Jack and Jill is a phrase used for a co-ed poker tournament where men and women are paired together. These tournaments usually run essentially the same as a standard poker tournament, but the players have to switch-out every half-hour. Therefore half of the time the male partner is on the table handling the action and the other half of the time the female partner is playing. Obviously your experience will be best if both partners know how to play poker!
This type of tournament is also called mixed doubles. Doyle Brunson and Starla Brodie teamed-up to win the 1979 World Series of Poker mixed doubles tournament. That was a pretty tough team to beat. Brunson has 10 WSOP bracelets, Brodie won her second in 1995. The mixed-doubles tournament is no longer part of the WSOP.Jack and Jill Poker Format
Poker tournaments have a cash buy-in that each player pays for a set number of chips. The chips are non-negotiable and used only for the current tournament. In a Jack a Jill tournament, the mixed couple plays as a team, but do not interact on individual hands. Only one player is allowed to be at the table at any time, usually designated by half-hour increments. Usually it's ladies first, and all women players take their seats for the first round.
However, in some tournaments, the players are allowed to choose who starts, and therefore there is a mix of men and women at each table. These tournaments demand that both partners can play effectively against both men and women.Tournament Strategy
Poker tournaments pay a prize structure that is announced prior to any action, although the total number of players cashing is dependent on the number of entries. Most poker tournaments pay a prize to the top 10 percent of the finishers. A tournament with 100 entries will therefore pay only the players who make the final ten spots. Tournaments start with a small blind amount and those amounts are raised each round.
Tournament players usually fall into two groups: those that want to finish as high as possible, knowing that the prize money is heavily laden to first place, and those who just want to cash. First place typically pays about 30 percent of the buy-ins, while 10th place pays only about 2 percent. Discussing the overall goals with your partner is very important.
Partners may decide to choose one of three directions for their play: each plays their best game and they see where it gets them; play aggressively trying to win first place; play more conservatively trying simply to make the final table and win some prize money.
The other consideration is how to play near the end of the tournament. One partner may be much better at end-play, and in these cases the partners may agree that the weaker partner will likely fold most hands on the final table and wait for the better player to get back into action. This strategy is likely to be noticed quickly, and while it is legal, the other players will take advantage of what they see.Choosing a Partner
Choosing a partner is an important part of being successful in a Jack and Jill poker tournament. All poker tournaments take time, so successful players need to be able to withstand hours of play at high concentration levels. In a mixed doubles tournament there is another factor to consider - the time away from the table. Because each player is only on the game half of the time, the ability to stay focused and enthusiastic while away from the game is very important. Partners may want to discuss which starting hands they will be playing prior to the tournament.
It is also important for each partner to able to accept defeat, since 90 percent of the players go home without winning anything. Placing blame on your doubles partner won't make the relationship any easier. Obviously two weak partners are unlikely to be as successful as two strong poker players.
Non-aggressive, methodical players can have some success in tournaments, but pairing two similar players in a Jack and Jill tournament is not likely to bring success. A conservative player and an aggressive player are more likely to do well, and to last longer in any tournament.
Pairing two aggressive players is likely to bring the most success in a mixed-doubles tournament. It is also likely to result in a quick exit from play when compared to other partnerships. Consider whether you are most interested in just lasting through several rounds and playing a long time, or playing with the ultimate goal of winning the tournament. Rarely are poker players able to choose and accomplish both.Deal Making
In most poker tournaments players are allowed to make a deal to chop the money remaining to be paid. For instance, suppose five players remain and the prize money for those spots is $1,000. The players may agree to split the money evenly ($200 each) or any particular fashion they want. Chopping the prize money is an all-or-nothing proposition, all players must agree.
Mixed-doubles partners should agree prior to playing how they will approach a chop on the final table. Knowing in advance whether they want to try and move up one more spot before chopping or continue going all-out for first place is an important consideration. Make your decisions early and concentrate on the poker at the end!