queen-jack suited

How to Play Queen-Jack Suited in Cash Games

Queen-Jack suited is a damn good hand in No Limit Hold’em.

It can flop strong pairs, strong open-enders, flush draws, and gutshots. It often has useful blockers on Ace-high and King-high boards (blocking hands like AQ/AJ/KQ/KJ). And if all else goes wrong, Queen-Jack suited still usually has some kind of backdoor draw with 2 overcards.

It’s just an awesome hand all-around. As I usually do in these types of articles, I am going to cover:

  • How to Play Queen-Jack Suited Preflop
  • 3 Tips for When You Miss the Flop (As the Preflop Raiser)
  • 3 Tips for When You Hit the Flop

Here we go!

How to Play Queen-Jack Suited Preflop

Let’s take a look at how to play this hand preflop first!

Unopened Pots

When the action folds to you, Queen-Jack suited is strong enough to raise from every position. It’s ranked somewhere in the top 6-8% of hands — definitely a must-raise.

Against a Raise

When faced with a raise, you should always continue with Queen-Jack suited in some way or another. How exactly you should continue depends on your position.

If you are in the blinds, you should always 3-bet with Queen-Jack suited.

If you are playing from any position between Middle Position (6-max) and the Button, both cold-calling and 3-betting can be fine with Queen-Jack suited. It all depends on your approach to playing in position versus raises. (See the related article below for more details on that.)

Related article: Should You Stop Cold-Calling in Cash Games?

Against a 3-Bet

I’m gonna make this very easy: you should almost never fold Queen-Jack suited after you raise and someone 3-bets! Yes, it’s that strong.

You should almost always call 3-bets with this hand. The exceptions are if you are playing against nitty 3-bettors or players who 3-bet very big sizes (3.5x+). In these instances, you can consider folding — especially when you will be out of position postflop.

Against a 4-Bet

Against 4-bets, your strategy with Queen-Jack suited should be heavily dependent on the positions involved.

Generally speaking, you should call against 4-bets when you are in the middle of a late position battle. I’m referring to Button vs Cutoff, Small Blind vs Button, or Big Blind vs Button confrontations.

In all the other scenarios, folding is the best way to go.

I want you to keep in mind that you should always consider your opponent’s strategy before committing to calling a 4-bet. At micro and low stakes, players don’t usually 4-bet with a balanced range — some players only 4-bet with monster hands. Against super tight players like this, you can use folding as a weapon and put your Queen-Jack suited into the muck.

Note: Want to know exactly how to play every hand in every common preflop situation? Get instant access to extensive preflop charts and lessons (for cash games, heads-up, and tournaments) when you join the Upswing Lab training course. Lock your seat now!

The Advanced Solver Ranges for cash games — one of five sets of preflop charts in the Upswing Lab.

3 Tips for Playing When You Miss the Flop (As the Preflop Raiser)

Tip #1 – Always bet if you flop a draw in position

You generally want to c-bet your draws on the flop with Queen-Jack suited. This is because they have a decent chance to improve to the best hand by the river and win a big pot, while also balancing the hands with which you’d c-bet for value, making you harder to play against.

Tip #2 – Always bet when you have multiple backdoor draws in position

This tip goes hand in hand with tip number 1.

Hands with both backdoor flush and straight draws are very versatile. When you have these hands, you will often pick up a real draw with which you can continue semi-bluffing on the turn.

Additionally, if you never use these hands as bluffs on the flop, your strategy becomes heavily unbalanced towards value on draw-completing turns. For example, suppose the flop comes T♠ 7♠ 2. If you don’t bet on the flop with backdoor draw hands, consider what would happen when you do bet and the turn is something like the 6♠. Almost all of your possible draws complete (spades and 98), so you wouldn’t have any potential bluffs on the turn. This is a pretty huge problem because your opponent could own you by playing super tight if you continue betting.

Tip #3 – Always check when you don’t have any type of draw/backdoor draw

These flops are the worst. You completely whiffed and there is extremely little hope that you will turn or river the best hand. You should almost always give up with these hands on the flop.

3 Tips for Playing When You Hit the Flop

Tip #1 – Usually c-bet when you flop a top pair

Your top pair will be strong enough to value bet with on the flop regardless of having hit the Jack or the Queen. Never miss an opportunity to start building a bit pot on the flop with a top pair and good kicker. You can always pot control on the turn if needed, but the flop is a slam-dunk situation to extract some value from worse hands.

Tip #2 – Check when you flop a second pair

Second pair with the Queen or the Jack is a pretty invulnerable hand. In other words, it will often remain the second pair on the turn and the river since there will only be 2 or 3 higher cards that can change that.

Because of this, betting for equity denial (protection) is not going to be worth the investment since the hands you will be folding out will have extremely little equity against yours. On top of that, your second pair is not that strong of a hand to make it a pure value-bet. It just makes more sense to control the size of the pot and take a free turn card.

Tip #3 – Always bet with two-pairs and better 

I see this over and over from weaker players: they check back with their super-strong hand on the flop to deceive their opponent.

But the only thing that they are accomplishing is hurting their chance to make money from this game.

The main way you win at poker is by making big hands and getting paid off with them. If you don’t build the pot on the flop, it becomes exponentially harder to get the whole stack in by the river. Do yourself a favor and fast-play your strong hands!

Final Thoughts

You are now well equipped with the basics of playing Queen-Jack suited. Follow these guidelines and you won’t make any big mistakes.

That’s all for this article. I hope you enjoyed it and that you learned something new. I am looking forward to reading your feedback and replying to any questions you might have!

Want to put your poker skills to the test? Take the quiz “Do You Know How to Play vs Preflop Raises?

Till next time, good luck, grinders!

Note: Ready to join 5,000+ players currently upgrading their No Limit Hold’em skills? Crush your competition with the expert strategies you will learn inside the Upswing Lab training course. Learn more now!

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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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