Online Poker News » November 2007 » November 25, 2007.

Juha Helppi Tells How To Play Pocket Jacks.


Pocket jacks are a hard hand to play correctly.

Usually I just make a normal raise with pocket jacks, about 3 times the big blind if no one has entered the pot before me. If I get re-raised I have to use my instincts to know where I am. In general if I raise with jacks from a late position and get re-raised I am not going to pass my hand. Calling the raise or making another raise or an all in bet depends of the stack situation and tournament situation and mostly of course, the image that I have of my opponent.

However if I raise with jacks from an early or middle position and get re-raised by a somewhat tight player, I am prepared to fold pocket jacks if my instincts tell me to. You should really trust your instincts when making these decisions, first impression you get from the re-raiser is usually correct. People do re-raise with TT, 99, AK, AQ and even as a bluff sometimes, so do not automatically fold jacks even when a tight player re-raises you.

When I play big deep stack tournaments I will often see a flop with pocket jacks, but this is usually after someone has called my raise. Sometimes I like to just call with jacks too. This is when I have position on the original raiser and the stacks are deep. However if there is several limpers before me I will go ahead and make a big raise, about the size of the pot. I do not like to play jacks out of position, so if I have jacks in the blinds I will almost always make a raise or a re-raise to win the pot right there.

Playing jacks after the flop is pretty hard too. If you don't hit a set you usually have to think hard what to do. Let's say I called a raise from late position pre-flop in a major tournament. I am up against one opponent who bets to a rainbow flop of 4 8 K. I like to find out where I am right there by making a normal size raise by raising like ¾ of the pot. If he calls this raise I am pretty much done with the hand if it was a rainbow flop. If there is two of the same suit on the flop I might make another bet on turn if I put my opponent on a flush draw. Of course if I hit my jack on turn after he has called my raise I will continue with the hand, but otherwise I am ready to give it up and move on.

When I am lucky enough to flop a set with jacks I will play them aggressively too, especially when a T comes the flop with a J too. This is because this combination gives a lot of normal starting hands a straight draw. I will bet or raise about the size of the pot if this happens. I might slow play my set too, but this is when flop is not a dangerous one like 2 6 J rainbow.

Many decisions that I make with pocket jacks are close ones, so there are no specific rules about how to play them. If you want to be successful you have to be able to win a lot with pocket jacks and this requires a lot of skill.

Play your jacks aggressively, have no fear but trust your instincts when you have to make hard decisions with them!

Source: InterPoker

Tags: Juha Helppi, Poket Jacks, InterPoker.

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