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Kings, Queens and Jacks are often called face cards, pictures cards or paint cards. The Jacks are sometimes called the "Baby Paints." A pair of Jacks is a powerful hand and computer simulations show that it ranks fourth in hands that make the most money. Yet I constantly hear players lamenting that pocket Jacks cost them more money than any other hand.
It is a hand that looks good but can be beaten often, especially in low-limit games. That is because many players in low-limit games will play any Aces or Kings. Your Jacks are very susceptible to overcards on the flop. You should raise with them from early position to try to narrow the field. However, in late position, depending on the number of players you might just want to call. In a no-limit game you can raise enough to drive other people out, but in a limit game you will just be making the pot odds bigger, giving everyone the correct odds to make the call.
If you hold pocket Jacks, the odds of a higher card coming on the flop is 59%. If you see an overcard on the flop, you shouldn't hesitate to bet the hand but be wary if there is a raise. If no card higher than your Jacks appears on the flop, you should raise with the top pair if a player ahead of you bets. You want to make it expensive for anyone who might be holding a single Ace or King. If you should happen to flop a set of Jacks, then you might want to just call if there is a bet and then go for a raise on the turn when the betting limits are higher. The problem with starting with a pair of Jacks is that you usually need to flop a set or a straight or straight draw to improve your hand because you are vulnerable if there are overcards on the flop.
How often will Jacks win? I ran some simulations using the calculator mode of the Poker Drill Master software to see how often pocket Jacks will win the pot based on the number of players.
1 Player - 76.86%
As you can see, your odds decrease drastically from heads up play. When you are facing four players, your chances are almost cut in half.
One of the reasons that players lose so much money on this hand is they refuse to give it up when it is beaten. If there are overcards and other players are raising after the flop, then chances are you are beaten. If you stay to the end, your pair will not improve 35.55% of the time. The percentage for making other hands with your Jacks are:
Two Pair - 39.55%
Jacks are a great starting hand but you must learn to play them correctly. If an overcard hits the board, you must learn to throw them away. Don't chase with them or you will lose money.
Until Next time remember:
This article is provided by the Frank Scoblete Network. Melissa A. Kaplan is the network's managing editor. If you would like to use this article on your website, please contact Casino City Press, the exclusive web syndication outlet for the Frank Scoblete Network. To contact Frank, please e-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org.