how to play pocket queens

Texas Hold em Starting Hands » Pocket Queens

Knowing how to play pocket queens is an integral part of a more advanced Texas hold'em strategy. As with pocket kings, knowing how to play pocket queens requires a mixture of bold aggressiveness and subtlety; and you have to be prepared to fold without hesitation if you get the right (or is that wrong?) signals from other players.

QQ is a great hand to get in your hole. You've already got a pair to start the game before any bets are in, and it's royals. So, what should you do? Here's where you go all Doyle Brunson on people! You should raise before the flop. Don't be afraid to raise as much as five or six times the big blind. What are you trying to do with this strategy? You are trying to minimize your opponents--you are hoping to get the game down to a stand-off between you and one other player, ideally. But, the one or perhaps two players who stay in are players you want to be confident in their hands. Why is this? They will put more money into the pot for you to win.

Now the flop cometh. This is where you start watching carefully and start your odds and psychological calculations. Look for a trip-up or an over-pair on the flop. If you get it, keep going with a continuation bet strategy; you very, very likely have the best hand, even though that's still not guaranteed. Now, if you have previous experience, including games just played, with the other players, think about what they've been doing. How do they tend to play? They might have pocket kings or aces but they might have stayed in with calls, rather than taking your aggressive strategy, if that fits what you know of their playing style. But if an A or K flops and they start going strong, be ready to fold.

If you want to be very aggressive and go for both a nice pot and intimidation, don't be bashful about raising ¼ to ½ the pot, especially if you're in a later position, after the flop, even if you see the higher cards on the board now--remember if AA or KK flops, you've got over-pair. But, if one or both of those cards flop and you see someone raising you, think carefully and be cautious; are they now able to make a straight or a pair that beats yours (assuming you didn't trip-up)? Also beware of other players' chip stacks and how deep in they are. A check-raise that comes in after an over-card flops from a player with a deep chip stack might not be as frightening as one that comes in than from a shallow stacked opponent; with the shallow-stacked, you may have someone who just got really lucky and will try to bluff you into his victory.

If you get raised after an A or K flops, or you see the potential for a draw-down that can beat your QQ after the flop and get raised, after you've put in ¼ to ½, you should probably fold if you still only have the QQ going for you. You took some losses but you cut them at the right time; and you'll have planted the seed in others' minds that you're aggressive, leading to future bluffing opportunities in later hands.

If you stay in and feel confident of winning, just continue to watch your remaining opponents on the turn and the river for similar fold-signals.

So, hopefully now you know how to play pocket queens well enough to incorporate a new trick into your Texas hold'em game.

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