Tadas “My Poker Coaching” Peckaitis
Poker is becoming highly competitive, and to stay ahead of your competition, you need to keep improving all the time. Just ask all-time great, Daniel Negreanu, who says he continues to work hard to keep up with the young poker studs. Obviously, you can find a lot of information on how to balance your ranges and you can learn game theory optimal (GTO) strategies to compete with tough players. However, there’s very little talk about how you can exploit your opponents to maximize results.
Do not get me wrong, understanding and learning GTO strategy is essential if you want to play in higher-stake games and grow as a player. But if your end goal is to make more money, you can surely find some spots for that.
Betting versus missed c-bet
Today, I want to talk about one of the most powerful moves you can add to your arsenal – betting versus missed continuation bet. It is probably the most underused play that can change your results dramatically. When your opponent decides not to c-bet after raising pre-flop, you have a great opportunity to steal the pot and, with very few exceptions, should do that almost all the time.
It does not matter if you are in or out of position, playing 3bet or single raised pot. In all of these cases, you can put a lot of pressure on your opponents if your first instinct is to bluff, unless you get a very unfavorable run out.
Most of the time this happens when you defend from the BB versus late position open and then you both check on the flop.? If your opponent decided to check, he either has a weak hand, total air or he’s trapping, which is going to happen very rarely. Therefore, on most run outs you should fire a bet on the turn and continue barreling on the river as well. The only dangerous scenarios are when the board pairs or an Ace hits on the turn, because many players tend to check back A-high hands. Moreover, when the board pairs, you will get fewer folds because players are more likely to bluff catch with low pairs or even A-high hands so you can let it go.
Apart from that, you should feel free to fire a bet. If you choose to bet 2/3 of the pot, you only need to make him fold 40% of his range to make an instant profit, and that is usually the case. People just don’t have that many strong holdings in their checking range, so you can and should take advantage of that. Even if your opponent decides to call on the turn, he will end up folding most of his hands on the river. Thus, this is one of the spots where applying aggression is going to pay you huge dividends in the future.
Summing it up
As you see, it is not enough to learn Texas Holdem poker rules to make the most profitable decisions and sometimes you just have to think outside the box. Do not try to balance your ranges blindly and if you recognize mistakes in your opponent’s play – take advantage of that.
In the next few upcoming articles, I will show you other profitable spots to exploit your competition at the poker tables, so stay tuned for more!