How to Play King-Jack Suited in Cash Games
When you get dealt King-Jack suited, there’s a good chance you’ll be seeing a flop.
So, I wrote this guide to help you make more money with this hand. Here’s what you’re going to learn:
- How to Play King-Jack Suited Preflop
- 3 Tips for When You Miss the Flop (As the Preflop Raiser)
- 3 Tips for When You Hit the Flop
Let’s dive in!
How to Play King-Jack Suited Preflop
Let’s first take a look at how you should be approaching playing King-Jack suited preflop in almost all situations.
Here are the table positions for your reference:
King-Jack suited is a very strong preflop hand, ranking among the top 5-7% of hands. Because of this, it should be open-raised from every position.
Limping is off-limits! Unless you want to win less money, of course.
Against a Raise
The strategy you should employ when facing a raise should depend on:
- Your position
- The raiser’s position
Let’s split this section into three groups:
1. When you’re seated in Middle Position through Button
There are two schools of thought when it comes to playing from these positions generally, both of which can be good:
- Play a 3-bet only strategy.
- Play a mixed strategy that has both 3-bets and cold-calls.
Both strategies have extremely similar expected value (EV) as long as you apply the appropriate postflop strategy.
If you want to choose a 3-bet or fold strategy, you will want to always 3-bet with KJs. If you’re using a mixed strategy, then you will want to call with KJs as it’s not quite strong enough to be a clear 3-bet for value, nor is it weak enough to 3-bet as a semi-bluff.
2. From the Small Blind
If you play King-Jack suited from the Small Blind when facing a raise, you should always find the 3-bet. Without going into the math, it’s simply strong enough to 3-bet as part of a linear range.
3. From the Big Blind
When you’re in the Big Blind facing a raise, you should never fold King-Jack suited. You should simply call against every position except the Button and Cutoff. In that case, you should 3-bet for value and protection.
Against a 3-Bet
In highly raked games, which is most poker games, preflop solvers show that King-Jack suited is always strong enough to call the 3-bet.
In some preflop scenarios, it can/should also be used as a 4-bet bluff due to its great blocker properties (blocking strong hands that would continue against a 4-bet, thus increasing the bluff’s success rate).
When you’re facing a 3-bet and have the advantage of being in position, you should always call with King-Jack suited. The one somewhat common exception would be if you’re facing a very tight player who 3-bet to a massive size.
Against a 4-Bet
There are two groups of scenarios that you will find yourself in and they require a different approach:
1. You 3-bet from Middle Position through Button and face a 4-bet from the open-raiser.
You should usually fold in this spot. The exception is if you are on the Button facing a 4-bet from the Cutoff, in which case you can call if you think they have a well-built 4-bet range.
2. You 3-bet from Small Blind or Big Blind.
You should only call in this scenario when the Button is the one doing the 4-betting. Otherwise, make the fold.
Keep in mind that it is important to consider your opponent’s 4-betting tendencies. Against a tight 4-bettor, for example, you can usually comfortably fold King-Jack suited facing the 4-bet, regardless of your/their position.
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3 Tips for Playing When You Miss the Flop (As the Preflop Raiser)
Tip #1 – Fire a c-bet when you flop a gutshot, open-ender, or a flush draw
Draws are hands with nut potential, and nutted hands prefer being in as large of a pot as possible. To achieve this goal, it’s best to start building the pot on the flop in case you will hit. You also have a backup plan, which is to win the pot outright by making your opponent fold.
Tip #2 – Fire a c-bet when you flop a double backdoor draw
By double backdoor, I am referring to having both a backdoor straight draw and a backdoor flush draw. These hands are a bit more disguised than your front door draws when they hit.
These hands also act as range balancers when the front door draws hit. By that, I mean that if you don’t fire c-bets on the flop with them, you will be lacking bluffs when the front door draws hit. And if you play against good players on a regular basis, they may catch on to this imbalance.
Tip #3 – If you whiff the flop completely, it’s best to check and give up
I’m talking about when you have on boards such as or .
On boards like these, King-Jack might have a backdoor straight draw, but because the board is so connected and overall better for the caller’s range, your strategy should be more passive in these situations.
3 Tips for Playing When You Hit the Flop
Tip #1 – Pot control after hitting a second pair in a single raised pot
When the stack-to-pot ratio is high, like in a single raised pot, it’s best to check and pot control with second pairs that are as invulnerable as a Jack or a King. The reason for that is that by betting you don’t get that much value from worse hands, you give some value to better hands, and don’t deny too much equity.
So, say you open-raise from the Cutoff and the Big Blind calls. The flop comes . It’s better to check back with your King-Jack suited.
Tip #2 – Always fast-play your strong hands
Poker is a game built around getting value when you have a strong hand. Basically, everything a solver does is designed to get paid when it is at the top of its range.
Tip #3 – Always c-bet with flopped top pairs
A top pair on the flop is a very strong hand that can get a lot of value with a c-bet. This is especially true for top pair with strong kickers.
This means that when holding King-Jack suited on a or type of board, it’s a good idea to start building the pot right from the flop. There are a lot of worse hands that you will get value from right away.
King-Jack suited is a highly versatile hand with great nut potential so you will have a lot of fun playing it in a variety of situations.
It is also a hand that you must learn to play well as you will find yourself playing postflop very often with it. But equipped with the tips that I’ve shared with you in this article, you will be able to find the right decision more frequently and thus make more money!
Do you guys think you should play differently with this hand? Let me know in the comment section down below!
If you want to learn how to play another starting hand, scroll down a bit until you see “Related Articles” and then pick the one that interests you.
Until next time, good luck, grinders!