The Ladies, QQ, is often one of the hardest poker hands to play in tournaments. Most players, either consciously or subconsciously, rank it with AA and KK. While it is a very strong hand, it can be misleading to rank it so highly.
The beauty of AA and KK is that you are miles ahead of everything apart from AA preflop. QQ on the other hand is obviously behind to AA and KK, but is also just a coin-flip against AK. Non-pair hands are more common than pairs in hold’em, and AK is one of the most common all in hands when med/low stacked.
For this reason QQ is not always an automatic call in an all in situation for all your chips, and as hard as it may be, it sometimes needs folding preflop in the face of strong action from other players or an all in. QQ takes much more skill to play well, especially preflop than either KK or AA for this reason. You aren’t entirely happy getting all your chips in every situation as you are with AA or KK, and this makes things a lot more tricky.
Many players try and slow it down a bit preflop, hoping to see no aces or kings on the flop, but surprisingly, holding QQ, an A or K will flop over 41% of the time!
Slow-playing QQ can be profitable, but when deepstacked it often makes more sense to reraise preflop to find out where you are. Most AA or KK raisers will go over the top of a reraise, and if you’re deep enough you can let it go. You don’t want to find out on the J high flop that they have AA or KK, let’s try and get that information earlier. Define your hand a bit, with a large raise or reraise. But remember if you get lots of action, it might be worth letting go, especially early in a tournament.
One time when slow playing can be profitable though, is on a very aggressive table late in a tournament – although it isn’t a great hand to call all ins with early, it’s a perfect hand for limp/shoving towards the end of tournaments, especially when you have too many chips to just open shove.
Overall just recognise QQ for what it is: A very strong hand but one that is very vulnerable. Don’t get too attached to them unless you are low on chips, and play with caution when facing action early.