Playing JJ in low stakes hold'em games - Part Two
Flop and post flop considerations
If you have made it through the foray of pre flop considerations with your jacks (see part one of the article), then you are ready to move on to the real meat and potatoes of playing double jack: the flop. That's right; the flop is what will instantly tell you where you sit with this great yet troublesome hand.
Playing against overcards
As stated earlier, you are going to be seeing at least one card higher than a jack more than fifty percent of the time on the flop. It is important to realize the difference between the various overcards however. You will play quite differently against each one and there are important reasons for it. Let's take an ace for example. This is probably the best overcard for you to see when you hold a pair of jacks. Now, you might be asking yourself how that could be, but consider the following.
If you were aggressive pre flop, an ace is the last thing calling players want to see. While you will run into AX from time to time, harness the power of the ace as a good protectorate of your lower pair. Be careful though, often time's bad players will tag along with AX thinking they are behind but unable to fold. These players rarely will give any indication that they have a better hand then you and basically you will feed them money the whole hand. Also realize that any powerful pre flop hands with an ace most likely were played aggressively so the ace on the flop again makes it easy to justify leaving the hand.
Kings and queens can be a bit trickier with a pair of jacks and that is because they are slightly less scary (albeit not much) to your opponents and because many low limit players often play any face card they get. Players to watch for when kings and queens hit on the flop are late position limpers or cold callers who begrudgingly entered the pot despite all the reasons not too.
Most likely they were lucky and spiked a pair or are on a draw. Realize however that you are in the advantage against players on an ace high, or some other high straight draw. The drawing players don't realize that you hold fifty percent of the cards they need to complete their wrap.
If you find yourself in a position after the flop, particularly on the turn where you are suddenly check raised by an otherwise quiet opponent, then you need to really think through your next move. Would this player really check raise with something less than a pair of jacks?
Usually the answer to that question is no and you are going to need to lay down the hand. If it is a very skilled player doing the check raising then there is a slight possibility that they are check raising on a bluff to indicate a paired overcard or some other powerful hand, but a player doing something like this in a low limit game will be rare to never being that it usually doesn't work!
In closing, make sure you diligently study your opposition in low limit games. It will make playing close call hands like JJ easier and less stressful. Usually in low limit games things are spelled out fairly clear and with a little common sense and some information on your opponents, you should be able to play JJ strongly any time.