Poker Strategy – Playing Trap Hands Like King-Queen, King-Jack, Queen-Jack, Ace-Ten & More

One of the most frustrating and subtle strategies of playing poker is through the handling and play of these range of hands that actually are badly overrated by amateurs and beginning players. They are referred to as trap hands because they appear as a premium hand but they are actually really just high suited or unsuited connectors that most players aren’t aware of.

The beginning player will be dealt King-Queen and will likely think, “Oh, sweet this is just like Big-Slick.”

They could not be more wrong. Great players that want to play tight, smart poker probably do not even have king-queen on their list of starting hand requirements and if they do it’s in very late table position. These hands need to be treated similarly to 9-8s, 10-9s and other suited connectors, the only difference is that they are high in card rank but do not make the mistake of playing them like a premium hand because they are not.

Let us look at a quick example. You are dealt K-Q suited, which by most is the highest rated “trap” hand, and call another player’s raise (this player was located under the gun, directly left of the big blind and the raise was 3x the big blind). This raise was called by you who sat in 2nd position directly left of the raiser. The first mistake was calling a raise with this hand in early position, when a player raises in early position they are indicating a tremendous amount of strength and poker theory states that to call their raise you need a hand of equal or better strength.

The rest of the players fold and the flop reveals: K-J-5. You flopped top pair with second kicker and you are most certainly ahead! You can’t be so sure just yet. So you call the original bettor down to showdown and he reveals A-K and you lose the pot.

That is the problem with entering pots with trap hands, because most beginners play them like premium hands so they enter pots against premium hands that have them hopelessly crushed.