've decided to drop out and join the real world. Here I blog about my interests which include education, politics, backpacking, poker, photography and real ale.
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