How to Play Pocket Kings

It’s important to know how a good player plays pocket kings. Far too many amateur poker players will simply play pocket kings in the exact same way as they would pocket aces.

The problem with limping in with KK is that for every other player that has limped in, odds are it’s because one (or both) of their cards is an ace, meaning that you can easily be taken out with just one more ace on the flop.

Play Pocket Kings

A good way to play pocket kings is to limp in at the start and then again when nobody has raised the pot mid hand, this way you can entice enough limpers to play the hand that eventually towards the end it is likely that somebody will bluff trying to get the bets on the table giving you a perfect opportunity to call them all in.

A good idea with KK if somebody raises is to put in a small re-raise inviting them to go over the top and re-raise you again giving you a large pot for your cards.

Leveling Up vs. Adding Tables – Part 1

Last time you heard from me I was complaining and offering my ideas on how to play against the shortstacks. For me that was probably 30-40 thousand hands ago. I would like to talk about my recent battle to build my bankroll to a point where I could level up to higher stakes or add additional tables.

First I would like to give you some quick background about my game. My bankroll started at $300 on Ultimate Bet. With the help of few training sessions I have been able to consistently grow my bankroll playing at the NL10 tables. While these are very very low stakes it has been quite a grind. One other strange thing that Ultimate Bet offers is a max buy-in of 200BB for all their ring games. This is twice what most other sites will allow you to buy in for.

As my bankroll grew and I became more comfortable with my game I started to add more tables. I went from one to two, two to three, and then three to four. I grinded away playing four tables at once for quite some time. In the back of my head I needed to get to $750 in order for me to level up to 25NL. The reason why I had $750 in my head was because that would represent 30 buy-ins which is what I started 10NL with.

After one of my sessions I came up with a new plan. Once I was able to reach $525 I would be able to try the 25NL tables but with stipulations. The rules were I could only play one table, and I had to play with only 12$. If I busted twice I would go back to playing 10NL. So, I gave it a try and within 30 minutes I was back to $10NL. What went so wrong for me? I thought my game was solid but now I questioned it a little bit. What I came to realize was the level up, while it was meant to be very conservative and protect me from losing a huge part of my bankroll, was not the right kind for me. I went from playing 4 tables with a full stack (200BB) to playing one table with only 48 BB.

I really was unable to play my solid game, I was out of my element and was faced with choices that were no longer second nature to me (like after a continuation bet I would find myself pot committed). After discussing this with a friend of mine we decided that the next time I leveled up I would play with a buy in of 100BB (or 25$). Once my bankroll reached $550 I started playing 25NL. I also decided I would play two tables rather than the one. It went fairly well this time. My bankroll climbed to $575, then $600, then $625 and then $650. I started to add my other tables back and was feeling very comfortable at what seemed to be my new level.

Then I had my first wave of big (at least big to me) swings…

How to Play Pocket Jacks

Packet Jacks can be quite a tricky hand to play because they are a relatively high pair that is more than capable of winning but they are instantly put in jeopardy the moment a Queen, King or Ace appears on the flop.

Let’s cover the three options that you have pre-flop with pocket jacks:

Folding Pocket Jacks

This is not a very good idea as pocket jacks are actually the 5th best starting hand in poker.

Play Pocket Jacks

Calling with Pocket Jacks

Calling a raise with Pocket Jacks is generally a good idea. Odds are the player raising has a high card such as a King or Ace and chances are it wont appear on the flop giving them a pair.

When deciding whether to call you should take into account your personal poker style and strengths. For example are you a stong pre-flop player or do you take the game out post flop?.

Some other things you will need to consider when calling is what you will do it a later player re-raises, what you’ll do it a player goes all-in, what you will do if a card higher than a jack appears on the flop and what you will do if the other players pay to see the flop and there is nothing higher than a 10.

Raising with Pocket Jacks

The decision as to whether you should raise pre-flop with pocket jacks depends on the table. Raising is generally a better idea on more tight and passive tables. This will generally give you a good idea of the quality of the other players hands and what you could be up against.

Generally the best way to play pocket pairs is to simply limp in, call any raises (as long as they aren’t too big) and then jump ship if a higer card appears on the flop or play aggressively if you have the top pair.