Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Project 10K Session #13 - How to Play Pocket Jacks

Pocket jacks is generally considered the toughest hand to play in no limit hold'em. It's a very, very good hand but vulnerable to 3 over cards and it's common to have trouble with it.

There is a great YouTube video on how to play JJ that is basically a guy losing with JJ in a wide variety of ways. Sadly I did my best to emulate the video on Sunday.

The first time I got JJ I raised to $25 and got one caller. The flop came down A 7 5 and I bet $35. The turn was a 2 and I basically waved the white flag and checked. My opponent checked back and the river came out a 3. Given the turn check from my opponent my plan was to call a bet on the river, but when my opponent came out with $110 I decided to fall back on "big bets, mean big hands" and just chucked it.

The second time I had JJ I raised to $35 out of the big blind against 5 callers. The first caller then moved all in for $200! Sometime people will limp in with AA or KK and then go for a three bet and my first thought was that's what was happening. But after a second or two I realized that AA wouldn't go all the way to $200. So I called and found myself against 99 - a hand against which I will win 4 out of 5 times with JJ. The board ran out T 8 7 3 6. Ugh.

The third time I got JJ there was a raise to $20 from the under the gun player and one caller. I was in the big blind and made it $70 to go. After a short pause the under the gun player made it $170 to go. Fuck. I had about $600 left behind and he had me covered. If I'd had a lot more like $1,000+ it would be an easy call. If I had less I might be able to get off it preflop. I was kind of in no man's land, but I decided that I should call and hope to flop a set or otherwise find myself in a good spot. The flop came down A K 7 with two spades. Major whiff! When I checked, my opponent checked behind and I thought "Maybe that's QQ?" The turn came a third spade and I had the J of spades. I decided to trust the QQ read and fired out $200. My opponent instashoved all in. GAH! Now I was looking at about $1,050 in the pot and I had to call another $400. With only one card left those were not good enough odds to draw to a flush. I folded and my opponent showed AA having flopped a set.

I did have one big hand go my way though. I raised with KJ to $25 and got three callers. The flop came down k 9 6 with two diamonds. I bet $75 and got two callers. All of a sudden the pot had really gotten big. With $325 out there I would either have to make a big bet in uncertain territory or check a pretty good hand on a draw heavy board. I was running through what I'd do on certain types of turn cards, when it got real easy for me - a black J came out. With top two I bet $200 and got called by one opponent who had $195 left. I silently chanted "No diamond, no diamond, no diamond" and flipped my hand over the instant a K came off on the river. Full house! Send the cookies!

Sadly, the rest of the night was a real shit show. I had a few bluffs in the $150 range where my opponent shipped it for $500 as soon as I bet or raised. I don't think they were bad bluffs, my opponents just happened to have it those particular times when they easily could have not. I had one hand with A2 of clubs where I got it in against two guys who were all in for about $250 each on a Q 4 3 with two clubs flop and bricked out. I didn't really make many strong hands.

In the end I lost $769 over 4 hours. My $10,000 bankroll is at $13,072 after 61.5 hours of play.

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