Tadas “My Poker Coaching” Peckaitis
Building on top of the last article, I want to mention another extremely profitable way to increase your win rate that many players miss – delayed c-betting. It’s a strategy that although it’s not covered as well as Texas Holdem hand rankings, bankroll management or math concepts, but it can give you a significant edge over your opponents because most poker players are not using it as they should.
Getting the most out of a delayed c-bet
First, let’s say you are in position and after checking back on the flop, you see another check from your opponent. You can safely say that when your opponent checks twice, he is not looking to play a big pot or risk a significant part of his stack calling you down. Most of the time their range is full of weak bluff catchers or show down value hands; they just want to see a free showdown and are ready to give up when facing any significant betting.
Therefore, this is a perfect spot to bet or even turn your weak hand into a bluff and put the pressure back on your opponent. It looks obvious, but many players go into check back mode without even thinking. Moreover, you will lose more often than you think with weak show-down value hands because a lot of the time your opponent will be bluffing air hands himself, but may still have a better hand than yours. Thus, when he checks a few times in a row, he is extremely likely to have a weak hand himself and you can get him to muck his hand.
Let us take an example to illustrate this. You are playing 6 max cash game with 100 big blinds and get A3s in the CO, it is folded around to you, you raise, and big blind calls. Flop comes J76, you both check and see meaningless 2x. Your opponent decides to check again, and you consider your options.
Many players just automatically check back thinking they could win a showdown, but that’s a mistake. First, you are losing to every single hand that has showdown value, such as better Ax, 7x, 6x and few low pocket pairs. However, if you decide to bet the turn and river, you will almost surely make him fold the vast majority of those holdings and you’ll take down the pot. You need to take into consideration that your opponent is not likely to have many strong hands because Jx or better would likely get him some value and he’d be betting on the turn. Therefore, you can easily manipulate your opponent’s play by putting on the pressure at the right time.
Same could be said when you are out of position as well. Obviously, you will get fewer folds on the turn because players tend to float a lot while being in position, but if you continue your aggression on the river, you will make him fold most of his holdings.
Summing it up
When you find yourself in a similar spot at the poker tables, don’t be afraid to pull the trigger and you will surely get more folds than you can imagine. Most players are just not capable of defending as much as they should in this area, so take advantage of that!