Pocket nines may be the new "pocket Jacks".

Poker chips
Image by Jam Adams via Flickr

In the poker community, there is a saying about how to play a pair of pocket “Jacks”. The saying is: “there are three ways to play pocket them … and they are all wrong.

In fact in any hand you have three choices. You can call the previous bet, you can raise the bet or you can fold your hand. In the case of limit poker, unless you decide to fold, you should always raise when you enter the pot. If you are re-raised, you can decide later what to do. Perhaps you just call and see the flop, and if the game is limit hold ’em, it will only cost you one bet if you are playing heads up. If your hand improves after the flop and the other flop cards are not higher than your jacks, and there are no straight or flush possibilities, you are good to go by betting before you see the turn card.

In each stage of play, you have to make decisions based on what the board cards are, the betting pattern of your opponent, and the type of cards he might play in this situation.

In two of the last three limit hold ’em cash sessions I have played, it was the pocket nines that have cost me the most to play. The reason this happened was that I did not credit my opponent with having the hand that their betting represented. I was married to my pocket nines and would not put them down in spite of the building evidence showing me that the nines were not the best hand.

So, in at least two cases, I had played them wrong. Oh well.

Do you get so attached to a hand that you cannot see that you might be beaten? Do you fail to notice that your opponents sometimes will have good or better hands than you do? Are you able to come to decisions that will save you extra bets by folding in time?

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One thought on “Pocket nines may be the new "pocket Jacks".

  1. Pingback: Daniel Negreanu ’s poker books | Poker blog

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