How to Play Suited Queens (Q9-Q2) in Cash Games
The medium and low Queen-high suited hands are quite versatile, and they’re worth playing occasionally.
If you play these hands too often, you’ll find yourself spewing money. If you never play them, on the other hand, you’re leaving money on the table.
In this article, I am going to share:
- How to Play Suited Queens (Q9-Q2) in Common Preflop Situations
- 3 Tips for Playing Q9-Q2 Suited When You Miss the Flop
- 3 Tips for Playing Q9-Q2 Suited When You Hit the Flop
Let’s dive in.
How to Play Q9-Q2 Suited Preflop
Let’s run through the most common preflop scenarios. Here are the poker table positions for your reference:
These suited Queen-X hands are generally best used as steals, meaning you really don’t want action when you raise with them. You are relying a lot on fold equity when playing these hands.
But, of course, there is a big difference between some of these suited hands (e.g. Q9s is much stronger than Q2s). So, here are some exact guidelines for playing suited Queen-X hands when the action folds to you:
- With Q-9 suited, open-raise from the Lojack and onwards
- Add Q-8 suited into the mix from the Cutoff and Button
- Raise all Q-X suited hands from the Button and the Small Blind
Against a Raise
Your play when facing a raise should depend on your position and the position of the raiser. Let’s split this section into three groups:
1. When you’re in the Cutoff or earlier. From these positions, you should fold against a raise. All of these suited Queen-X hands are simply too weak to play back against relatively strong opening ranges.
2. When you’re on the Button. If it was a player seated in the Hijack (or any earlier position) who raised, then you should always fold these hands.
If the open-raiser is in the Cutoff and you have specifically Q-9 suited, you can either 3-bet or fold depending on the situation. If your opponent uses a small raise size and/or if you think their raising range is worth attacking, go for the 3-bet. If your opponent uses a big raise size and/or you think they’ll put up a lot of resistance against your 3-bet, lean towards folding.
3. When you’re in the Small Blind. You should always fold Q-8 suited through Q-2 suited when faced with a raise, regardless of the raiser’s position. If the Button raises, you should 3-bet Q-9 suited only.
4. When you’re in the Big Blind. When you’re in the Big Blind facing a raise, you should vary your play based on the position of the raiser and the size of their raise.
The raise size of the opponent is by far the most important factor in your decision-making here, followed by the position.
In a 6-max game, if your opponent open-raises on the smaller side (2.3bb or less), you should defend with all of these Queen-X suited hands against all positions.
If your opponent open-raises to 2.5bb:
- Defend only with Q9s-Q6s against the Lojack and Hijack
- Add 50% of Q5s-Q2s against the Cutoff
- Against the Button, you should defend with all of them
If your opponent open-raises to 3bb:
- Defend with Q9s against the Lojack and Hijack
- Add Q8s and half of Q7s-Q6s against the Cutoff
- Defend all of them against the Button or the Small Blind
Against a 3-Bet
You should almost always fold these hands against a 3-bet.
The exceptions are when you are on the Button or in the Small Blind with Q-9 suited. From those positions, consider your opponent’s likely 3-betting range. If you think they’re going to be extremely tight, you can still just fold. But if you think they’re attacking your raise even somewhat aggressively, Q-9 suited is worth a call.
Against a 4-Bet
Simple: always fold. Q-9 suited is at the bottom of all 3-betting ranges, so you can easily let it go versus a 4-bet.
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3 Tips for Playing Queen-X Suited When You Miss the Flop
Tip #1 – Always bet after you’ve 3-bet from the Blinds (unless the board is low and connected)
The 3-betting range from these positions is usually overpowering the calling ranges of the opponent. The effect is so strong that you should bet almost 100% of the time, including with your Queen-X suited hands.
The only times you should be careful and check (with the intention to check-fold) is when the board is low and connected and you don’t have a backdoor flush draw. Those boards favor the caller’s range, and a lot of your range will be missing this board, so it’s best to waive the white flag right away.
By low and connected, I’m talking about flops such as 6-5-3 or 7-4-3. Your many high card hands miss these boards, and thus a defensive strategy is in order.
Tip #2 – Bet when you have a backdoor draw after raising preflop
Like with any unpaired hand, you’re gonna miss the flop most of the time with Queen-X suited hands. But you shouldn’t just give up every time that happens.
This is where having a backdoor flush draw or even a backdoor straight draw comes in. These backdoor draws add some nice equity and playability to these hands, which pushes them past the threshold that makes them worth betting as a bluff on the flop. If you pick up a real draw on the turn, you can continue bluffing/semi-bluffing.
Tip #3 – Check-raise from the Big Blind when the board is paired and you have nice backdoors
Sometimes the board is so dry that you need to get creative with your check-raise bluffing range.
Think of a flop such as KK6r. You will have a lot of Kx hands with which you want to check-raise for value, but you don’t have any real draws to balance those hands with.
In these cases, you can add hands such as Q-9 suited, Q-8 suited, and Q-7 suited with a backdoor flush draw to your check-raising range. These hands have 2 overcards to the bottom card and can pick up a real draw on the turn.
3 Tips for Playing When You Hit the Flop
Tip #1 – Always bet when you flop two pair in position
I sometimes see weak players check back with a hand such as Q-8 suited on a Q-9-8 flop. I suspect they do this because they are afraid of their opponent having a flopped straight.
But the chance that your opponent is holding exactly J-T is very slim. If we’re talking about a Big Blind vs Button situation, for example, then the Big Blind will only have a straight 2% of the time.
The simple solution is to bet the flop so you don’t miss out on a huge amount of value. Hands like flopped two pair don’t come around very often!
Tip #2 – When you flop top pair in position in a single-raised pot, check back on the flop and delay your c-bet to the turn.
On most boards, the top pair that you’ll hit will not be not strong enough to value bet for three streets.
When that is the case, you need to choose which street you will check. You can either bet on the flop, check the turn, and bet the river, or check on the flop and bet the turn and river.
With Qx-suited hands, it’s usually best to start with a check and delay your c-bet to the turn. Then you can barrel for value on the river unless it’s a really bad card for your range.
This has the added benefit of giving your opponent a chance to bluff on the turn, and you’ll be ready to bluff-catch with your top pair. Should they not bet, you will still have the chance to go for value yourself after they’ve checked again.
Tip #3 – Check even if you have a low top pair when you are out of position in a single raised pot
Say you open-raise Q-7 suited from the Small Blind and the Big Blind calls. The flop comes 753r. You might be tempted to c-bet here for value and protection, but you should actually check your entire range on these types of low boards.
This is because the Big Blind has a lot more strong hands (two pair+) on these low flops. With such a strong advantage when it comes to nutted hands, they should raise your bet very frequently and put you in very tough spots later in the hand. Those tough spots can be avoided by starting off with a check.
There you have it, the 5-minute crash course into playing Q9-suited through Q2-suited better than 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!
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