Folding Jacks

Folding Jacks

Wednesday, 3 February 2010

Dear Dr Tom,

I’m in a $200 online MTT, and on a fairly tight table (me included – I don’t normally play this high). Blinds are 150/300. I’m down to 7K from 10K. The player under the gun with 12K chips raises to 900 and the player two to his left calls with 15K. It’s folded to me in the cutoff and I’ve got Jacks. I just can’t work out how to play these babies.

New Malden

Dear Tim,

So why not fold them? A raise is just gambling. Neither opponent is necessarily strong but either could be and, between the two of them, you stand a good chance of being up against a higher pocket pair. Finding A-K at a showdown is not going to be a bundle of laughs either. Any meaningful raise you make here is going to leave you pot committed since a shove from either player can easily turn out to be A-K (it’s not a pretty move but it is common). The principal merit of a call is that, since you are probably up against strength, your chance of getting all your chips in the middle and being called should you hit the jack are pretty good.

But the pickings are lean – you’re calling off an eighth of your chips, which is roughly your chance of catching the jack. If you always get called for all your remaining chips when you catch, and you never get outdrawn (a straight being the likely culprit), then you’re still not making a huge amount in the long run even when all goes as it should do. No one saw what you folded so you don’t have to be embarrassed about it!


Tags: Tom Sambrook, Strategy, playing jacks