THE BASICS OF JACKPOT POKER – EPISODE 9
With Americas Cardroom bringing the Million Dollar Jackpot back to the Jackpot SNG games, I thought it would be a great time to cover some basic strategy concepts to help you maximize your longevity in the games while awaiting that life-changing spin.
Today, we look at the age-old poker question of to check-back or not check-back 2nd pair, which is even more pertinent in the Jackpot Poker games where every decision is magnified due to how few hands we have to exact our edge. And while there’s unfortunately no steadfast rule for when to do either – and you can often make a convincing argument for both sides of the debate within the same hand – I wanted to share 3 reasons I elected to check back in a recent hand.
Apart from the usual “pot control” argument – which is often nothing more than a fear-based excuse to take a passive line – on this particular board there are actually not that many cards that can hurt our top pair hand. In fact, the only ones that sort of do are the K and Q, but those same ones also have the benefit of giving us outs to an even stronger hand. Giving a free card in a situation where very few can hurt you seems like a sensible way to add more hands to your check-back range.
Another reason why checking back here makes a lot of sense to me is that due to the specific hand we’re holding, we actually block many of the worse hands that would continue on this flop – such as J7, J8, JQ, 98, 97 etc. Generally speaking, when we’re betting for thinner value, we want our opponents to have as wide of a non-value range as possible and that’s unlikely to be the case if we block a good chunk of them.
And finally, although I think it’s much less of a factor against inexperienced players in the low-stake games, checking back in a spot like this allows us to retain some strength in our check-back range, which prevents us from being exploited by an aggressive turn-betting strategy from our opponents.
So although even with all that said we can probably still make an argument for betting this flop regardless, I wanted to outline the thought process I used to settle on a check in this spot with the hope that it would help stimulate your own thinking in similar spots, whether you like the idea of checking back this particular hand or not.