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queen jack offsuit

How to Play Queen-Jack Offsuit in Cash Games

Queen-Jack offsuit is a solid hand that is often worth playing, but certainly not from every position.

In this article, I am going to give you:

  • Advice on how to play Queen-Jack offsuit preflop
  • 3 tips for playing it postflop when you hit the flop
  • 3 tips for playing it when you miss the flop

Let’s dive in!

How to Play Queen-Jack Offsuit Preflop

Here’s a guide on how to play Queen-Jack offsuit in every common preflop situation.

I’ll be referencing positions quite a bit in this section. Here they are for your reference:

positions for ace queen 3-betting reference

Unopened pots

In an unopened pot, Queen-Jack offsuit should be folded from the Lojack and earlier. It is just barely not strong enough to raise from these positions.

In the Hijack, you can choose to either raise or fold this hand. The two options are close enough in expected value (EV) that it comes down to personal preference.

From the Cutoff through Small Blind, you should always raise with Queen-Jack offsuit.

Against an open-raise

When faced with an open-raise, the value of Queen-Jack offsuit goes down drastically.

You should always fold QJo in these situations unless you are in the Big Blind and the raiser is the Lojack or later. If the raiser is UTG-UTG2 in a full-ring game, you can either call or fold.

You should never 3-bet with Queen-Jack offsuit because its equity and playability are too low to make it profitable.

Against a 3-bet

If you raise Queen-Jack offsuit and face a raise, you should fold in almost every instance.

The lone exception is when you are playing from the Small Blind, and the Big Blind has 3-bet your raise. In that case, you should be 4-betting around 25% of the time as part of a polarized 4-betting strategy.

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3 Tips for Playing Queen-Jack Offsuit When You Miss the Flop As the Preflop Caller

Suppose a player raises and you defend your Big Blind with Queen-Jack offsuit. The flop comes, you check, and your opponent bets.

That is the situation these tips are for.

Tip #1 – With an open-ended straight draw, mix between check-calling and check-raising

Open-ended straight draws are very strong unpaired hands. Should they see the turn and the river, they will become straights around a third of the time.

The reason that you should sometimes call and sometimes raise is that you want to have straights in both ranges on straight completing turns/rivers. If you always check-call with your open-enders, for example, your range will be deficient for straights on certain run outs when you check-raise.

It’s better to have open-enders in both your check-calling and check-raising ranges, so I suggest mixing between the two options by default. If you have a read on your opponent that makes you think one option is clearly better than the other, go with that.

Tip #2 – When you have a backdoor flush draw and backdoor straight draw, you should mostly check-call

I’m talking about situations like holding Q♣ J on a board like T♣ 7♣ 2♠.

With 2 overcards to the flop and lots of turns that will give you a real draw, you should always continue with hands like this (unless the bet size is massive).

You should mostly just check-call, but check-raising sometimes is a good idea too. This hand is what we’d call a float.

Tip #3 – With a flush draw on monotone flops, you should always check-call

When the flop comes three cards of the same suit and you have a flush draw, your hand is going to be worth calling at least one bet.

It doesn’t matter if it’s the Q-high or J-high flush draw, either way your hand is too weak to check-raise as a semi-bluff. Instead, you simply want to check-call and take a turn. Your opponent may even check-back on the turn and you’ll get to see the river for free.

3 Tips for Playing Queen-Jack Offsuit When You Hit the Flop

Tip #1 – Don’t always bet your top pair on the flop in position

You will hit decently strong top pairs with your Queen-Jack. But they will not be strong enough to value bet for three streets.

In this case, you can start off with either a check or a bet. If you check, you will then look to bet on the turn and river (on most run outs). If you bet, you should mostly look to check back on the turn with plans to value bet (or call a bet) on the river.

Tip #2 – Check back with most second and third pairs

These are medium-strength hands that are best played passively, looking to protect your weak hands that will also check back. This way, you will not allow your opponent to start relentlessly stealing away the pot after your check.

Tip #3 – Fast play your strong hands

When you flop a monster like two pair or trips, you want to build the pot right away.

Slow-playing is reserved for very few scenarios (see: when to slow-play), and when it comes to flop c-betting in position, you should basically never do it unless the board is monotone (or with top set, specifically).

Not betting when you have a good hand will mean you will end up winning smaller pots on average, thus lowering your expected value (EV).

Wrapping Up

BOOM, the 5-minute crash course for playing Queen-Jack offsuit better than most of your opponents! 

If you enjoyed this article or you’d like to know how to play some other hands, please let me know in the comment section down below. 

Till’ next time, good luck, grinders!

Note: Doug Polk’s poker strategy crash course (The Postflop Playbook) takes less than 2 hours to complete and costs just $7. What are you waiting for? Improve your skills before your next session.

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About the Author
Dan B.

Dan B.

Online grinder aspiring to reach the highest stakes and crush the toughest games. I'm available for quick strategy questions and hourly coaching -- reach out to me at [email protected].

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