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Playing Cautiously With Pocket Queens

Jonathan Little
  • Hand analysis: @JonathanLittle decides to be cautious with pocket queens before and after the flop.

  • How would you play pocket queens in this WSOP hand? See how @JonathanLittle chose to do so.

Here's a hand from a World Series of Poker event from last summer, one in which I have a big pocket pair that I end up playing cautiously both before and after the flop.

It was the 600/1,200/200 level and I began the hand with about 80,000. The hand started with a player who had about 35,000 to begin opening with a raise to 2,800 from under the gun. It then folded around to me in the cutoff seat where I was dealt {Q-Diamonds}{Q-Spades}.

If I knew the UTG player was especially active, I would three-bet here every time, and if I knew he was tight I would definitely call. I had no notes on this particular player, though, and when that's the case in this situation I will usually call, which is what I did.

The big blind who also had about 35,000 to start the hand called as well, which meant there was 10,800 in the pot when the flop came {10-Diamonds}{9-Diamonds}{8-Hearts}.

Both of my opponents checked, and despite the coordinated board I decided to go for value and bet 4,000 with my overpair. Only the initial raiser called. The turn then brought the {9-Hearts} and this time when my lone remaining opponent checked, I decided to check back. As I say on the video below, I feel like at this point I'm in marginal shape.

The {3-Clubs} river then completes the board, and my opponent bet 10,500 (more than half-pot). Take a look at what I decided to do, listen to my reasoning, and think about how you would have played this hand:

Would you bet when checked to on this flop? What about the turn and river? How would you have played this situation differently?

Jonathan Little is a professional poker player and author with over $6,700,000 in live tournament earnings. He writes a weekly educational blog and hosts a podcast at You can follow him on Twitter @JonathanLittle.

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