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Educational Post: The Value of KQ

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  • Educational Post: The Value of KQ

    So, to explain why I'm doing an educational post, I realize that some people have been looking for more meat and potato poker content lately, and haven't been getting it here. To preserve the goodness of the General Forum, I thought I'd post some of my pokerthinks in a thread to generate some actual poker discussion. It's my hope that these educational posts will become an everyday thing, so that we'll all learn something helpful and enlightening whenever we decide to read the forum. I want anyone and everyone with something to say on the topic to post, so even if you don't think we want to hear it, I promise you, we do. Let's make ourselves cardsmart, people. Also, if you think that this kind of post is good and you want to see more of them in the future, post it here and I can see about getting some people to put up some quality content. If you guys are bored and hate it, well then, I'll stop. So, the topic today: Exactly how valuable is it? Here's what I think. This hand has long been described as a trouble hand. A hand you get knocked out of tournaments on, and lose all your money with. It's like AK, but worse. True, it's better than most unpaired hands, but when you get action with it, it's often with AK or AQ, two hands that crush you. I think that this logic scares a lot of people into mucking this hand prematurely, though, and I think KQ is better than a lot of people give it credit for. You should certainly be cautious with it, but I believe you can sometimes play it aggressively, and very profitably as well. First off, KQ is only really behind five hands. AA, KK, QQ, AK, and AQ. Pairs below QQ are also ahead, but it's basically a coin flip and coin flips don't really matter when you can play a post-flop game. Either you make your hand and bet it, or you don't and you drop it. And if you're at the stage in a tourney where you're getting it all-in preflop, there's usually enough money in the pot to justify being on the bottom-end of a coin flip. Anyway, the number of hands that KQ is behind to begin with is one of the reasons I think it's an undervalued hand. There aren't many. There are only five. And out of those five, four of them are blocked by KQ. KK, QQ, AK, and AQ are less likely holdings for an opponent, because you already have a K and a Q. That takes the number of possible holdings that crush you down from 50 to 36. That's a 28% decrease. I think that's substantial. The other thing that makes me think that I think KQ is undervalued, is that in low-limit games, people play broadways a lot. KQ actually might dominate a lot of holdings an opponent would call to see a flop with preflop. And the key word there is call. Almost any hand that beats you would raise preflop, and often would reraise. Under the right conditions, if an opponent has an opportunity to 3bet preflop and does not take it, that's often a sign saying that the coast is clear to play your KQ. In the micro-limit games I play, I play KQ a fair amount, because it's easy for me to tell when I'm ahead and when I'm behind. Again, using KQ responsibly is advice to teach your kids, but I'm pretty sure we adults can handle the dangers and dodge the pitfalls. That's what I think, anyway. What do you guys think?

  • #2
    KQ, OK

    but it gets called down by any ace too much
    thats what makes it weak
    and the way people overvalue A10 and AJ and any sooted ace, ugh.
    if you play it you have to love folding it to ANY pressure postflop
    its one of my all in hands when im getting that feeling tho


    • #3
      In 6max no-limit cash games I love KQ. I feel it is a very strong and versatile starting hand from any position. AK will usually make it's presence known before the flop, and AQ will often reraise you on the flop... giving you a big clue that you might be dominated after flopping the Q. If neither of those things happens, you're usually going to be ahead when you flop a pair. If you manage to make a straight, it is always going to be the nut straight. If you make a flush, it will often be the best at showdown. In a 9max game, it probably loses a lot of value in early position.

      As for MTT's I am VERY uncomfortable with KQ suited or not when I am short stacked. Any A can cause you a lot of trouble if all-in. Even medium stacked I am terrified of playing KQ unless I'm on the button. If your big stacked I would think KQ is very playable as long as your in late position or BB and getting good odds.


      • #4

        Just as I started to read this, I had a hand with KQd. I initially called, but then folded to a fairly big raise preflop (early in a MTT). Sure enough, the only paint card to come was a Q and I would have won the hand .

        There is definitely value in this hand, but it's hard to play, I tend to only play it in either unraised pots, or pots where the raiser is fairly loose. If nothing hits it's fairly easy to let it go so that's another point of strength.

        I've heard this before about KQ, that it's undervalued and folded far too often. It's definitely worth thinking about.

        Good luck!!
        Bracelet Winner


        • #5
          I definitely agree that KQ is hard to play in early position, and to a fair extent in the early stage of a tournament. It's really a big go-to hand for me as a short stack, and especially in the late game though. That's when people will really start to call a shove with KT, QJ, and sometimes much worse. As for the idea that any ace kills KQ, well, it's a lot like getting called by a smaller pair. It's really a flipping scenario, and I often find in STT's that if the blinds have made the effective stack-to-pot ratio pretty big (so in other words, stealing the initial pot would be a decent chip-up for me) then I can just take the risk and jam all-in with KQ, profitably. Nice to read the discussion going on! umbup:
          Last edited by PanickyPoker; Mon Mar 07, 2011, 06:30 AM. Reason: had to make my sentence make snese


          • #6
            Love the educational post!
            Keep em coming!

            KQ is one of my favourite hands to get late in a tourney when desperation sets in among the short stacks. Not a bad hand at all to go one-on-one with.


            • #7
              Cheap flops in NL or definitely in limit.... it's a hand that will get beat some (why you want to keep it cheap for flop)... but can have some big rewards.

              6 Time Bracelet Winner


              • #8
                I treat KQ just as if it is AK sometimes.


                • #9
                  prime ex: KQ just got me the set of blinds I'll need to cash in the late pso.....

                  PokerStars Game #58792550447: Tournament #368288712, Freeroll Hold'em No Limit - Level XII (500/1000) - 2011/03/06 23:12:54 CT [2011/03/07 0:12:54 ET]
                  Table '368288712 91' 9-max Seat #1 is the button
                  Seat 1: JWK24 (2615 in chips)
                  Seat 2: tilt 2 hilt (19480 in chips)
                  Seat 3: alchemy2 (3780 in chips) is sitting out
                  Seat 4: DENTEX0421 (5575 in chips)
                  Seat 5: Don Recapo (17275 in chips)
                  Seat 6: roscoe3a (8315 in chips)
                  Seat 7: devon_miller (21131 in chips)
                  Seat 8: sellers4life (4431 in chips)
                  Seat 9: joshy92 (10234 in chips)
                  JWK24: posts the ante 100
                  tilt 2 hilt: posts the ante 100
                  alchemy2: posts the ante 100
                  DENTEX0421: posts the ante 100
                  Don Recapo: posts the ante 100
                  roscoe3a: posts the ante 100
                  devon_miller: posts the ante 100
                  sellers4life: posts the ante 100
                  joshy92: posts the ante 100
                  tilt 2 hilt: posts small blind 500
                  alchemy2: posts big blind 1000
                  *** HOLE CARDS ***
                  Dealt to JWK24 [Kd Qd]
                  DENTEX0421: folds
                  Don Recapo: folds
                  roscoe3a: folds
                  devon_miller: folds
                  sellers4life: folds
                  joshy92: folds
                  JWK24: raises 1515 to 2515 and is all-in
                  tilt 2 hilt: folds
                  alchemy2: folds
                  Uncalled bet (1515) returned to JWK24
                  JWK24 collected 3400 from pot
                  *** SUMMARY ***
                  Total pot 3400 | Rake 0
                  Seat 1: JWK24 (button) collected (3400)
                  Seat 2: tilt 2 hilt (small blind) folded before Flop
                  Seat 3: alchemy2 (big blind) folded before Flop
                  Seat 4: DENTEX0421 folded before Flop (didn't bet)
                  Seat 5: Don Recapo folded before Flop (didn't bet)
                  Seat 6: roscoe3a folded before Flop (didn't bet)
                  Seat 7: devon_miller folded before Flop (didn't bet)
                  Seat 8: sellers4life folded before Flop (didn't bet)
                  Seat 9: joshy92 folded before Flop (didn't bet)

                  6 Time Bracelet Winner


                  • #10
                    I do believe that was a +EV play.

                    I would've actually hoped for a call there. I think either blind's calling range would've been so wide, you could have easily tripled up there, or better. Honestly, I think the SB made a terrible fold, without even seeing their cards. Without the BB to worry about, and with a comfortable stack like that, I think an ATC call there would have been +EV.


                    • #11
                      Nice Post

                      Nice Post Panic. Really good idea on the forums needed more education or entertainment. As I suck as a coach/teacher I'll stick to trying to entertain. But, I've also found the forums really boring w/ all a the fighting and or complaining. I don't know what I can add to this discussion, as I play FLHE short where a KQ holding is a monster, and I play it like freaking AA. As for KQ in Tourney Play, I'd have to agree w/ ya. Not a hand I'd teach someone new to be using a whole lot. But for players that don't fall in love with their hands, KQ late or semi late for me position wise, and semi deep in the cash mtt's I play, are worth a play. I don't play in already contested pots, but definitely worthy or a raise if I'm coming in with it. Just my 2 cents. Thanks for the Great Post. Keep em coming -shark


                      • #12
                        Very good info her Panicky but those that are not reading this thread properly do not fall in love with this hand! Panicky has clearly made some good points here and the best I feel is having a strong post flop game!
                        I have played 290,000 hands and of those KQs has been played only 820 times for a 36% win %. This is not a hand to fall in love with! KQ off has been played 2500 times and it has a win % of about 26% and both are for positive BB / 100 btw.
                        Like with many other hands you have to understand the players you are against and the chip stacks. Most of your plays in any tourney should be read dependant anyway!

                        Good post Panicky


                        • #13
                          Here are some KQ hands I played recently

                          PokerStars Game #58789959245: Tournament #372187342, $0.25+$0.00 USD Hold'em No Limit - Level XI (600/1200) - 2011/03/06 22:36:04 ET
                          Table '372187342 2' 9-max Seat #8 is the button
                          Seat 2: lostnthestix (5069 in chips)
                          Seat 4: Albertociv (18311 in chips)
                          Seat 5: LA_RATA_DE (8983 in chips)
                          Seat 6: 19honu62 (7516 in chips)
                          Seat 8: chelonob (27621 in chips)
                          lostnthestix: posts the ante 75
                          Albertociv: posts the ante 75
                          LA_RATA_DE: posts the ante 75
                          19honu62: posts the ante 75
                          chelonob: posts the ante 75
                          lostnthestix: posts small blind 600
                          Albertociv: posts big blind 1200
                          *** HOLE CARDS ***
                          Dealt to 19honu62 [Qc Kc]
                          LA_RATA_DE: folds
                          19honu62: raises 3600 to 4800
                          chelonob: folds
                          lostnthestix: folds
                          Albertociv: calls 3600
                          *** FLOP *** [7s Ac Jc]
                          Albertociv: checks
                          19honu62: bets 2641 and is all-in

                          PokerStars Game #58690895925: Tournament #371551134, $0.25+$0.00 USD Hold'em No Limit - Level XIII (1000/2000) - 2011/03/05 8:54:14 ET
                          Table '371551134 4' 9-max Seat #9 is the button
                          Seat 6: 19honu62 (11318 in chips)
                          Seat 8: intersector (36784 in chips)
                          Seat 9: paco900 (19398 in chips)
                          19honu62: posts the ante 100
                          intersector: posts the ante 100
                          paco900: posts the ante 100
                          19honu62: posts small blind 1000
                          intersector: posts big blind 2000
                          *** HOLE CARDS ***
                          Dealt to 19honu62 [Ks Qs]
                          paco900: folds
                          19honu62: raises 6000 to 8000
                          intersector: raises 6000 to 14000

                          PokerStars Game #57810804059: Tournament #365675739, $0.25+$0.00 USD Hold'em No Limit - Level VI (100/200) - 2011/02/17 8:36:35 ET
                          Table '365675739 4' 9-max Seat #8 is the button
                          Seat 1: XboyMarq (4514 in chips)
                          Seat 2: nu-Neko (1195 in chips)
                          Seat 4: FateCZ222 (6348 in chips)
                          Seat 5: bagerista836 (1552 in chips)
                          Seat 6: anuskiita20 (8558 in chips)
                          Seat 8: dmg4022 (1985 in chips)
                          Seat 9: 19honu62 (3550 in chips)
                          19honu62: posts small blind 100
                          XboyMarq: posts big blind 200
                          *** HOLE CARDS ***
                          Dealt to 19honu62 [Ks Qs]
                          nu-Neko: folds
                          FateCZ222: folds
                          bagerista836: calls 200
                          anuskiita20: folds
                          dmg4022: folds
                          19honu62: raises 600 to 800
                          XboyMarq: folds
                          bagerista836: raises 752 to 1552 and is all-in

                          How should I play these?


                          • #14
                            In all three cases, I'd say you were pot-committed after your initial open, so you had to continue for your stack. In the first case, that's not a good flop for you, but bad flops happen. The second case is an example of a spot where I think you might have had your opponent dominated, as I really don't see KJs folding there. In the third example, the limp/jam probably means you're behind, but I think you had better than 3.5-to-1 on a call there, so unless the guy had pocket aces or kings specifically, I believe you had to call. Given the awkwardness of possibly getting limp/jammed in that spot, I think I would have just completed my small blind and only continued on a favourable flop. I'm no expert, but raising there might not have been necessary. I think all three of these were good examples of cases where KQ can be played preflop. I like the example idea. Thanks, Cowboy! I might dig up some examples of my own. umbup:
                            Last edited by PanickyPoker; Mon Mar 07, 2011, 07:47 PM.


                            • #15
                              Here are three recent hand histories of mine where I play KQ. I don't promise that I play KQ well, but just in case anyone's interested...

                              Two heads-up examples:

                              Hold'em No Limit ($0.01/$0.02 USD) - 2011/03/06 22:35:23 PT [2011/03/07 1:35:23 ET]
                              Table 'Vogtia II' 9-max Seat #8 is the button
                              Seat 5: PanickyPoker ($4.55 in chips)
                              Seat 8: BttredMdgt ($1.17 in chips)
                              BttredMdgt: posts small blind $0.01
                              PanickyPoker: posts big blind $0.02
                              *** HOLE CARDS ***
                              Dealt to PanickyPoker [Kh Qd]
                              BttredMdgt: raises $0.02 to $0.04
                              PanickyPoker: raises $0.04 to $0.08
                              BttredMdgt: calls $0.04
                              *** FLOP *** [4c As 3h]
                              PanickyPoker: bets $0.08
                              BttredMdgt: folds

                              Hold'em No Limit ($0.01/$0.02 USD) - 2011/03/06 22:22:59 PT [2011/03/07 1:22:59 ET]
                              Table 'Vogtia II' 9-max Seat #8 is the button
                              Seat 5: PanickyPoker ($4.84 in chips)
                              Seat 8: BttredMdgt ($1.15 in chips)
                              BttredMdgt: posts small blind $0.01
                              PanickyPoker: posts big blind $0.02
                              *** HOLE CARDS ***
                              Dealt to PanickyPoker [Qc Kd]
                              BttredMdgt: raises $0.02 to $0.04
                              PanickyPoker: raises $0.04 to $0.08
                              BttredMdgt: calls $0.04
                              *** FLOP *** [3h As Ac]
                              PanickyPoker: checks
                              BttredMdgt: checks
                              *** TURN *** [3h As Ac] [5d]
                              PanickyPoker: bets $0.08
                              BttredMdgt: calls $0.08
                              *** RIVER *** [3h As Ac 5d] [8h]
                              PanickyPoker: checks
                              BttredMdgt: bets $0.15
                              PanickyPoker: calls $0.15

                              A post-flop game:

                              Hold'em No Limit - Level III (25/50) - 2011/03/06 14:36:49 PT [2011/03/06 17:36:49 ET]
                              Table '372124173 1' 9-max Seat #8 is the button
                              Seat 1: BobbyW58 (2275 in chips)
                              Seat 2: Haydamak (630 in chips)
                              Seat 3: gottagoallin (495 in chips)
                              Seat 4: Bexius (2655 in chips)
                              Seat 6: PokeHerGrizz (850 in chips) is sitting out
                              Seat 7: Nikolaich800 (820 in chips)
                              Seat 8: PanickyPoker (4030 in chips)
                              Seat 9: pepekint (1745 in chips)
                              pepekint: posts small blind 25
                              BobbyW58: posts big blind 50
                              *** HOLE CARDS ***
                              Dealt to PanickyPoker [Kc Qh]
                              Haydamak: folds
                              gottagoallin: folds
                              Bexius: calls 50
                              PokeHerGrizz: folds
                              Nikolaich800: folds
                              PanickyPoker: calls 50
                              pepekint: calls 25
                              BobbyW58: checks
                              *** FLOP *** [2h 3h Js]
                              pepekint: checks
                              BobbyW58: checks
                              Bexius: checks
                              PanickyPoker: checks
                              *** TURN *** [2h 3h Js] [Ah]
                              pepekint: checks
                              BobbyW58: checks
                              Bexius: checks
                              PanickyPoker: bets 115
                              pepekint: folds
                              BobbyW58: folds
                              Bexius: calls 115
                              *** RIVER *** [2h 3h Js Ah] [6c]
                              Bexius: checks
                              PanickyPoker: checks

                              I tried to look for good examples of cases where I fold KQ. I couldn't find a single example in any of my most recent hand histories. Maybe I overplay the hand.



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