Wednesday, January 11, 2006

How Not To Play QQ Preflop

QQ is one of those tough hands to play preflop. I will try to show an example of how not to play it, and also illustrate how easy it is to get off your game during a session and make some Donkeesque moves. First of all, you have to raise preflop with QQ. This is not the type of hand you go for the limp raise with. If you are first in, raise 3-5x the BB. Taking it down right there is not a bad thing. There are many flops that will come up with a scary A or K. If you get several limpers before, raise even more (4x+1x per limper is a good rule of thumb) If someone raises before you, you need to reraise preflop to see where you are at. I like to min. reraise or slightly more with QQ. If your reraise gets reraised big, its probably time to fold your QQ preflop. If you can't fold this hand preflop it will be hard for you to be a profitable player. If you get reraised the minimum, you should probably call, but treat it like a middle pair and hope to flop a set, assuming you are up against AA or KK. If there is a decent opening raise, and a big reraise before you act, you should probably just fold. You should also take stack sizes into account when making these decisions. It is less likely that a short stack makes the second big raise preflop with AA or KK then a big stack, so you should be a little more willing to play your QQ to short stack action preflop.

I want to talk about the case where you open raise preflop with QQ, and get reraised. Below is a hand from yesterday. Warning, do not play it this way! I slipped and really screwed this one up, and could not figure out why. Take your time before committing all of your chips! Make sure every decision is the most correct one before acting!

FullTilt, .50/1 nl, 9 players
I get QQ in the middle
One limper
I raise to $5
Folds to SB who reraises to $9
Folds to me
Raiser has $45 more, I have $100 more
I think for about a second and decide this guy is short, and I should gamble
I go All- In
SB Calls
SB has KK
I get no help and lose a $108 pot
I am a Donkey

Wow, slow down and look at your options before acting. When your QQ open raise gets minimum reraised preflop you have several options.

1) FOLD: Ok this is a weak play, and not what I am recommending, but not a horrible option here. The min reraise indicates a high possibility that the other guy has a higher pair. The problem here is that the other guy could make this move with a medium pair or AK trying to find out where he is at, and you are possibly folding the best hand.

2) CALL: Not a bad option here. First, if you call you can intend to play it like a small to medium pocket pair and hope for a set. If no A or K shows, you can show some aggression on the flop. The problem here is you are not narrowing your opponents range of hands. This will have to be done post flop, and could get more expensive. You are getting over 4 for 1 on your money, and the implied odds are big if you hit your Q. You should use the standard rule of thumb for calling preflop raises with medium to small pocket pairs. "Do both I and the raiser have 10x the raise amount?"

3) Reraise the minimum: I really think this is the answer. If the guy comes back over me big, I can release the hand, being pretty certain he has AA or KK. If the guy just calls, he probably does not have AA or KK, and I can assume I am ahead if no A or K flops. Just a call indicates AK, JJ, TT or 99 I would say. If he folds, I win. If he reraises the minimum, I think you have to call, and play it like your QQ is behind. The problem here is you are paying for confirmation that the guy really has AA or KK when he kinda already said that. The advantage is the info is not that expensive.

4) Reraise pretty big: I would not recommend this unless the guy is short, and you have reason to believe he is bluffing. You may be pot committing yourself here, if you cant fold to an All-In reraise. I think you are just paying to high a price for the information here.

5) Reraise All-In: This is what I did, and it has to be the worst option here. If I reraise all-in, I get called by AA and KK for sure, AK possibly, but probably not pairs JJ and down. All of the hands I am beating here will likely fold, unless the other guy is a fish incapable of laying down a pocket pair preflop. With the prefop reraise you have to put the guy on AA to 99 or AK (smaller pairs for donks). So I am risking my stack (100x) to win 15x pot, but probably more than 1/2 the time I am wrong, and lose my stack, unless I suckout as a 4-1 dog. This is a -EV move big time. Don't do it!


At 9:22 AM, Blogger smokkee said...

I got caught in a donk move with QQ the other night. two limpers to me in MP. I raise it up 6x ($12). SB calls. BB moves in for $55. i'm thinking he's on a steal so i call. SB moves in over the top. I should fold there but, i've got $55 invested, about half my stack. i figure i might be behind but, i call anyway praying for the two outer. SB has KK. BB has AA. off to the races. no help for me. BB triples up taking the main pot. SB takes the side pot. He comes out about even with his move. i bust out. retarded.

At 11:01 PM, Blogger LifeStyleTree said...


I'm in poker training got caught playing my QQ as a monster and lost to an AA. Both of us all in. Made my tournament real short.

After this happened went looking for the right answer and found this article. Thanks for the help.

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