As the third biggest pocket pair, Queens should be one of your strongest performing Texas Hold’em hands. Yet many people struggle to play those “Ladies” properly, especially on tricky flops featuring an Ace or King. 

In this article, we’ll take a look at how to play pocket queens more effectively to increase your success rate.

Playing Queens Pre-Flop

We probably don’t need to dwell on this for too long. Pocket Queens is a very simple hand to play pre-flop and most people that struggle with playing them do so post-flop. 

You should always raise an unopened pot. Similarly, you should 3-bet on an opened pot 100% of the time.

There is little point trying to get tricky before the flop with a pair of Ladies. All you’re going to do is offer improved pot odds for someone who is tempted to play a hand like suited connectors. You’re just asking to be outdrawn, so always look to thin out the field or take the pot down right away.

In terms of 4-betting, you’ll want to do so most of the time. But proceed with caution when in early position against a 3-bet from the blinds. These hand ranges are fairly polarised. You’re out of position post-flop and you could be looking at a monster, so a call is justified.

How to Play Pocket Queens on Boards With Low Cards

Most flops are going to look pretty good for pocket queens. We’re only ever truly worried about an Ace or a King, which we’ll cover in the next section. So, if it’s checked to us, we should bet 100% of the time.

Yes, it’s possible that our opponent also has a pocket pair and has flopped a set, but such situations are rare. What’s more, we’re going to find out pretty quickly when our opponent plays back very hard.

Even a flop like J-J-9 shouldn’t concern us. It’s certainly possible that they are involved with a hand like J-T suited, especially if they opened and then called a 3-bet. Every once in a while, we will run into such annoying situations. But we cannot constantly worry about these rare spots. Instead, we should be as aggressive as possible to extract the maximum value.

What to Do With Queens on Scary Flops

Right, let’s now address the main problem that people face when handling pocket Queens. What do we do when an overcard flops? 

First of all, we must never simply assume that we are now behind. Only a small part of their range contains either an Ace or a King. They could easily be holding a pocket pair from J-J or below, in which case we are miles ahead. If the flop is K-7-3 for instance, we certainly don’t need to worry about hands like A-Q suited and J-T suited.

With that in mind, we should still look to get value out of what remains a premium holding. However, we must try to prevent the pot from getting out of control, just in case. 

A skilled player is not going to call our bets on all three streets with an inferior hand. So, if we bet to try and get two streets worth of value instead of three, that’s fine. But more importantly, those bets will help us to find out where we stand.

Hand Examples

Imagine if we were to 3-bet pre-flop from the button and found one caller in mid position. Our opponent checked to us on a flop of K(Diamond)-8(Spade)-7(Spade). In this situation, there’s potential here for all kinds of draws. Naturally, we don’t want to give our opponent a free card. The right thing to do here is to bet.

Let’s say the opponent called and the turn was a brick, the 2 of hearts. Here, we can bet again, and if we find a call, we can think about slowing down. If our opponent checked on the river, simply check back. If they bet, having check-called all the way, we should seriously consider the chance that they were looking to trap us.

Another example might be a flop like A(Diamond)-6(Spade)-2(Heart), where there is an overcard. However, this is pretty much a dry board. In this situation, if our opponent checked, it would be much safer to check back. If they bet the turn, that would be another story. We would have to assess the situation. But if they checked again, it would be safe to bet both streets for value.

Conclusion

As the third strongest starting hand in Texas Hold’em, playing pocket queens is actually quite straightforward. You have a monster, so play it accordingly. Look to extract as much value as possible and don’t fear the rare situations where you could be outdrawn. The only exception is when the opponent gives you sufficient reason to believe they’ve overtaken you.

Now that you know the way to play with pocket Queens, why not sign up for a free account with Natural8 and practice using the freerolls and low-stake tournaments?

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