Jacks

The seven, king, five, and eight fold; then the queen completes the bet to $4 and the nine folds. What do you do this time with your pair of j acks? You raise the bet, making it $8 to go. Since the queen is the first raiser this time, the queen could have anything, r anging from a bluff ( an attempt to win the antes) to three suited cards, three s traight cards, a small pocket pair, a pair of queens, or even, heaven forbid, rolled-up queens. You raise here to test the queen. What does the queen have? I s it BS, "the goods," or something in between?

Pay attention to t he way t he queen acts when i t i s h is t urn to act again. Does he call you reluctantly? Does he reraise you? Does he call you quickly? Try to determine, by your best read, whether he is strong or not. I f he reraises you, this i sn't a good sign, b ecause he probably has your j acks beaten right now. If he just c alls, try to guess what he has. Don't limit yourself in your guesses or r eads: be wiiling to consider more than one possibility. The important point is whether he has you beaten right now or not. I f you think he does have you beaten, t hen you should fold your hand as s oon as you face a double bet. Usually that's fifth street, but remember that i f s omeone pairs his door card it could be fourth street. Of course, if your opponents decide to give you a free card by checking, accept the gift gracefully and see what the free card brings: don't fold (as I have seen plenty of players do) s imply because you know you're l osing, u nless someone bets.

The i dea i s to put money in the pot when you're a favorite, and fold when you are a clear underdog. Another beautiful thing about making your best guess about what your opponent has, by reading the way he acts, i s that you wiil usually find out what he has anyway, and then you can adjust your guess nex time. The art of d etermining whether people are bluffing or not i s definitely something that c an be l earned.

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