Nightmare with two queens
November 28, 2017 3:00 AM
by Irene Edith
I had a nightmare that woke me up. The day before, I had lost a pot while holding two Queens in the hole. That must have been the reason for my dream. So I rushed to my computer to record my thoughts.
In a game of Texas hold’em, holding Q-Q in the hole, what is your best play pre-flop? Pocket Queens – two beautiful damsels, standing side-by-side – is one of the three made hands pre-flop (along with A-A and K-K). In that case, it is wise to raise to thin the playing field. The more opponents in the hand, the less likely your Q-Q will hold up to take the pot. Meanwhile, you are hoping an Ace or a King does not fall on the flop. By the same token, you would love to catch a set of Queens on the flop.
Assuming you don’t catch a set on the flop (the odds are about 8-to-1 against it), and all of the three flopped cards are a Jack or lower, your pocket Queens is probably in the lead. You want to keep it that way. If you are first to act, bet out to further thin the playing field; you might even take the pot if all of your remaining opponents fold their hands.
If there is a bet before you, consider the type of player the bettor is. If he’s tight, just call his bet. But, if he is aggressive and somewhat deceptive, try making a raise. Chances are, everyone else will muck their cards. Considering the range of hands your opponent might be playing, with just the two of you remaining in the pot, you have a good chance to emerge victorious.
What if you get lucky and the flop brings you a beautiful set of Queens? That’s a no-brainer. You know quite well your goal is to win as many chips as possible. Slow-play is the way to go unless the board looks threatening. For example, two suited cards on the flop could give an opponent a draw to a flush. Two cards in sequence, could mean a draw to a straight. Those are hands you would prefer to see mucked. Then a bet is in order. Otherwise, slow-play to build the size of the pot you hope to win. Wait until the turn to do your betting.
All poker players love Aces. Many will call to see the flop even with Ace-rag. The same is true for a King. With eight opponents in the game, the odds are one (or more) has an Ace and/or a King in the hole. That Ace (or King) on the flop gives good reason for concern. For you, it’s a scare card to be respected.
Consider your betting position and the types of players involved. If you are in a late position, and the betting is checked to you, go ahead, make your bet and see where that leads. If there is no raise, continue playing that hand aggressively. Remember, your pocket Queens are vulnerable; protect your hand by forcing out drawing hands.
On the other hand, should an opponent raise you, consider the type of player he is. Tight players who open bet – or raise – most likely have caught the higher pair (or better); consider folding your hand. If the raiser is loose-aggressive, just call along, and hope for the best.
From an early position, make your bet to get important information. A raise by a tight player must be respected; consider folding (and saving the rest of your chips for a better situation). On the other hand, call along if the raiser is aggressive or deceptive.
All in all, pocket Queens hold lots of promise; but play it carefully. Otherwise, it can be your nightmare, too.