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Pocket Jacks Versus a Four-Bet — What Do You Do Here?

DECISION POINT: Preflop it folds to a player in middle position who raises and the button calls. You have {J-Diamonds}{J-Spades} in the small blind and reraise. It folds back to the MP player who four-bets, causing the button to fold. The action is on you…

PRO ANSWER: After a middle position preflop raise and a button call, we choose to reraise with pocket jacks from the small blind. Holding {J-Diamonds}{J-Spades}, we are well ahead of opponent hand ranges after a single raise and a call.

However, once the initial raiser chooses to four-bet to $90, that player’s likely range of hands narrows significantly. An average, unknown opponent will not four-bet without holding a premium hand and will often have a four-betting range that consists only of QQ+, AK. Our pocket jacks are well behind this range and nearly a 2-to-1 underdog.

We would need solid historical information that this particular opponent four-bets with a much wider hand range or includes a significant number of bluffs in that four-betting range in order to justify a five-bet.

Since the call amount of $58 represents over 25 percent of the effective stack, we do not have the implied odds necessary to call for set-mining value. Since both calling and reraising are unprofitable plays against our opponent’s probable hand range, that leaves only one option — folding.

We should fold our pocket jacks against what is very likely to be a premium hand range.

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