How to Play King-Queen Offsuit in Cash Games

King-Queen offsuit is a powerhouse hand…in most scenarios.

It should be quite a money-maker for you (on average), but you need to know how to play it properly.

This article covers:

  • How to Play King-Queen Offsuit Preflop
  • 3 Tips for Playing King-Queen When You Miss the Flop
  • 3 Tips for Playing King-Queen When You Hit the Flop

Let’s dive in!

How to Play King-Queen Offsuit Preflop

Your position (and your opponents’ positions) is vital when considering how to play King-Queen offsuit.

These are the positions that will be referenced in this section:

positions for ace queen 3-betting reference

Unopened Pots

Ranking among the top 15% of all No Limit Hold’em starting hands, King-Queen offsuit is strong enough to raise from all positions when the action folds to you.

At a 9-handed table, specifically, one could argue that King-Queen offsuit should be folded from the first two positions (UTG and UTG+1). If you’re at a particularly tough table (or one with very high rake), you may want to throw King-Queen offsuit in the muck. But if you think you have an edge, you will probably profit by raising with it.

Limping with it is not a good move. You’ll just win smaller pots on average by doing that.

Against an Open-Raise

When facing a raise, you need to be aware of your opponent’s position and also your own.

You need to keep in mind that even though this hand is very strong in unopened pots, things change when someone has already raised.

If a player has already raised from one of the early or middle positions, King-Queen offsuit not always strong enough to contest the pot profitably.

To be precise, this hand is usually worth 3-betting in the following scenarios:

  • Middle position raises, you’re seated in the Cutoff
  • Middle position, Hijack or Cutoff raises, you’re seated on the Button (you can also cold-call with it here)
  • Cutoff or Button raises, you’re seated in the Small Blind
  • Button raises, you’re seated in the Big Blind
  • Small Blind raises, you’re seated in the Big Blind

Pro tip: This advice assumes that you’re playing against players with decent preflop strategies. If you are playing against weaker, recreational players, you can start calling or, even better, 3-betting to isolate them even from the rest of the positions that weren’t mentioned.

Against a 3-Bet

King-Queen offsuit is not a great hand with which to call a 3-bet unless the opponent’s range is wide. If you raised from the Button and the Small or Big Blind 3-bets, for example, King-Queen offsuit is worth calling.

King-Queen offsuit is, however, a decent 4-bet bluff candidate. It has blockers to strong hands, reducing the number of Pocket Kings and Pocket Queens combinations in half. Plus the number of Ace-King combinations to 75%.

The hand works especially well as a 4-bet bluff when the 3-bettor’s range is slightly wider. Crucially, should your opponent hold Ace-Queen offsuit (which dominates you), they will likely fold versus your 4-bet, which greatly increases your expected value.

Against a 4-Bet

When facing a 4-bet, you should always fold King-Queen offsuit. It is simply too weak to continue.

3 Tips for Playing King-Queen Offsuit When You Miss the Flop

These tips will help you navigate postflop with King-Queen offsuit when the flop does not contain a King or Queen.

Tip #1 – After defending your Big Blind, you can oftentimes call a c-bet with just two overcards

After defending from the Big Blind, you will often miss the flop completely. But unless the flop is Ace-high, that doesn’t mean that you should give up on the pot right away.

When you have two overcards, you still have a decent chance (12%) to hit a top pair on the turn and that chance doubles (24%) if you see the river as well. You may also be able to steal the pot away if your opponent checks back on the turn.

Should you check and face a small or medium bet from one of the looser positions (Hijack, Cutoff or Button), these two overcards can be worth a call.

To give a concrete example, suppose you defend your Big Blind against a Button raise with and the flop comes . You check and your opponent bets 75% pot. You should always check-call King-Queen offsuit in this situation.

Tip #2 – After 3-betting before the flop, c-bet even with two bare overcards when you’re in position (almost every time)

After 3-betting, you find yourself almost always having the range advantage on the flop. This happens because you have a ton of overpairs and your opponent doesn’t.

You can leverage that range advantage to bluff when you miss the flop. Because of your range advantage, your opponent will not be able to counter you, even if he was familiar with your overall strategy.

The only exception here is when the board is low and very coordinated. If the flop is something like or , you will have so many missed overcards and (almost) no flopped sets. Because of this, you cannot leverage that overpair advantage.

Tip #3 – If you miss the flop completely and the flop has a straight or flush already possible, it’s best to check on the flop

I’m talking about hands like on boards such as  or .

Because the board is so connected and overall better for the caller’s range, your strategy should be more passive in these situations. Thus, checking becomes the better option.

If you have a backdoor flush draw to go with a backdoor straight draw, then c-betting becomes a more attractive option. But if you’ve completely whiffed and your opponent has a lot of strong hands, like on the example flops above, start with a check.

3 Tips for Playing King-Queen Offsuit When You Hit the Flop

Tip #1 – Check with your strong second pairs

For example: You raise preflop with , one player calls and the flop is .

When your middle pair can’t become a third pair — which is always the case with King-Queen — there isn’t an incentive to bet for protection. You also don’t get that much value from worse hands by betting. These two factors combine to make checking the clear option.

You can always start going for some value on the turn and/or river if your opponent shows weakness. Plus, you give your opponent the change to take a stab at the pot, and you’ll be able to call with your strong second pair.

Tip #2 – Always fast-play your strong hands

Missing out on value bets is like going to work and then not accepting your salary at the end of the week.

You do all this work — making risky bluffs, marginal calls, tough folds — and then you don’t charge your opponent when you have the goods. It doesn’t make any sense!

You should always start working on building the pot as soon as possible with your strong hands. When you flop two pair, trips, or a straight, you should always fast-play your hand.

The one possible exception is on a or flop. Since you have the deck so crushed on those flops, you can consider checking sometimes to let your opponent catch up and/or bluff.

Tip #3 – Flopped top pairs are mandatory c-bets

A top pair on the flop is a very strong hand that’s worth quite a bit of value. You can extract that value by c-betting when you’re the player who raised preflop.

Top pair with King-Queen is a particularly strong top pair. This increase in equity compared to weaker top pairs makes betting clearly better than checking.

This means that when holding King-Queen offsuit on a or type of flop, it’s a good idea to start building the pot right away.

Final Thoughts

King-Queen offsuit can be a very profitable hand if you play it in the right scenarios and in the right way. Just be sure to show discipline by folding it before the flop in the situations described above.

As with every piece of poker strategy, context is most important. So keep your mind sharp and focus strongly when playing.

That’s all for this guide. I hope you learned something new from it and if you found it useful please leave a comment in the section down below to show your support.

What starting hand would you like to see Upswing Poker cover next?

Let me know in the comments below.

You can see all the starting hand articles we’ve ever published right here.

Till’ next time, good luck, grinders!

Note: World-class pro Doug Polk has created a new poker crash course called The Postflop Playbook, which costs just $7 and takes less than 2 hours to complete.

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How to Play King-Jack Suited in Cash Games

When you get dealt King-Jack suited, there’s a good chance you’ll be seeing a flop.

So, I wrote this guide to help you make more money with this hand. Here’s what you’re going to learn:

  • How to Play King-Jack Suited Preflop
  • 3 Tips for When You Miss the Flop (As the Preflop Raiser)
  • 3 Tips for When You Hit the Flop

Let’s dive in!

How to Play King-Jack Suited Preflop

Let’s first take a look at how you should be approaching playing King-Jack suited preflop in almost all situations.

Here are the table positions for your reference:

positions for ace queen 3-betting reference

Unopened Pots

King-Jack suited is a very strong preflop hand, ranking among the top 5-7% of hands. Because of this, it should be open-raised from every position.

Limping is off-limits! Unless you want to win less money, of course.

Against a Raise

The strategy you should employ when facing a raise should depend on:

  • Your position
  • The raiser’s position

 Let’s split this section into three groups:

1. When you’re seated in Middle Position through Button

There are two schools of thought when it comes to playing from these positions generally, both of which can be good:

  1. Play a 3-bet only strategy.
  2. Play a mixed strategy that has both 3-bets and cold-calls.

Both strategies have extremely similar expected value (EV) as long as you apply the appropriate postflop strategy.

If you want to choose a 3-bet or fold strategy, you will want to always 3-bet with KJs. If you’re using a mixed strategy, then you will want to call with KJs as it’s not quite strong enough to be a clear 3-bet for value, nor is it weak enough to 3-bet as a semi-bluff.

2. From the Small Blind

If you play King-Jack suited from the Small Blind when facing a raise, you should always find the 3-bet. Without going into the math, it’s simply strong enough to 3-bet as part of a linear range.

3. From the Big Blind

When you’re in the Big Blind facing a raise, you should never fold King-Jack suited. You should simply call against every position except the Button and Cutoff. In that case, you should 3-bet for value and protection.

Against a 3-Bet

In highly raked games, which is most poker games, preflop solvers show that King-Jack suited is always strong enough to call the 3-bet.

In some preflop scenarios, it can/should also be used as a 4-bet bluff due to its great blocker properties (blocking strong hands that would continue against a 4-bet, thus increasing the bluff’s success rate).

When you’re facing a 3-bet and have the advantage of being in position, you should always call with King-Jack suited. The one somewhat common exception would be if you’re facing a very tight player who 3-bet to a massive size.

Against a 4-Bet

There are two groups of scenarios that you will find yourself in and they require a different approach:

1. You 3-bet from Middle Position through Button and face a 4-bet from the open-raiser.

You should usually fold in this spot. The exception is if you are on the Button facing a 4-bet from the Cutoff, in which case you can call if you think they have a well-built 4-bet range.

2. You 3-bet from Small Blind or Big Blind.

You should only call in this scenario when the Button is the one doing the 4-betting. Otherwise, make the fold.

Keep in mind that it is important to consider your opponent’s 4-betting tendencies. Against a tight 4-bettor, for example, you can usually comfortably fold King-Jack suited facing the 4-bet, regardless of your/their position.

Note: Discover how to play any hand in every common preflop situation in less than 10 seconds. Get instant access to extensive preflop charts (for cash games and tournaments) when you join the Upswing Lab training course and community. Lock your seat now!

The Advanced Solver Ranges for cash games — one of six sets of preflop charts in the Upswing Lab.

3 Tips for Playing When You Miss the Flop (As the Preflop Raiser)

Tip #1 – Fire a c-bet when you flop a gutshot, open-ender, or a flush draw

Draws are hands with nut potential, and nutted hands prefer being in as large of a pot as possible. To achieve this goal, it’s best to start building the pot on the flop in case you will hit. You also have a backup plan, which is to win the pot outright by making your opponent fold.

Tip #2 – Fire a c-bet when you flop a double backdoor draw 

By double backdoor, I am referring to having both a backdoor straight draw and a backdoor flush draw. These hands are a bit more disguised than your front door draws when they hit.

These hands also act as range balancers when the front door draws hit. By that, I mean that if you don’t fire c-bets on the flop with them, you will be lacking bluffs when the front door draws hit. And if you play against good players on a regular basis, they may catch on to this imbalance.

Tip #3 – If you whiff the flop completely, it’s best to check and give up

I’m talking about when you have on boards such as or .

On boards like these, King-Jack might have a backdoor straight draw, but because the board is so connected and overall better for the caller’s range, your strategy should be more passive in these situations.

3 Tips for Playing When You Hit the Flop

Tip #1 – Pot control after hitting a second pair in a single raised pot

When the stack-to-pot ratio is high, like in a single raised pot, it’s best to check and pot control with second pairs that are as invulnerable as a Jack or a King. The reason for that is that by betting you don’t get that much value from worse hands, you give some value to better hands, and don’t deny too much equity. 

So, say you open-raise from the Cutoff and the Big Blind calls. The flop comes . It’s better to check back with your King-Jack suited.

Tip #2 – Always fast-play your strong hands

Poker is a game built around getting value when you have a strong hand. Basically, everything a solver does is designed to get paid when it is at the top of its range.

This means that you should almost always lean towards building the pot immediately. When you flop two pair, trips, a straight, or a flush, you should always fast-play your hand.

Tip #3 – Always c-bet with flopped top pairs

A top pair on the flop is a very strong hand that can get a lot of value with a c-bet. This is especially true for top pair with strong kickers.

This means that when holding King-Jack suited on a or type of board, it’s a good idea to start building the pot right from the flop. There are a lot of worse hands that you will get value from right away.

Final Thoughts

King-Jack suited is a highly versatile hand with great nut potential so you will have a lot of fun playing it in a variety of situations. 

It is also a hand that you must learn to play well as you will find yourself playing postflop very often with it. But equipped with the tips that I’ve shared with you in this article, you will be able to find the right decision more frequently and thus make more money!

Do you guys think you should play differently with this hand? Let me know in the comment section down below!

If you want to learn how to play another starting hand, scroll down a bit until you see “Related Articles” and then pick the one that interests you.

Until next time, good luck, grinders!

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