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Bobbos Bible of No Limit Holdem.

By Robert Bobbofitos Eckstut


This book is not for the beginner poker player. If you dont know how to play poker, (beyond even the simple rules) this book is not for you. This is for a player who understands the game at a basic or intermediate level, and is seeking any way to advance their play to that of an advanced or expert level.

Some of this book involves complex strategies; however the core is fundamental play. After the fundamental principles have been mastered, then complex counter strategies can be implemented correctly. That said, this book uses some math; it would help to be fairly knowledgeable of odds, percentages, random winning percentages, the vernacular of outs, as well as pot sizing. Poker does not require you to be a math genius, though, so for the mathematically challenged, its ok.

A lot of the chapters incorporate quizzes with hands; all hands are those that were played by me directly or by clients of mine. Most hands take place online, and the rest are in live B&M casinos.

-Rob Eckstut

I also would like to dedicate this book to my coaches, each of whom in their own right contributed to making me a better player. In no particular order, they are Brian Kennedy, Cero Z, and Mike.

Chapter 1 - Equity.

Equity! -What does that term mean to you? As relating to poker

Your "equity" in the hand is how much perceived final value you have. If you have TPTK and are up against some hand, but you assume it's a flush draw, they are 35% to make their hand So, for every X amount of money you put in, you get .65X (and they, the rest!) and same works for them. (As relating to above example) But in poker it's not so simplistic to just say "ok, my hand is worth this much, now lets go to showdown and I win my amount and you win yours, despite the cards that fall." There are various terms that we couple with pot equity (equity = pot equity).


In terms of the play of the hand, Folding Equity is when if the cards are flipped face up, they should call; (Or fold) so if you were to have a draw, for simple reasons a bare flush draw (without any over cards) vs. top pair... not only do they have the best hand, but they are the favorite to win! But if you move in, for example, they are making a pretty big mistake (equity wise) by folding in this situation Flipside, It ALSO works when you are the favorite, but still are banking on folding equity... Such as you now have an open ended straight flush draw, (also a "mega" draw) and are up vs top pair. You are roughly a 60% favorite (these numbers change conditionally on exact board, but this is just sake of argument) if you push for example and they are getting better then

3:2... You want a fold!! (Because you stand to make more equity wise by them folding then calling) Whenever you think of folding equity, think of "do I gain more by having him call or fold?"

NOTE: Evaluating folding equity is very tough, and one skill that just "develops" over time (and the longer you play + get a read on opponent)

Basically, its the idea that the money you put into the pot (if called) over your equity vs. picking up the pot, which is better. Ala pot size + bet size + call / % their equity their investment. How does this differ from Fold %? Well, raw folds will mean we pick up the pot X number of times, but that wont be so beneficial if were folding out a hand that is incorrect in calling, anyway. Its a mistake a lot of players make, forcing a draw when there is no true folding equity. A quick example would be A4s on a board of Ks 7s 2c. Here we have ~30% equity vs. a hand range that is likely to never fold (AK, AA, 77, 22) and then ~45% equity vs. a hand range that may. (A pair, as good as KQo and as bad as 66) However, vs. complete fluff, ala QJo, we have 85% equity. So its a balancing act, and any folding equity will be squarely aimed at getting a fold (and therefore value from their mistake) of them folding a pair. Or, in a pot of 10$, if we bet 10$, opponents are getting immediate odds of 2:1. With a pair theyre correct in calling, with air they are not. If we can get a fold from a pair, were technically winning 10+10+10 (pot size + our bet + their call) x 55% (their equity) = 16.5bb 10bb (the money theyre investing) = 6.5bb. Thus, theyre losing out on that 6.5bb by folding. If we had a strong draw, the fold equity we gain is actually a bit lower, or if we had a 55% draw, 10+10+10 x 45% = 13.5 10, = 3.5 bb gained. Clearly then we no longer gain any value when they have only ~33% equity, since

10+10+10 x 33% = 10 10 = 0 bb gained. If we run a pure bluff, then 10+10+10 x 100% = 30 bb 10 bb = 20 bb picked up.

So, now we move onto next term: WHAT IS REVERSE EQUITY? Reverse equity is when you have a hand such as top pair that wont improve vs. a suspected draw. You "could" (on a hypothetical board) have 65% equity... 50%... or even 0% (vs. an overset with no runner-runner outs) -if you call a bet, you must call a future bet as well... This is most common when an opponent bets a blank after calling you on the flop or raising you / what not on a draw heavy board; if you decide to call the first bet, you must call the next bet (reverse equity)

Back to our A4s example, if we now have 66, and are faced with a bet from our opponent. The pot has 10$ in it, and villain bet 10, giving us effective odds of 10:30, or needing ~33% equity to continue. If villain has any two cards, and bets them all, vs. a random hand we have a nice edge, roughly 60% equity. However, if we narrow villains range at all, to say a flush draw, a big hand like AK+, and a bluff We have ~55% vs. the flush draw, ~8% vs. the big hand, and ~70% vs. the bluff. Once again weighing these hand values, (even distribution) we figure to have 44% equity, which requires us to play on. (Since we satiate the immediate equity) Or, if the hand ended there, its a simple call of an all in. But if we have another, oh, 190$ in our stack, so there will be a 30$ pot and villain bets a blank turn, its hard calling down, even with such a frequency as prescribed above. (In reality, sometimes opponent will slowplay a big hand, and other times they will not 2nd or 3rd barrel a bluff) Thus, even though it seems we should take a

card off, we suffer from a reverse equity position and the right play will be for us to fold. (or turn our hand into a bluff and raise, but thats another matter altogether!)

Key point, Reverse equity is what allows folding equity, and vica versa; so... vigilantly thinking about the two concepts are important. These will be our ying and yang at the poker table.

Corollary This is why if someone is a calling station you value bet them mercilessly, because your folding equity is low, so whatever money you put in with a draw just banks on your pot equity, which may be EV neutral... If someone is very weak tight, you push draws more vs. them because your folding equity is high; the job of the poker player is to determine what types of players everyone is, and then cater the particular move around your read.

A typical mantra at is to "only push strong draws" (When you're actually the favorite to win!) is because they feel everyone is a calling station... (Which the smaller the stakes, tends to be truer) This is NOT how I feel lets define a "strong draw? -A strong draw is something such as an open ended straight flush draw (OESFD) which is a favorite on the flop over anything but a set (or flopped straight, etc) or 2 overs + nut flush is occasionally a strong draw, (except when you're sharing kickers) etc. Lets now expand on this. Why are those strong? -The reasoning behind this all relates to equity. Any draw which is ~45%+ to win the pot vs. a competent range (and those draws above all have that equity satiated) is almost always correct in getting all in on the flop (or turn) due to the price the pot lays them. For example, if 100bb deep, and the pot has 8 bb in there, committing 96 to win ~202 means we require ~47% equity,

so any draw which is strong doesnt bank on folding equity to show profit. Interestingly, as the stack size:pot ratio increase, its possible that a marginal draw (such as a flush draw, with ~36% equity) becomes strong. (When the pot = stacks)

In small pots it's not as important to worry about various equities, because: A. for the most part it wont be worth chopping up every small pot B. if no one has much the equities are roughly similar, and therefore folding or calling or raising etc. are all relatively similar

Example: If I have QJd, and the flop is 9d 4d 3x, with 10 BBs, and you have 88... if I bet lets say 10 big blinds I really want a fold. I am counting on folding equity from a 9, for example. A smaller pair (like yours) and ace high etc (which is currently the best hand, and interestingly, should call me) -if they DO call, Im not making TOO much of a mistake EV wise, because my hand is actually a little bit better pot equity wise then theirs (even if we change my hand to like 87d)

Quick note. This is why most draws should be bet, rather than check/called, because whenever you can pick up the pot w/o completing the hand guarantees you a nice EV "victory".

Obviously, if you get raised, there is a completely new situation with new information and new odds to consider, so a call, raise, or fold may now be correct (once raised) but the initial bet could (and very well may be) correct.

In no limit and pot limit, every hand (mostly) involves this concept of folding equity, just because... although (in the 88 hand for example) you could be 50/50 to win pot equity wise IF they have 99, for example, you have ZERO pot equity... so whatever money you put in, you're not getting back (of course, runner-runner perfect 8 is possible!).

Thats why it's much more important to let a lot of smaller pots go (facing aggression) with marginal made hands. Even though you could be making a small mistake to fold (for example, w/ the 88, losing the potential of winning 5 BBs) you STAND to lose much more (the pot bet, plus future streets of betting) possibly drawing dead. This goes against my general strategy of attacking pots whenever possible, so well constantly be waging an internal battle about whether we should stick our head out for a pot, or shell up to avoid needless reverse equity predicaments.

-That is also why so many people love calling preflop raises then small pairs but then make the mistake of calling down to the river "putting villain on AK" (if no broadway show). If they have an overpair, calling down (especially with increasing bets) you have 2 outs, or on the flop ~9% equity and the turn 5% (obviously, sometimes runner outs etc. increase or decrease these numbers) If you're putting in a pot bet and only getting 10% back its a good way to go broke.

Short games and heads up pots (or 3 way etc) I like betting a lot of things on the flop in order to take down these small pots... Its a steady stream of income (plus shorter handed they rate to have less, so implied odds of drawing go down but folding equity goes up) Well touch on limped pot play, and the art of picking up these pots in a later chapter.

The profit in betting a draw is your folding equity With more players in the pot, folding equity goes down (this speaks more about the concept of semibluffing multiway pots)

A bet is generally used to protect your equity.

Chapter 2 Aggression. The power of aggression - my general philosophy in both full and short (even heads up!) games is one of constantly being on the attack. Passive play (generally) doesn't win in poker; it is the pots no one wants, the pots no one has much, and the pots where the first to bet wins are the pots that tally the winner at the end.

With that said, why bother playing? In general, the answer is to win money. The pursuit, of this goal, takes many forms: We play holdem (mainly, several versions incorporate antes rather then blinds) for the dead forced bets in the middle. These bets, referred to as "small" and "big" blind, force the action. IT IS ALWAYS IMPORTANT TO REMEMBER THE BLINDS. THIS is why you're playing. If you're playing 5-10 no limit, there is 15 dollars in the pot, and from the initial get go, the object is to win that money. (Or not lose more money) After competing for the initial sum of the blinds, the pot obviously escalates, and in turn everything is relative.

My strategy has always been to win the blinds, the small pots, and worry about stacks later. Many times players, both experienced and novice, aim to stack people again and again (we'll go into terms later, but the basic premise is "implied odds") and ignore the cost of action. It's always been my opinion, especially online while dealing with ~100x the big blind stacks, people do not play "implied odds hands" for correct value.

If you ever lose focus of the blinds, leave the game. I am not a psychologist, nor one who knows much about tilt, but from a mathematical standpoint, if you can't think rationally.... You

no longer have an edge! That's very important to understand. This is just about the only bit of psychology involved in the book, so take it for what it is.

An introduction to implied odds: I say to ignore implied odds, and I am half serious. Rather, it's important to understand the pivotal mistake many players make: 1. Villain (person who "has a big hand") must have that big hand. If you're playing against a loose aggressor raiser, where their hand range is wide, (think beyond just aces/kings/queens and AK; picture someone who raises many hands) then a lot of preflop calls for the purpose of breaking them is not worth it. 2. Villain must not fold that big hand! Many newer players immediately recognize VERY tight players where a raise means aces. Perfect, they've leaked information, time to act on it. However, some of those players (and some to the extreme, which is known as "weak tight," or when players fear running into big hands constantly) are able to fold overpairs or so. If you can only win the flop continuation bet, you will lose far too much money on the preflop call. 3. Your hand must hold up! Every hand has "equity." Its very rare, especially on the flop, for any hand to be dead in the water. So, if I call a raise with 87o, knowing villain has AA, and the flop comes K 8 7, perfect, I have two pair, I'm ahead. I out flopped him, (~3% of the time this will happen) but this does not mean I automatically win. First, I need to be right he has aces. Check. He needs to get all in. Fine, check. Then, I need my two pair to hold up! I'm about a 7:3 favorite here, so that's not a shoo in!

Given all these conditions must be met... Its easy to see how people misunderstand calling preflop. This leads to my next main point: I HATE TO BE THE CALLER. I'll get onto

some advantages of being the aggressor, but the main point is when looking to break people, many conditions must be met, which often are not. So try not putting yourself in unprofitable guessing situations.

As the aggressor, you're given what is known as right of first initiative. What this means is at this point you've built the pot; you were the first one in, and showed preflop strength. The pot has your name all over it. You are allowed to take the first stab; as the preflop raiser you're given a certain amount of respect. (Unless you have absolutely no image) This is why I open a wide range of hands, as well; I like taking these pots. Keep in mind by no means is a bet required or mandatory, but it's a very standard and highly +EV play.

There are many times to check the flop, as well, which we'll get into later, sometimes when strong and sometimes when weak, but for now "auto betting" the flop, especially vs. worse players who can't adjust, raising any two cards and merely following up will show profit.

Poker is a game of math. It's an incomplete information game where information is exchanged through a process of betting and laying odds. This is what makes it so entertaining; many "metagame" factors can rise out of a situation, making one move a "better" (higher EV, or expected value) then another. The next concept is not my own, but rather my primary drive in poker. It's David Sklansky's fundamental theorem of poker. It reads... (This is paraphrased, I recommend anyone who wants to play poker seriously should read The Theory of Poker) Whenever your opponents could see your cards and make the same move... You lose. Whenever your opponents could see your cards and make a different move... You profit.

The transition of this is that some people think the key of no limit is allowing your opponents to make mistakes. This is half true. The other half is limiting your own mistakes. So, from this point onward, the main focus should be 1: Playing mistake free poker. 2: Forcing your opponents to make mistakes. #1 is more important than #2. Why is #1 more important than #2?

Quite frankly, its easier to analyze ones own play and find the ABC correct way to play a hand. One can consider opponents potential hands, what their hand looks like, and as a result, figure out the basic way to play a hand. Since this is much easier then flat out manipulating an opponent into doing what we want, (which is more complex, and well build to that) we should focus on that since that is half the battle.

Defining terms: Attacking the stack Term used when making speculative calls either preflop or beyond in an effort to stack a player who cannot fold a 2nd best hand. Attacking the blinds Term used when making looser-then normal raises in an effort to steal the blinds, and if that does not result, pick up the small pot you have built.

Full ring or shorthanded games (Chapter 3). (Heads up note)

Keynote: Creating a plan from the flop. Often, people just take each street at a time. This isn't bad; they worry about playing good hands, then hitting the flop or at least having a draw allowing them to play on, then analyze the turn and decide then if they want to play a big or small pot, (and bet accordingly) then if they get to the river decide if the hand is worth showing down or not. We'll deal with this later.

Key concept: No limit and Pot limit poker (not just holdem, but this applies to Omaha, Lowball, etc.) is one person is better than another in their ability to observe and adjust. Outguessing people is the name of the game, being that there is more of a bluff element in no limit vs. limit. Being 1 step ahead of your opponents is key. When I'm able to exploit my image and people are not adjusting correctly, I'm one step ahead.

I often say my style in a short ring game is basically attack, attack, attack; I like forcing the action, so that when no one has anything, I win, and when someone does, I lose small, Finally, when I have a big hand, I get action, thus completing the cycle. The optimal cycle is therefore: Winning small pots, losing medium sized pots, and finally winning big.

In a full handed game, (8 to 11) things change dramatically. For one, it's much harder to run through a table; in a heads up to 6 person game (or thereabout) running over a few opponents is doable. Even if some people want to fight back, often they just do not have the cards. (Even if they have the willpower!) In a full handed game, unfortunately, too often you will run into a real

hand. These real hands will slow you down, thereby forcing you to cede far too many medium sized pots, and not win enough small pots to compensate for the times you finally get to play a big pot. (With or without the best of it).

Therefore my strategy is to basically attack the weak players. Sounds simple? Well, what I mean by this, is full ring many times rather than raise to attack the blinds and give myself the power of the aggressor, I'll raise to isolate a loose passive fish, or reraise to isolate a loose aggressive maniac, etc. Sure, occasionally I'll raise first in to steal or for the value of my hand, but often the reason for a raise changes.

So, rather than attack the blind, we're attacking the player; which is still different then attacking the stack. Most of the profit from a full handed game, therefore, will come when I lose less from 2nd best hands, and also when I am able to put myself in the position of having the best hand getting paid off by a 2nd best hand.

So, to reiterate, my general strategy, and idea of "how to attack a full handed game," is: -Quickly size up who the fish, maniacs, and calling stations are (my "prey") -Isolate these groups (Generally with position) hands that have big hand potential -Pound away -Be selective when opening a pot from earlier, but as the table drops, and the dynamic is more closely related to a shorthanded game, shift to a more offensive strategy.

What is a fish? Anyone who does anything that is easy to exploit. The two most common

type of fish: Maniac One who bluffs in very inappropriate times, and typically will go too far when clear theyre beaten. (Although tend to be hyper aggressive) Calling station One who is generally fairly passive, but calls in spots when they neither have odds nor implied odds. Tend to not be aggressive.

Defining terms: Attacking the player Term used when an inferior player enters a pot willingly, and then hero raises or over limps with a speculative hand in an effort to play as many pots with said villain as possible.

Question for the chapter Why is it important for a shorthanded player to understand how a full ring game works? The answer, really, is twofold. On one hand, the fast pace of a shorthanded game sometimes devolves into a full ring atmosphere. Meaning, it becomes a nit fest with numerous small pots and few if any large pots. It then becomes essential capitalizing on weaker players rather than just raw blinds. Secondly, knowing how to beat any type of game (heads up, shorthanded, full ring) allows one to develop as a player more than just focusing on one type.

Preflop, part 1 (Chapter 4).

What is the major difference between a full handed game (9 or10 handed) and shorthanded? (6 or fewer) The simple answer yet most correct is that the blinds come around faster. Does this mean you automatically need to play more hands? Yes and no.

The blinds come around faster but the most obvious difference is there are fewer hands dealt at a table. A little more in depth - What this means is on one hand, hand values go up but also unfortunately a lot of implied odds hands go down. When there are fewer big hands to crack, the value of a small pocket pair for example is substantially lowered However, what needs to be addressed is you're able to play a lot more hands in position, esp. as the aggressor.

*So the #1 difference between full and shorthanded to constantly be thinking about is the ability to play more raised pots in position.

Vague mathematical example: (I'm stating this factually, but think about and defend this) You and your opponents all have 100 dollars. 3 handed. You're able to play 50$-100$ blinds, 1$-2$, or 1c-2c blinds when you have the button. What is the best structure for you? (When you are in the blinds, the blinds are 1$-2$)

Answer: When you have the button which blinds are most profitable are 50$-100$. Why? You get to make the most profitable decision, as in probability of it being better that the blind is You can chose to get all in with a lot more equity then a random hand / etc. Related topic, the

raw money won here is quite different then actual win rate in terms of blinds. In fact, this game will have the highest variance, given every pot is an all in pot (and thus lots of gambling) yet it also has the highest EV. Now... Better question How does this relate to playing in a normal stacked game?

What you want is - to raise with all hands you want to play, and the reason is: It's most profitable to play bigger pots in position, and smaller pots out of position (in general) because w/ position you're able to make better (read: More profitable) decisions then your opponents. Therefore, the major preflop strategy you constantly should be thinking of is "I want to play as a big of a pot (therefore, a raised pot > limped pot) as possible".

In addition, the reason you're playing to begin with is to win the blinds. Anytime you think you have a playable hand, if it's good enough to play, it's good enough to raise with. What this should lead to then...

Do I mean it's better in absolute terms to play small pots out of position? I mean this in the broad sense; playing positional poker, ala more hands on button and cutoff, (late position) you should be playing raised pots; not that raising out of blinds/etc. is bad, just you'll make a lot more in position, so play for "as high stakes" as possible.

What this should do then is 6max your first two positions (The "hijack" and UTG) you should play tighter, CO and BTN looser, and blinds tightest. This shouldn't be counter intuitive though... The second "mode" of thinking is in a shorthanded game, where most people dont rate

to have much preflop or on the flop (this is where the main difference between full and 6max applies) constantly putting yourself into the position as the raiser allows you to pick up pots when no one has much. So, in general, it's GOOD to play more hands in the last two seats and BETTER to play fewer hand in the first two seats: most importantly though, if your hand is NOT good enough to raise with, it should be folded.

*We'll get into specific hand ranges very soon*

Keynote: 6handed there will not be big hands most of the time either preflop or post flop. Fewer hands dealt at a table means less of a chance for there being a big hand out (as in a big pocket pair, AK/etc.) how this works into actual play, then Is anytime no one has anything, you want to put yourself in the position to win the pot. The EASIEST way to do this is to be the preflop raiser, as you get the most respect (and the subsequent continuation bet -> this is by far where I make most of my money).

A lot of people forget that the onset of a game, the object is to win the blinds. If you're playing NL50, with blinds of .25 and .50, there's 75 cents to begin with. Although you're GUNNING for stacks, in the meantime, picking up each pot will be where your true win rate lies.

As sick as this sounds, forget all postflop play, and stupid preflop play, if I'm at a certain type of table, I could tape over my hands, and by just raising preflop and adjusting my continuation bet based on my image / the board / etc, I will win money.

What I'm trying to say though, unless you're at a nutty table, there wont be THAT many big pots played shorthanded therefore... all the small pots are what counts. It's only once a metagame has been established, (such as someone constantly playing back on you or playing sheriff) does postflop and making use of a loose image come into play

Regardless though... Obviously I have some preflop selection! What I mean by "forgetting preflop stupidity," I mean I play very tightly against raises. So: Rule #1 is position is boss, if you cant have it, most hands arent worth playing. Rule #2 is if you cant be the aggressor, give up the hand.

The two ideas (so far!) should be intuitive. #1 you want to play pots with position, and #2 you want to be able to pick up the pot when no one flops anything.

Rule #3 is hands that can make BIG hands are FAR more valuable then hands that can make subpar hands.

What does this mean? Rank these hands: KTo, 86s, A6o, QQ, and 34s. (It's folded to you on button, which hand would you most like to see -and all are definitely playable on the button!) My rankings QQ, 86s, 34s, KTo, A6o.

If you get lucky with 34s, you're going to only flop bottom pair or such A6o can make top pair however, you aren't playing 86s, 34s etc to make one pair hands, you're playing for straight/flush value.

The beauty of these hands... The first goal is to win the blinds. Pretty much, with all those hands except QQ you want to pick up the blinds. (Although an argument could be made with deep stacks or bad opponents that youd rather the opponent call since they will play so poorly after the flop).

The second goal is if neither of you two flop anything, you win the pot on the flop. This is known as "stealing equity, and your actual cards are irrelevant. (Up to this point to steal) Basically, the concept is that you represented a big hand, it's your pot to win on the flop, if villain doesnt have enough of a hand to c/r or lead out or c/c.

The third goal is that you can break them if you do both flop something!

With 34s and 86s, you can flop bigger then A6o - A6o at best can make 2 pair, (which any hand can make! :-)) but has no straight or flush potential. If you flop top pair, your hand may not even be good! So although this hand is playable, getting action is generally bad.

Thus, to repeat, rule #3 is hands that have "big hand potential" are more valuable *unless ridiculously short stacked* then big card potential.

In a sense this is saying the implied odds hands are better to be the raiser, such as the suited connectors, aces, 1gappers, then the reverse dominated hands, such as off suit aces, broadways, and KX type stuff. Here are 2 situations to quantify what I mean.

The game is NL600 with 3$-6$ blinds. You have 824$ and your opponent covers; in both hands, you raised to 21$ (your standard amount) on the button, and the BB defended. For the flop there is ~45$ in the pot minus rake. #1: A 8 2r, BB checks, you bet 25$, he check raises to 88$ total. Would we rather have A6o or 75s? Well, frankly, Id rather have AQ+ here, because the fact I have A6o vs. 75s is irrelevant. 75s is air and we can quickly ditch (even if villain is bluffing, little does he know hes bluffing with the best hand) but if we have A6o, our chances of showing down the best hand is irrelevant. Furthermore, this is a reverse equity situation; when we get checkraised there, occasionally you see complete air (44, 99, 76, etc.) as the only semibluffs are 45, 35, 35. With most opponents we can eliminate the later 2. The thinking is if villain is on air and DOES shutdown after the checkraise, we can call the checkraise with 75s and float (calling with the intention of bluffing) the turn, taking the pot away when theyre bluffing. Generally though its a very easy fold with both hands, and until a metagame has been established, dropping top pair is standard on the flop. Whats sad in this case is you hit your best card w/ the A6o, made top pair, but can very rarely play a big pot. #2: Ks 6d 4d, BB checks, you bet 30$, he check raises to 111$. Would we rather have A6o or 75s? (*We have 7s5s) Here, the decision is a lot easier. With A6o, we have mid pair, top kicker (MPTK) on a draw heavy board. Although sometimes your hand is best when checkraised, it is very difficult to play on. All immediate options are somewhat gross; folding means sometimes folding the best hand in a midsized pot. Calling sets up a ~265$ pot with effective ~690$, where pretty much every turn card kills our hand. (Plus, if were behind to a king, we have ~5 outs, so were not getting a good drawing price). Reraising the flop, to find out where you are, once again your hand is irrelevant. If you plan to fold to further action did

you need mid pair to put that play on? If you plan to call an all in once they go all in Ouch. So pretty much given a checkraise here, folding is the standard / best play 95% of the time. Now, 75s is a cool spot. If we do plan on folding, our hand vs. A6o is irrelevant. However, if we do now chose to 3bet, we can call an all in since our given equity vs a fair range is approximately ~30%. (So if you make it 350, you call the last 474 to win ~1650, since we would need 28% equity to make it, and we generally have 30%) So now we can 3bet the flop, which may be +EV in isolation (they fold enough) and then call an all in since weve committed ourselves But we free rolled on the 3bet. (Since calling the all in was assumed and we get that EV back) Furthermore, the best option may be to just all. Clearly we can set ourselves up to float Or just hit our draw Or perhaps run a bluff w/ outs. Basically, 75s gives us a lot more flexibility and more +EV situations that A6o does not. Interestingly as well in many situations your cards dont matter, its more important what your opponent represents and what in turn you can do to that particular holding.

In general, as well, youll find you get checkraised a tad more than other players since youre in more pots then others. Interpreting these checkraises is important, since its too weak to just cede every pot to counter aggression. However, until some sort of consistent checkraising has been established, a checkraise should typically demonstrate a big hand.

Another note is although we'll deal with playing draws in another lesson, for now.... The value of pushing draws, even marginal ones (like 8 out draws, the 75s example) is not to be diminished, especially in a shorthanded setting where they need a big hand to call. Well label the 75s as a passive gamble, though, when there is a 2flush on board.

One more thing about entering pots: I keep saying these are general guidelines for how to play in unopened pots, which is attacking the blinds. Your frame of mind should change a bit for when other players enter. Why? When people open limp, I tighten up my raising standards. My fold equity preflop has been diminished, (unless I have a note on said player that say "will limp/fold"- noticing these types of exploitable behavior is nice, since you can abuse their limps repeatedly...) so it means often if you raise it's to raise for value or build the pot, and in both cases, you need a better hand then raw trash.

Also, when people raise, I give their open raises (until they prove to be a maniac according to my own experience) respect. So... we'll delve into calling raises and playing in opened pots next chapter.

Preflop, part 2 (Chapter 5).

As said in the previous chapter, we look for both showdown value and big hand potential in our hands. What combines both of these elements? Well, pocket pairs are by far the most valuable hand groupings in holdem, because they have big potential (sets) and generally have showdown value all to themselves (a pair). They will form the basis of Tier 1. Naturally the higher the pair, the more inherent value it has, but all should be lumped together, for now.

The next group is suited aces. (More so then suited connectors!) While looking for nut hands, flush > flush is most profitable situation (opponent is drawing dead). Also, this type of hand can still make top pair / sometimes ace high is good if you can show it down the other important factor is that largely we wont be so concerned about kicker problems (with a mid or weak ace) since its typically easier to discriminate an opponents hand range (in the event of a big pot) into a big hand (like 2pair+) or draw. Like with pairs, the higher the suited ace (AKs) the better, but at this point, A2s=AKs.

The last additional hand, which bears special mention, is ace-king off suit. This is one of the few times where a hand grouping (in this case, an offsuit broadway connector) gives special consideration to an individual hand. The reasons are beyond scope of this chapter, (hell, an entire book could be written about AKo!) but the gist is that this is one of the few hands (especially in todays aggressive online games) we can comfortably back our stack all in preflop, and it generally plays well after the flop. (The big hand potential in this case is improving to TPTK when it hits, which is fairly often, compared to a flush draw or set).

Tier 1: AA-22, AKs-A2s, AKo.

Before we get into specifics of when I recommend playing (or not playing) these hands, I want to continue to categorize EVERYTHING. That will enable me to casually refer to the tiers rather than specific groupings. So, what do we look for in the next tier? Well, the next group of hands is one that has a lot of big hand potential but not much inherent showdown value. This will be suited connectors and suited 1 gap connectors; the beauty of these hands largely will be flopping draws or disguised big made hands, both of which while played aggressively blend a natural balancing act which enable us to play big pots. Although suited broadways fit the SC description, (as in, QJs is both a suited connector and a suited broadway!) well segment them somewhat, since the play (both preflop and postflop) will be approached from a different angle. Also, because some lower suited connectors make fewer straights and very non nut flushes, well segregate 43s, 32s, 53s, and 42s.

In addition to these hands, just like AKo in the first example, were lumping AQo in with this wave of hands. This is the mirror example of not huge big hand potential, but almost always TPTK situation. The only time this does not occur, obviously, is when the flop comes K Q x.

Tier 2: KQs-54s, KJs-64s, KTs, Q9s, J8s, AQo.

The 2nd tier largely focuses on big hand potential hands, whereas the next batch, the 3rd tier, focuses mainly on more of the showdown potential philosophy. In this we batch the rest of

the off suit aces, (AJo-A2o) with once again AJ given much more weight than A2. (Yet, neither features a prominent role in the world of NLH!) All other suited broadways, which have the potential of flopping top pair, decent kicker (and broadway itself) also fit in the 3rd tier; KQo, KJo, KTo, QJo, QTo, JTo. Clearly, KQo is given more weight then KJo, and so on.

Continuing the trend of offsuit hands, (can you see at this point that hot and cold suitedness adds little value, but in actual play, is an immense help?) well throw in offsuit connectors, as well. So, T9o-54o. In addition, the suited 2 gappers, which lose quite a bit of straight making ability, can be thrown in. This would be T7s-52s. We can now throw in those weaker 2nd tier suited connectors, as well; 43s, 32s, 53s, 42s.

Tier 3: AJo-A2o, KQo-JTo, T9o-54o, T7s-52s, 43s-32s, 53s-42s.

Well be mainly focusing on those hands mentioned (and up) however, the next group are those hands that have both limited showdown value and big hand potential. Meaning, they are not handcuffed in either direction, but also not all that strong. This is KXs, QXs, JXs. Surprisingly, flopping top pair isnt really what youre aiming for here, but also not all that bad of a result!

The other groups of hands that can be thrown in are off suit 1 gap connectors. Since the broadways have already been documented (as a tier 3 hand) this leaves J9o-64o. Lastly, the other non complete trash subsection is 4gap suited connectors. Since were already including the KX through JX type hands that leaves T6s, 95s, 84s, 73s, and 62s to be included.

Tier 4: K9s-K2s, Q8s-Q2s, J7s-J2s, T6s-62s, J9o-64o.

All resulting hands, (such as J6o, T4s, 92o, etc.) could be called Tier 5, but this term is irrelevant, since unless were playing ATC (any two cards) these hands will always be mucked preflop, no exception. So whatever hands have not been mentioned, NEVER PLAY. I am sincere about that! =)

The way Ill breakdown this down is present a situation, and then the standard (for me!) play and then claim what hands Id play, and perhaps how Id play then, and then why Id play them in that fashion. Well filter for 10handed through heads-up, but keep in mind that if youre playing HU, then all information pertaining to early position play should be ignored!

First Situation: Unopened Pot

Early Position, this would be 8-10 seats. I will certainly fold all tier 3 and beyond hands. If I play a tier 2 hand, its because I want to have what is known as control, over the table. This means a solid image, stacks are not shallow (think 80bb or deeper), and the table isnt hyper aggressive. (Where a lot of pots are getting reraised preflop) The big mistake newer players make is opening too many hands from early position in a full ring game, and then compound that mistake by calling isolation reraises w/ less then premium holdings. Ill open AKs-ATs, AKoAQo, AA-99. (Well get to handling reraises later!) Ill limp the other tier 1 stuff. So, vaguely, occasionally raise first in with a tier 2, always raise first in with the premium weighted section of the tier 1 hands, and the other half of the tier 1 stuff you limp. (Typically with the intentions on

calling) If you feel limps are getting abused, its a common tactic (and I dont advise it to be the standard play) to limp raise with AA/KK or AK.

Middle Position, this would be 7 to 5 seats. (Or of course, UTG in a 5 handed game, etc.) At this point, I am definitely opening all hands I want to play. And I always want to play a tier 1 hand. Also, unless my image is what is called shot, which means people are messing around with my opens liberally, I will open tier 2 hands automatically. Lastly, if I feel in control, Ill open tier 3 hands. Clearly though I require less control to open AJo 7handed UTG then say A4o 5handed UTG.

Late Position, this would be the button and cutoff seat. (Or UTG 4handed) Once again, I am not limping anything in this spot, its clearly raise or fold. If my image is shot, I may not open a tier 3, but I probably will anyway; the idea of constantly attacking is so crucial. If I feel in control, now Ill swoop down to tier 4.

Small Blind play, or flat-out heads up. At this point I will always open tier 3 and up, and the only times I dont open tier 4 are when the big blind (or HU player) is so aggressive that my open is just going to get 3bet.

Second Situation: Raised Pot

Early Position and Mid Position, we need to be slightly more concerned about a late position squeeze play if we simply cold call in both positions. That said, our range is very similar

if the pot has already been opened. We can call with position with all tier 1 stuff. Id occasionally call with some tier 2 stuff: My personal preference is that the 1gap suited connectors (specifically J9s!) fare slightly better, but there is little data to support this. (Over my statistical overviews on SCs vs SC1gaps, theyre virtually equal). Any case though, the play will be to fold MOST tier 2 and all tier 3/below. If youre wary of a squeeze, then Id fold the mid suited aces, as well.

Late Position, now were not as concerned about a squeeze and now were a little more convinced that well have absolute position in this hand. At this point we can expand our calling range to include some of the tier 2, (give a preference towards smaller connectors, you run less afoul of top pair dilemmas) but again, I just dont like cold calling those hands much.

Blinds, were out of position now! Our calling range drastically changes. OOP Id never call a tier 2 hand, if youre not the raiser in a raised pot you need position to make it playable. Id also muck A9s-A6s. (If I dont 3bet them, which well get to later). So, our calling range is quite small, but our opponents (luckily!) wont know this.

Third Situation: Limper(s)!

Early Position, its pretty rare for there to be a limper. Plus, with so many people to act, its pretty hard to isolate. (Even if thats the natural reaction) So, the early limper since were still in EP wont really change my opening standards. Since Id normally limp 88-22, A5s-A2s, Id go ahead and over limp those. Id just raise for value with AA-99, AKs-ATs, AK/AQ.

Middle Position, at this point we can isolate a bit. However, know that there are some hands which do better against limpers then others. I believe small pocket pairs (88-22) play better with just seeing the flop cheaply; in an unraised pot, you can still go wild with a set. The pot will grow to stack size just playing accordingly postflop. So Id rather over limp those hands. The same applies to A9s-A2s. Although isolating is fine, if theyre limping weak aces we may have kicker issues, so its often better to just over limp. Plus, the beauty of those hands is breaking smaller flushes, so the ideal scenario is trapping a blind hand w/ a weaker 2nd best hand. With both suited broadways and off suit broadways, we want to over limp, too. This may seem silly to many who are used to playing these hands as the aggressor, but seeing the flop cheaply will often enable us to catch a blind hand with a weaker kicker enabling us to win a medium sized pot. If were the raiser, too often well find ourselves in the position of facing a stack decision with just top pair, which is not a pretty position to be. With the suited hand, as well, we can catch weaker flushes from the blind enabling us to play a big pot with near full equity. The hands we certainly want to raise it up, then, in order to get heads up with position on the limper, are smaller suited connectors, suited 1 gappers, and off suit (and big suited) aces. The thinking is that suited connectors/1gappers have very little showdown value, so giving ourselves initiative is a huge boost. As well, in an unraised pot, if we put a lot of action in with a small flush, its likely we are on the short side of the stick, not our opponent. Off suit aces do not play well in limped pots, because its too easy to put too much action in with a weak top pair vs. either small 2pair or a bigger ace! Getting heads up allows us to control the pace with top pair, or simply showdown ace high vs. busted draws. All other hands that are worse do not bear mention, because my standard is to not over limp or isolate raise, so Ill simply fold.

Late Position, we can now expand our isolation range to perhaps suited 2 gapers and off suit 1 gapers. Same rules apply for both. Also, if a hand is closer (if I want to play it or not) since I more likely will have absolute position, itll push the hand to worthy of playing.

Blind play, at this point, I am more content to simply complete in the SB or check in the BB with limpers. Since I will not have position on the limper(s) then its generally best to keep the pot small. The exception, of course, is hands that Id generally open from EP in an unraised pot; AA-99, AKs-ATs, and AKo/AQo Ill bump up. Its possible, (the more limpers the better) Ill raise an absolutely trash hand (if the situation is right, our cards dont matter) to steal this money. This is similar to a squeeze play but not a precise squeeze; henceforth well label it as a blind gambit. When I normally raise preflop, I typically just make a pot sized raise, but out of the blinds I typically increase the raise size to ~150% pot sized raise.

Fourth Situation: 3-Betting:

Early Position, I generally wont bother seizing initiative or reraise with trash. Since I often respect early opens, a reraise from me here will be AA, KK, and possibly* AK. Well get to a discussion about AK and AQ at the bottom of this section.

The Golden Ratio of Reraising: A very strong play, and big moneymaker, is when anyone is opening slightly loose (such as less then premiums; anyone who is not considered a nit) is to resteal preflop. Since they dont have a hand which can stand a reraise, you can take a nice pot preflop and your cards dont even matter! Shorthanded and headsup play if someone has

an incredibly strong or unexploitable preflop game, generally they could be a terrible postflop player and still make a solid earn. Any case, an important stat (or player tendency) to take note of is how often a person raises preflop. We can label this as PFR%, or preflop raise %. Depending on how loose they open, Ill repop with either a 1:1 air:nuts ratio, 2:1, or even 3:1. What do I mean by this? I classify a nut hand preflop as one I feel fine/happy/unconcerned about getting all in before the flop with. Even against the nittiest of opponents (a nit is one who is very tight and fairly uncreative) AA and KK are gold preflop. They account for ~.9% of possible hands. Against them Ill probably pop just AA, KK, and a few SCs. Clearly though those SCs here are my air, which means I do not intend on getting all in before the flop.

With that said (continuing) if someone is a very loose raiser, even UTG, my reraising ratio in EP is still confined to AA, KK, possibly AK, and whatever tier 2 hands I deem complete the golden ratio. (Each SC, such as 45s, accounts for .3% possible holdings, so if I repop AA and KK, Ill repop 54s, 65s, and 76s). Why are repopping this range? Two main reasons. The first is to give ourselves some balance, because if our range was truly only AA or KK, wed only get action when opponents have aces, as well. The second is because our 3betting range here seems so tight (AA and KK) reraising these other hands, which still can flop big, are +EV in a vacuum because our hand is so deceptive. (Well win on the flop or preflop by virtue of opponent assuming we have aces, and therefore fold 2nd best hands, which are in fact the best hand).

Ill generally 3bet in position to just 3x the size of the open raise and 4x out of position. The reason for this is a player often has a tighter calling range out of position, which means we can risk less the win the same in position. Plus, out of position, its not a great proposition to

reraise small, have our flop bet called (which easily can be a float) and then give up in a fairly big pot simply because we have given up initiative due to being out of position.

When we are adding 3betting hands that constitute air, the best hands are those we want to be headsup, any case. Thus, the tier 2 hands that are smaller or medium SCs or 1gap SCs. Offsuit aces are another hand range well add later. Clearly I prefer suited broadways over off suit aces, since they are stronger, (in that theyre in my Tier 2 and not Tier 3) but generally dont play all that well in a reraised pot.

Middle Position, I can open up a little more, but Ill still adhere closely to a 1:1 or MAYBE 1.5:1 air:nuts ratio. The best way to figure this is to guesstimate opponents PFR, and go from there; the wider they open, the more apt an air reraise will work, and so on. Also, its worth noting that against some opponents, QQ and AK are hands youre happy to get all in preflop, which nudges our nuts % from .9 (.45 from AA + .45 from KK) to 1.3 (AA, KK, and QQ) and then to 2.6% (AA, KK, QQ, AKs, AKo). Naturally then we can add all suited connectors (KQs54s, 9 unique suited connectors, which constitute 2.7% of all hands) because now were at the bare minimum 1:1 ratio. Furthermore, if we feel good enough to get all in with those hands before the flop (AA-QQ, AKs/o) then our ratio should be closer to 2:1, so all suited 1 gapers should be added as well.

Late Position, at this point, people will open wider, and therefore, we can reraise wider. Against some maniac type players, we feel good enough to add JJ/AQ getting in before the flop, and perhaps can handle a 3:1 air:nuts ratio. With JJ and AQ in the mix, our nuts % is 4.2%, so in

order to hit the ~12.6% air segment, Ill reraise all tier 2, A9s-A6s, perhaps AJo and ATo, and lastly the middle offsuit connectors. (T9o to 54o) Voila, were at 13.9% bluff segment, which makes our natural Reraising range fairly tough to deal with. This is more or less my standard.

Blinds, Ill typically back off a bit. If Im in a 3:1 ratio, Ill settle down to 2:1 ratio. If I was in a 2:1 ratio, Ill settle down to 1.5:1. Although opponents are more apt to open loose from the button or cutoff, generally theyre more apt to call your 3bet, since they have position. Due to this, I simply let them have my blind often; although we are focusing on winning the blinds, the only time our blinds dont matter is when were the one who is actually posting it! Fairly bizarre occurrence, but that said, fairly important to grasp.

Fifth Situation: 4bet bluffs

The last situation that occasionally happens, especially heads up, is when people are going wild and crazy preflop. People will just be shoving so many hands, 3betting ATC, that the basic impulse is to simply tighten up a bit and catch someone since theyll give you action. However, if you feel youre being 3bet a lot as the initial raiser, although Ill revert to my calling tendencies (both in position and out of position), with the qualm that the pot is just much larger relative to stacks, so that well get all in on the flop with a wide range of hands. A quick mathematical example though: If we open to 3.5x the BB, and villain either in position or out makes it 10.5x the BB, and the action is on us If we 4bet, say to 33x the BB (~3x) and get shoved on, with effective 100 BB stacks, were getting 67:~200 price on an all in call. If we have a bluff, needing 33% equity or so

to call, well, we technically can fold. However, most hands you 4bet in that situation, if villains range is ever bigger than just aces, (say AK and KK) its surprising how many hands were correct to call. For example:
equity Hand 0: Hand 1: win tie 00.22% 00.22% pots won 130837856 60100348 pots tied 419922.00 { KK+, AKs, AKo } 419922.00 { JTs }

68.443% 68.22% 31.557% 31.34%

What this means is against one of the tighter ranges, were almost correct to get it all in before the flop with jack high! Thus, I am not one to advocate 4betting bluffing with just 100 bb stacks. However, once a little deeper (say, 125bbs) its possible to 4bet to 33bb, and fold getting a price of 92:250, needing 37% equity.

The AK and AQ question about Reraising:

1 - A guy who has a PFR around 7 open raises UTG, you have AK on button. Call raise or fold? 2- A guy who has a PFR around 22 open raises UTG, you have AK on button. Call raise or fold?

Here is my take. This is a little bit counter intuitive.

I never fail to re-raise a tighter raiser. I also never fail to flat call a looser raiser.

The exceptions are somewhere in the middle (think 10 to 15 PFR) and 3 or less (Where folding is shockingly best!). ~3% PFR or less you'll never really run into shorthanded but these guys are easy to pick out. With AQ, Id probably fold if the villain had a PFR lower then 6%,

and the exceptions in the middle are probably closer to 12 to 18 PFR.

Vs a tight raiser two things happen: 1: You're more likely to run into the two hands you fear (AA and KK) so it's easier to "find out" now rather than postflop. Some people (Esp. Higher up in stakes, some will and some wont where you are now) wont 3bet with these big hands, so this loses some luster, but it's easy to reraise and fold to a 3rd raise. 2: You have incredible folding equity; they are tighter raisers for a while, so knock them off, a "preflop semibluff" if you will.

Alot of times though they will call with a (things even as good as) 99+, and check fold if they dont flop a set. So you have enormous earn potential when you can narrow their hand range drastically. They're less likely to raise AJ and worse, as well, hands which you gain the deception value by flat calling AK, so winning a big pot becomes less likely vs a tight raiser.

Vs a loose raiser: 1: Fold equity is diminished. If they raise loose they probably will defend too often, and this puts you in a real murky postflop spot where they Generally know where you are but you dont know where they are.

2: Why knock off AJ, AT, etc. these hands are the hands you're going to trap, punish them for raising dominated aces.

-You rarely fear the big hand, so allowing them to bleed money with a worse ace is ideal scenario

Obviously, if they're 3 PFR or less they have AA or KK way too often to merit calling AK, so fold. If theyre 6 PFR or less they have AA, KK, QQ, and AK way too often to merit calling AQ, so fold.

In reality, I likely reraise in both scenarios, however in theory the above should be what guides you.

Last term, the Squeeze Play. The squeeze play differs from a blind gambit, and basically is: If a person raises preflop, someone cold calls, and the action is on you. (or there can be more than one cold call) In a blind gambit, were gambling to pickup limped hands that figure to be weak with a somewhat substantial preflop raise. In a squeeze play, were 3betting the opener, because we think if the cold caller had anything, they wouldve reraised to begin with, so were laying a decent price that the first raiser cannot stand a squeeze. The times to not squeeze are when the cold caller has a history of cold calling big hands (such as AK, big pair) which they plan on shoving on you, or if the original opener is fairly tight. Well generally expand our golden ratio to something ludicrous like 5:1 or so, so if I view JJ+, AQo+ as nuts segment (4.2%) were going to be correct in squeezing anything playable. (Tier 3+, occasionally Tier 4, I still dont squeeze with raw garbage, unless the situation calls for ATC squeeze). Obviously, if opener is tight, and we view our nuts as still just AA/KK, (.9%) were not going to be going to hogwild with a squeeze. (Not even 5% hands, so perhaps just tier 2 hands which we wouldve originally

folded had it not been for the cold caller). I normally add an extra multiplier for each cold caller, so if Im in position and there is 1 cold caller, rather than 3betting the original amount 3x, I would raise 4x. If I was out of position with 1 cold caller, then Id 3bet the original amount to 5x the amount. (vs 4x). And so on. (So at a full table, if Im in the BB and there are 3 cold calls after an opener made it 3x the BB, Id make it 7x the original amount, or 21 BB. So, Im gambling ~21 to pick up ~13.5, and if Im pushed on when I have trash, facing ~79:210, assuming a 100BB stack, or needing 38% equity vs. a range to call. So if I have pure trash, Ill fold, but with any nuts segment, make a quick call.

Bet Sizing, flop play part 1 (Chapter 6).

When you bet the flop, there is a reason for it. The purpose of a flop bet: Protection You feel you have best hand, but it can be easily overtaken, so you bet to make it incorrect for opponents to call. Technically, you dont mind folds but calls are also ok. Value - You have best hand that is not easily overtaken, so you make a bet that generally welcomes a call. More specifically, its a situation where you welcome calls, so enticing a call is more important than shutting out the opposition. Bluff You do not have the best hand, so you want folds.

Always have in mind the purpose for your bet. Dont make a bet because you feel you need to put money in action. Put money in for a reason! The corollary is that generally, if you cannot think of a reason to bet (namely one of those above, things like "information" or "bluff prevention" are more applicable when deep stacked, and generally just less applicable in a normal game!) then dont bet! We'll identify situations later that fall into certain non betting types, for example, way ahead/way behind (wa/wb) situations, or where you cant protect your hand enough (so that neither value nor protection can be garnered; where you dont want to turn a top pair hand into a bluff). For now we're focusing on situations that are betting situations, where the tricky part is identifying a proper bet amount.

Quiz Bet sizing. Game is 2/4 NL, the effective stack is 400$, and for now unless otherwise stated you "just sat in" so no reads on opponents (and, in turn, they have no read on you). All hands are played 7handed, unless otherwise stated. As well, speculate upon the type

of bet were making.

1. QQ UTG+2, you open for 14, 2 callers, one on your right, the other on the button. (OTB) Blinds fold. Pot is 48, flop is J 4 2r. You're first to act. Bet size?

2a. AJ in MP, UTG limps, you make it 18, blinds fold and UTG calls making the pot heads up. This time T 4 2 flop w/ 2 hearts. Pot is 42. He checks. You?

2b. if you had JJ on that same board, with the same action, now what is our bet size? Hint; Probably same answer as 2a!

3. Now AQs OTB, 2 limps and you make it 22, BB calls instantly, limpers fold, 52 in pot. He checks instantly, Qd Jd 4x. Your bet?

4. We raise 77 UTG to 16, CO calls and the blinds fold. With 38 in the pot, the flop comes T 7 2r. Your bet?

5. We open J9s from MP to 14 and both blinds call, putting 42 in there and a 3way pot. The flop misses us, with K Q 4r, what should you bet?

The answers are 1. Well later classify this flop as a type 1 dry board. With an overpair, any bet is a clear value bet. Heads up, Im content to half pot, and would probably bet an even 25.

2. This flop is still somewhat dry, but with a flush draw, well end up labeling this a type 3 flop. Heads up, Id probably end up betting 30 to 33 for both AJ and JJ, although AJ is for the most part a bluff, and JJ is a protection bet. The concept of AJ being a bluff there (yet being the best hand often) will be explained later. 3. Although weve flopped TPTK, this is an example where we dont really want a lot of action. With two broadways and a flush draw, well (later in this chapter!) label this flop a type 4 board. Here, were going to make a protection bet for the full pot, or roughly 50 dollars. 4. This is again a dry board, and with a set, we have a near lock. This is a spot we could consider a slowplay (which well touch on next chapter) but if we bet, Id like to half pot it, something like 20 dollars seems right. 5. This is another clear bluff flop is not as dry as question 4, but with two broadways, itll take a somewhat larger bet to take it down. Well classify this as a type 2 board, and Id probably fire 28 dollars.

One note is that just because I think these are the optimal bet amounts hardly means they are situation ally optimal! There is a method for all this, though. What do you notice about each flop in relation to our hand? (In the quiz) The important thing to think about is not just our hand strength, but more so our hand strength relative to the board.

Key note: We need to be thinking about opponents, the board, what they could have - right now that's more important then what we have (we're graduating level I thinking! = ) )

When the board is more coordinated... Your hand becomes more vulnerable (if it's best) plus... There are more possibilities of hands that can "play on". When there are more possibilities of hands out there + more cards on the turn that can "kill our hand" (either the one you have, like in hand 3, or the one you're representing, like in hand 5) it's important to protect your hand. To best demonstrate why the bet amounts are sometimes best to bet the pot, and other times half or 2/3 etc, Im going to break down some more examples.

FOR ALL HANDS LISTED you have KQ on the button in a 3 way pot, where you raised 2 limpers to 4xbb. Roughly 13bb in the pot, but this is irrelevant since we wont expand upon that. Rather, were setting up situations. All flops were assuming the limp/callers check to you.

Example 1: Flop is K 7 2r. ~this is what is known as a way ahead / way behind situation~ (WA/WB)

If you have the 2nd best hand, people could have AK, K7, K2, 72 (well, technically) KK, 77, or 22. All of those hands (72 doesn't have you crushed*) are way out in front. If you have the best hand, people could have KJ, KT, A7, 78, 88, etc.

Here you want to make a bet size to entice a weaker king to call you down, or a low / mid pair to draw incorrectly. At the same time, you don't want to commit yourself to losing a lot vs. a hand which has you in serious trouble. The way to figure out the bet size is to picture the hand that has the MOST OUTS AGAINST YOU. That would be something like 67s or A7s, (5immediate outs

w/ a backdoor fdraw) so make a bet which is incorrect for them to call.

There are 52 cards in the deck. 3 on the flop, 2 in your hand, so 47 unknown. If we give our opponents 5 outs, we know 42 cards are "safe," and 5 are "unsafe." Therefore, 42:5. That is approximately 8.4:1 against. Therefore, any bet which is 1/6th the pot lays them 7:1 to improve, and they are making a mistake by calling.

I would never bet so little, however, for a few reasons. The primary reason though is that you don't know what improves their hand ie. Does a Jack hit their KJ? 8 hit their 78? So you DO stand to lose a little by virtue of their implied odds. Furthermore, if people are willing to call larger bets (when you have what you actually have, top pair here) there is no reason to keep them priced in. We want to allow our opponent to make a mistake, and the mistake will be fold if he could see our cards. If we dont bet enough, were allowing our opponent to play correctly, and in turn, were not maximizing our earn.

So... in this example (and similar continuation bet spots) where it's NOT likely you will be played with, (not to mention Id bet this with QJ, A6, etc.) I advocate roughly half pot bets. So, for a conservative estimate, even just 5bbs into the pot of 13, (Not even half pot!) here's the math: You bet 5 bbs with KQ, and 1 person calls with 78. 5 times he hits and will win 23bbs +implied odds of a turn bet and perhaps small river bet. 42 times he misses and you win 23 bbs, but no further. (5x23) = -115, (42x23) = 966. 966 - 115 = 861

861 (net bb amount) / 47 (number of possible turns = profit of 18 bbs with the bet. By making a bet they cant call (for example, pot) you stand to earn MUCH more when they make a bad call, but most of the time will just win 13 bbs in the pot. So here them calling, even a small bet, is to your advantage BIG time.

So to reiterate, you should always be looking for situations where opponents will make a mistake (calling bets without odds or implied odds) and also limiting your own mistakes (putting too much money into the pot when your pot equity doesnt warrant it). Note that even if you lose another half pot on the turn and small river bet, (18 x 5, then perhaps 20 x 5 minus the times you redraw) 90 + 100 = 190, you still stand to profit ~670 with smaller bets. So the times they suckout its ok!

On a complete draw less board, where they have tops 5 outs, betting half pot (even a little less) if they call they are making a huge mistake; in the long run it's a raw difference of 5bbs (18 v 13 in the example) or, almost 150%, which is huge. Ill take that edge any day!

It's important that whenever you see a flop, and have a reason to believe you have the best hand.. (And plan to bet the flop) you have to analyze the flop texture (Also, just to throw this in, at this point it's great to take each street as an independent step, but in the future, once everything is tied together, it's important to think of the whole hand ie. have a plan for the whole hand, not just stop gap fixups when needed)

Example 2:

Flop is Q J 4r

Once again, we have KQ, BUT it's best to just picture something like KQ, where we want to represent top pair (or better) *ESPECIALLY since we wont have that often (Because we're raising our fair share of pots preflop).

~this is a mediocre to light drawing board. Anytime there are two broadways and more than one opponent, it's easier to ASSUME some kind of straight draw is out there.

Here, as well, hands like QJ or 44 stands to win more from your hand because you need to protect your hand a tiny bit more. But still, your goal is to get the max out of a weaker Q and the max out of a straight draw (or gut shot with an overcard, like AT) The biggest draw out would be KT. REMEMBER, always visualize the biggest draw out there. The KT draw has 8 outs.

Once again, 47 unknown turns. 8 are unsafe, 39 are safe. Thus 39:8, or 4.9:1. A bet of 1/3rd the pot lays them 4:1 against, so they are (once again) making a mistake. Now, once again I'd bet a little more.

So here I'd bet around 7 bbs. Lets say 7. You bet 7bbs and 1 person calls with KT. 8 times he hits and will win 27bbs + implied odds 39 times he misses and you win 27bbs but no further. (8x27) = -261, (39x27) = 1053 1053 - 261 = 792 792 (net bb amount) / 47 (number of possible turns = profit of 16.8 bbs with the bet. By making

a bet they cant call (for example, pot) you stand to earn MUCH more when they make a bad call, but most of the time will just win 13 bbs in the pot. So here them calling, even a small bet, is to your advantage BIG time. Note that even if you lose another half pot on the turn and small river bet, (27 x 8, then perhaps 30 x 8 minus the times you redraw) 216 + 240 = 456, you still stand to profit ~350 with smaller bets.

It's interesting to see how the more powerful draw they have, the less you stand to make! (Obviously) this is because they have more pot equity. So, situations where there are two broadways but still a rainbow board, (or an obvious and likely open ended straight draw present) I like bets that are just under 2/3 the pot.

Example 3 K 8 3 w/ 2 flush

Here they could have NFD, giving them 3 aces with 9 flush outs. So 12 outs. 47 total cards, 35:12 now. 2.9:1 A bet of half pot now lays them 3:1, so that's not really good. Lets try 3/4th the pot. So a bet (with 13bbs) of 10, for example allows them to make a mistake. Remember, also, you are not always paying off a draw, (in fact, should avoid doing so =) ) but this is just raw numbers, factoring in some additional implied odds they get. 12 times he hits and wins 33 bbs + implied odds 35 times he misses and you win 33 bbs. 12 x 33 = 396, 35 x 33 = 1155 Difference is 759, so roughly 16 bbs with the bet.

But 33 x 12 = 396, 35 x 12 = 420. Oh no! We now, if we pay off full pot on turn, will turn a net loss! That is why NFD vs. top pair is basically even money And the more outs they have, despite charging them sufficiently for the turn card, a fold is close to a call. On type 3 boards, then, which are any type 1 type boards with a 2flush present, Id bet the pot.

Example 4 (last example). K T 4 w/ 2 flush

If they have a big draw now, 15 outs, (QJs) they are actually the favorite to win. But they don't necessarily have that, but with so many draws, it's necessary to bet the full pot. 32:15, a full pot charging them 2:1 on next card is actually almost EV neutral (but also, keep in mind, most of the time they wont have this good a draw! But the board is scary enough to warrant full pot!) So you bet 13 32 x 39 15 x 39 Amounts to +663 / 47 = 14 bbs. So here, even with the biggest draw, you will win ~an extra bb if they call rather then fold. So it's close, and due to implied odds, you really would like a fold. -given those cards are all the "scare cards" it's important to charge full pot there

As a quick reference chart, its close to: -When there is a flush and open ended straight draw present - full pot. (Qd Jd 4h) -When there is a flush and gut shot - pot. (Qd 8d 4h)

-When there is a flush but no overcards, 2/3 pot. (Ad 9d 4h) -When there is an obvious straight draw, 2/3 pot (Qd Jh 4c) - When there is a dry board with a weak open ended straight draw, ~ pot. (Ad 6h 5c) -When there is a dry board, which contains only possible gutshots or pair draws, ~1/2 pot. (Kd 7c 3h)

Obviously, it's hardly as cut and dried as that, but it's a good guide. Plus, randomizing it a bit is encouraged. In addition, your relative hand strength can impact a bet size; a set on a type 2 board generally can scale the bet size down in order to induce action, since we have a redraw. When you have a semi strong hand on a drawless board, when the pot gets big you often will not have the best hand. So by betting less on the flop, (less of a need for protection) you're creating that small pot... Although mathematically you often want those calls, when you have reason to believe you have the best hand, and you can even pay off some implied odds (and make money off the flop bet) it's VERY important to realize when you're beaten, because pot size increases exponentially, and any small mistake on an early street tends to be magnified on later streets.

How do some player images impact bet sizing? The Categories: Calling stations, rocks, tricky players, passive, over aggressive.

-Calling stations you'll want scale your bet sizing up a bit with hands that can shed value but scale back bluffs a bit, largely because these types are indifferent to effective odds. So, charge more when you can put yourself in that position! -Rocks you can make lower bet sizes with ALL hands. A rock in NLH is often "weak tight," or a

"set miner," so they will often NOT have the drawing hand (and more likely to have a set whatnot) so it's a lot easier to shake them off "2 out draw" or what not. -Tricky players (as in will call with a wider range of draws and apply pressure while doing so) I'd often bet more, just to hurt out their implied odds a little... This is because now they can use more scare cards to make you fold the best hand. -Passive often wont get much in the way of implied odds. A passive player is more likely to check good hands (incorrectly OR correctly) so it's better to bet less in general against them. -Over aggressive players are unique in that if I want to go to war Id bet more, mainly because they will either play back with less or more apt to make a calling mistake due to my bet size.

How does getting multiple callers change your bet sizing?

Most of my hand examples involve heads up pots, because generally flops are seen heads up or occasionally 3-way when raised. Limped pots are a different animal, which we touch on later. However, in order to deal with so-called family pots, is to just up bet sizing a little bit. Also, be a lot less gung-ho with 3+ callers. As a minor digression, Ill fire a continuation bet with air heads up and 3handed with near 100% frequency. Any case, because there could be MULTIPLE draws out pooling outs, similar to limit thinking of "Schooling", it is correct (from 2 people seeing a flop to 3 people and so on) to increase the bet size somewhat.

Chapter 7 Balancing the Flop.

If you start raising pf frequently, and subsequently bomb the flop, often you're betting very weak hands postflop. (Our raw air % will be quite considerable) Unfortunately, this gets you in awful spots on the turn, or even river, where it's too easy to get moved off a marginal hand by being bluffed off the best hand. Naturally, the defense to this is to balance flop checks. What does this mean? It basically means waving the white flag of surrender, in order to save your flop bet for another day. So our first method for balancing will be to check complete misses. (Somewhat often when its a multiway pot, but generally not if its heads up) However, if you never check a good hand, then a check will send a transparent message to your opponent that the pot is theirs for the taking. Referencing the idea of aggression, this is never the position we would like to be in. So, this chapter will deal with 3 other scenarios in which to consider checking the flop when we dont have complete air.

If you always bet, and your opponents are somewhat observant, it takes away use of position; my friend coined this term, I think it's applicable, it's known as transferred position. As in, the hand doesn't begin until you auto bet, so he really gets to act w/ that information (takes away positional advantage of a free card). Furthermore, on one hand it could make the hand more simply, but often times makes the hand play out in a lower expectation value then wed like. (When a check is better than a flop bet) Remember, when betting the flop, always think of a reason; Value, Protection, or a Bluff. If none of these reasons existed, ideally we will be checking the flop. So When checking, I like to classify reasons into "deception," "shutting out the move makers, and "equity advantage".

Deception: If you're only checking complete misses, it becomes easy for opponents to pick up on this and just strike. If they have position, they'll take whatever you dont put out to protect, and without, they can call loosely, knowing that a flop check of yours gives them the right of first initiative on the turn. Deception is also known as slow playing, since deception will be checking very strong hands in an effort of: 1. Allowing villain to catch up a little bit (but still not enough to beat our hand) and/or 2. Allowing villain to bluff at our apparent weakness.

I'll NEVER check an inherently deceptive hand. If I raise 75s from utg, and get btn and bb calling, and flop is K 7 5r, never ever check there. In fact, I'd bet ~1/2+ pot, hoping / knowing a king will play with me, and my plan will basically milk those hands for what they're worth (and occasionally you'll get 89 or 78 make the loose call, which we want to encourage!) But... If I have KK on that board, I may throw in a check There are a few gutshots out, and 68/46 (which are unlikely, but possible) for OESD, so this would only be half pot value bet anyway. However, the deck is nearly crippled; if they have a set, you'll stack them anyway. If they have 2 pair (75) a king to make you quads is VERY unlikely to counterfeit them, so if flop is checked through, and you bet turn, you'll still get raised (and have the luxury of playing a big pot). If we think of a reason to bet the flop, with KK there is not much to protect. Obviously not bluffing with the nuts, and there is little value as unless they have a near lock themselves (aka set > set) cause top pair is unlikely, with all but 1 king accounted for.

So, big hands on dry boards I like checking (1 or 2 players in the pot) from time to time. My standard is always to bet. And as usual, deception is never a reason when your hand is inherently hidden! No point being deceptive on Kd Qd 8h board - they likely hit it in some way,

bet full pot, and expect to be played with by a lot of hands, if they fold there you weren't going to win much on the turn anyway.

I'm not one into randomizing my play based on cards that fall, aka game theoretic sense (like, red kings Ill check if I set on a type 1 or type 2 flop, all else full power ahead!) but if you want you can use some tricks like that. Generally it's a feel situation, because if I feel opponents are ready to bluff raise me, Ill give them the opportunity, but if theyre just check folding everything, Ill give them a little rope to hang themselves.

Shutting out the Move Makers: In one sense, this could almost be flop pot control. Its taking a street off with a hand that you want to take to showdown for a medium sized pot. Against aggressive players, its when you fear building the pot will result in you making a mistake which can be avoided. For example, if you raise a kinky hand, lets say Tier 4 K6s from the button, often with a type 1 or type 2 flop, there will be wa/wb situations on the flop! For example, if the flop comes K 3 3r (type 1) or K T 4 (type 2). A move maker may checkraise the flop, sometimes with air, but present you in a real bind, since any hand theyd be doing this with value (from a very good king, to AA, to trips) has you in awful shape. So, escalating the pot means we beat pure air, and although that will happen sometimes, its a real guessing game. So shutting out a move maker is a situation in which we have a marginal hand in a dry spot and want to get one street closer to showdown.

At the minimum, referencing the example above, my standard is to fire away on both boards. I would feel an underpair (such as 77 to 44 territory) account for a decent chunk of

villains range, and would check call the flop. For the 2nd board, enough things like JT, Q9, or 77 also would check call, so there is value in both boards to be bet. But, if we face a checkraise, Im probably folding unless Im up against a truly crazy opponent, someone who is on tilt, or just a person who is aggressive and smart enough to notice we rarely will have a big hand that can play a big pot on this board.

Now, again for balancing purposes, heads up even with pure air (such as 78o, A5s, etc. things that miss both flops completely) Id probably bet. But, since opponent knows sometimes we give up with those misses, they could fire very light on the turn, this will feed into wanting to pot control here, call the turn, then call the river or value bet if checked to. One last note, though, is that if villain is very straightforward and predictable, leading out on both boards would probably be superior since we can easily fold to a checkraise, and we can still opt to take the turn off staying in the lead. (Which well get to in a later chapter) The best time to check is vs. an opponent who checkraises the flop with enough frequency to make you feel guilty about folding to a raise. (As in, if they dont do it enough, bet fold, if they do it far too often, bet call down)

Equity Advantage: The alternative to deception, which occurs with locks or near locks on dry boards, is the ULTRA draw heavy boards where you do NOT have a lock at all! We did not mention these in the previous chapter, but there is a type 5 flop. This will be: Kx Qd Td, Js 9x 8s, Td 9h 8h, etc.

If you remember a reason to bet, with a marginal hand, no good reason exists. For example, ATo on that 3rd board (Td 9h 8h) should get checked both in position and out of

position. If you bet, all undercards type hands will fold anyway, but... anything that can play probably has enough equity to just give you tougher decisions later in the hand. So, you cant get too much value in the hand (anything that calls you, even a weak draw like Q9, has a lot of pot equity on the flop) and it's too easy to get shut out, as a c/r could be bad news, and protecting your equity share (reverse equity line here big time!) generally is not worth it. So we turn our hand into an effective bluff since it just cannot stand any heat. So, on ULTRA draw heavy boards, with hands such as top pair, I'd consider throwing a check.

With a COMPLETE miss, on the above board (Td 9d 8h) I would even check raw air, such as 34s, A5d, and KQo. (Although with KQo I may check call a small bet out of position, with the thinking Ill break Qx if we land a J. But thats a small %, so it has to be a small bet, as generally the exact situation is never there)

This situation is not just for made hands. I want to make this clear, as well, these situations don't come up that frequently, since generally the flop is dying to be bet. And the pot is dying to be yours. So really a free card just complicates that process! In these examples, checking is something to consider but an argument to act on your right of first initiative still exists. Anyway, if I have a nut draw, such as A2h or KJo on Td9h8h, I may check behind. I love checking nut draws last to act in multi way pots. This goes back to semi bluffing big boards, but if you bet, and get action (such as c/red) you typically must play a big pot where you never have a big edge, but typically a small underdog, but pot odds will advocate going for it. Instead, if you check behind, a free card is much more likely to break them, if they check on the turn you still have the right to first initiative, so the pot can be snatched then.

Clearly, with worse marginal made hands, Im not too worried about protecting my equity share, or getting to showdown. ATo on that type 4 truly has a difficult proposition when c/r, but something like A9 does not. Tx etc. makes enough of their range that more made hands annihilate our hand equity, so we can simply bet/fold. Also, with a marginal draw that is not a nut draw, (this would be small diamonds on that board, such as 34d) we can bet and typically fold to a c/r. (Although well cover the right thought process behind that in the next chapter) So in summation of a type 5 board, Im not betting pure air too often, Im generally bet/folding a weak made hand or a weak draw, Im generally checking a marginal made hand or a marginal draw, and Im obviously bet/calling or pushing a strong made hand or strong draw. (As in often AA+ or our definition of a strong draw from the first chapter)

To check or bet? Below is a quiz that illustrates these concepts. In each of the 3 situations, well have 3 different hands, and a different correct action. The game is 4handed 5$/10$ no limit, with an effective stack of 1200$. All situations are played heads up, with 2 to the flop.

#1. In the cutoff, we open raise to 40$, and get called by the big blind, an aggressive player. He is not a fish, and the one player you have not been isolating whatsoever. There is 85$ in the flop, and it comes Q T 3r. Villain checks to us, so what should we do with TT, 65s, and Q9o?

#2. On the button, we open raise to 40$ and get called by the big blind, who is very loose passive preflop and postflop. There is 85$ in the pot, and it comes Qd Jd 9h. Villain checks to us, so what should we do with 45d, AQh, and 87o?

#3. In the small blind, its folded to us and we make it 30$, and the big blind defends. Hes not as good as the aggressive player from situation 1, but by no means incredible. Hes a standard breakeven player that is not particularly aggressive or passive preflop or postflop. You expect hell defend his blind liberally, preflop though. The pot has 60$, and the flop comes 9h 7d 6h, were first to act, what do we do with J9o, JTo, and JQo?

Answers, as I see them!

#1. With TT Im tempted to be deceptive here and check. If I bet, its because I think hes aggressive enough to try to c/r me with air or a draw or marginal hand such as top pair, or curious enough he peels with a weak draw or weak made hand, such as an underpair. If I bet, Im betting 60$ here, or slightly less than 2/3 the pot. With 65s, the pot is heads up, we have absolutely no hand, and we absolutely must bet! Were going to give this board one shot, possibly two depending on what turns (well get to firing the 2nd barrel in an upcoming chapter, soon!) but this is the type of situation where the pot is ours until the other player says, no, my pot. A bet of 55$ to 65$ looks effective. Lastly, with Q9o this may be a check under the guise of shutting out a move maker. In fact, this is a very nice spot for it. We dont ever want to play a big pot with our hand, but we really dont want to be put in a messy spot of getting blown off it. Id tend to check here somewhat frequently.

#2. This time, villain is pretty bad as opposed to the villain above, who strikes a little bit of fear into us. With 45d, a lot of people would expect a check is right, since we want to establish an equity advantage (not put money in here as a ~2:1 dog, wait till we hit a flush when we have the

pot locked up) and that is not a bad thought. However, since villain is almost never going to checkraise us off our draw, and we only have 5 high, Id probably still bet, and Id make a normal continuation bet size of the pot, roughly 80$ to 90$. Even though I think in isolation this does not show profit (banking on folding equity for a weak aggressive draw) we can then check the turn for a freebie, or we will have built the pot so we can get a ton of value if we do hit a flush. AQh, again, a lot of people would consider this to be an equity advantage spot, where checking is correct. Against a reasonable player, I would, too, think this is the case. However, villain is not a good player, and he calls too much, so Id happily pot this, and plug him away into oblivion. (Bet of 88$ on the money works for me!) Lastly, 87o is basically air, aside from a truly awful draw. (Ignorant end of the gutshot) Im probably going to check here, and not put any money in the pot unless a 6, 7, 8, or T comes off. (And even then, not putting much in)

#3. Now were out of position, which somewhat complicates things. This is another type 5 board, but we never have the option of a free card. With J9o, our play will be check and evaluate. Were not going to check-fold top pair here, but were either calling or raising, pretty much depending on how much villain bets. (If they do so) So, we want to check due to a flop equity advantage idea. JTo is a pretty marginal draw here; we have a nut gutshot opportunity if an 8 rolls off, and we also may have 2 live overcards. (Which in a blind vs. blind scenario, its not that uncommon) Here were going to check, and either call a bet or fold. If villain bets the full pot (60$) Id likely let them have it, but with ~10ish outs Im probably check calling up to 45$. Unless I had a particular read they would fold to a checkraise, I wouldnt really consider that. Well classify this sort of draw next chapter as a passive gamble. QJo, lastly, is pure air with near no outs, except sometimes over cards. Its an easy checkfold.

Chapter 8 - Playing Draws in Raised Pots.

So this chapter the scope is playing draws, and more specifically, how to approach them on the flop. Well discuss turn play later in the book. I strongly believe that a decision with a draw is made on the flop whereas marginal hands I prefer waiting until the turn. That is fairly stylistic, but it bares saying in the introduction as typically I'll make a plan for a draw on the flop, and follow through on it. Before discussing more about draws, though, how should we define a Draw?

A draw is simply a hand which figures to be able to improve to the best hand. A made hand, for example, is a hand which figures to not be able to improve to the best hand. Its very possibly for a draw to have some made hand characteristics, and therefore inherent showdown value. However, the sticking point is we have a hand which can improve to the best hand, even if its not best at the moment. Air, then, is basically a hand which neither figures to be the best hand or have much of a chance to improve to the best hand.

In this chapter, we will: -Evaluate the strength of a draw -Categorize the type of draw -Finally, when these factors have been considered, implement the hand into a plan of action

Firs, however, what separates a limped pot vs. a raised pot? Raised pots play very

differently then limped pots, so what holds true in one may not hold true in another. Im basically, why is a NFD (nut flush draw) in a raised pot better or worse or just different then in a limped pot?

A few quick thoughts of my own: -Limped pots tend to be multiway -Players can have anything, especially the blinds, so remote 2pair or weird straights are definitely in the mix of hand ranges you could be facing -In a raised pot, typically the raiser's hand is "more defined", thus it's easier to ascertain your draw's value. As in, we can expect the pfr to have high cards or a big pair. Or, vs someone who opens their game a little more, occasionally suited connectors and the like. Nevertheless, on a K x x draw, it's very likely if we end up all in it's facing AA, AK, Kx for that matter, or sometimes the nuts. (KKK) -How this relates to playing draws, is that people make a "fatal" mistake of overvaluing the value of their hand (ie 2 overs plus flush draw) in a pot where weird 2 pairs or hidden straights are DEFINATELY in opponents' hand ranges -In terms of implied odds, since it's harder to know what people have, they often have less then what it appears to get paid off (Top pair no kicker just wont pay off "too much" to a flush if it hits, if it pays off at all) *A quick point then is that typically check/calling a pot bet in a nothing pot with bare flush is not profitable (yet commonly done!)

In summation of this, I think: 1. In limped pots, value of implied odds is seemingly less

2. A lot of the value in bare over card pair outs and such in those same pots goes down 3. For the reverse, when the pot is bigger, (and generally more rewarding to go after!) is where our efforts to win the pot should be centered *This typically goes after my philosophy of trying to win the raised pots; throwing away too much money in a limped pot with a marginal draw is not where our small pots should come from*

An Equitable Draw When we flop a draw, very first thing "we" (we meaning you, of course!) should be doing is ascertaining our hand's worth. Remember our definition of a strong draw in the equity chapter? Well break draws into 3 basic categories: Strong A strong draw is one that requires no fold equity to be played for your stack. Generally, in a 100bb raised pot, a strong draw will be a draw that has ~45%+ equity. Marginal A marginal draw is one that requires some fold equity to be played for your stack. Generally, in a 100bb raised pot, a marginal draw will be a draw that has ~45% to ~30% equity. Weak A weak draw is one that requires a lot of fold equity to be played for your stack. Generally, in a 100bb raised pot, a weak draw will be any draw that has less than 30% equity.

Fairly elementary quiz below, part 1: The situation: In a 6 handed game, you raised QTd from the CO, both the button and the big blind called you. They have full 100xbb stacks, and naturally you cover them. We'll assume 1/2, so. 22$ in the pot ignoring a marginal rake. Our first step is to recognize how much raw equity we have vs. a typical (not overly loose or tight) all in range. So, well have 9 boards, and our draw will range from strong to weak. In order to answer everything, Ill provide a pokerstove sim with hopefully a reasonable all in range for opponent, but Im

weighing more top pairs, fewer over pairs, and fewer semibluffs then Id expect in a typical encounter. Flops #1: Jd 9d 4x a. Strong (57%)
Board: Jd 9d 4c Dead:

equity Hand 0: Hand 1:


tie 01.92% 01.92%

pots won 30985 23280

pots tied 1082.50 { QdTd } 1082.50 { JJ, 99, 44, AJs, KJs, QTs+, J9s+, AJo, KJo, QJo, JTo }

56.827% 54.91% 43.173% 41.25%

#2: 9d 5d 4x a. Strong (49%)

Board: 9d 4c 5d Dead:

equity Hand 0: Hand 1:


tie 00.00% 00.00%

pots won 17481 18159

pots tied 0.00 { QdTd } 0.00 { JJ-99, A9s, K9s, Q9s, J9s, T9s, 98s, 76s, 54s }

49.049% 49.05% 50.951% 50.95%

#3: Qh Jh 8x a. Marginal (38%)

Board: Qh Jh 8c Dead:

equity Hand 0: Hand 1:


tie 02.37% 02.37%

pots won 11240 18938

pots tied 751.00 { QdTd } 751.00 { JJ-88, KQs, QJs, T9s, KQo, QJo }

37.850% 35.48% 62.150% 59.78%

#4: Ad 5d 4x a. Marginal (39%)

Board: 4c 5d Ad Dead:

equity Hand 0: Hand 1:


tie 00.37% 00.37%

pots won 14387 22953

pots tied 140.00 { QdTd } 140.00 { 55-44, ATs-A2s, 76s, 54s }

38.615% 38.24% 61.385% 61.01%

#5. 9h 8h 7x a. Marginal (30%)

Board: 9h 8h 7c Dead:

equity Hand 0: Hand 1: T9o }


tie 04.10% 04.10%

pots won 15736 39708

pots tied 2473.00 { QdTd } 2473.00 { TT-66, A9s, K9s, QTs-Q9s, J9s+, T9s, 98s, 87s, 76s, JTo,

30.152% 26.06% 69.848% 65.75%

#6: 3 2 2r a. Weak (26%)

Board: 2c 2d 3h Dead:

equity Hand 0: Hand 1:


tie 00.08% 00.08%

pots won 13351 39040

pots tied 39.50 { QdTd } 39.50 { JJ-22, 54s }

25.520% 25.45% 74.480% 74.40%

#7: J 8 2r a. Weak (27%)

Board: Jc 8d 2h Dead:

equity Hand 0: Hand 1:


tie 00.15% 00.15%

pots won 11551 31879

pots tied 65.00 { QdTd } 65.00 { JJ, 88, 22, AJs, KJs, QJs, JTs, AJo, KJo, QJo }

26.667% 26.52% 73.333% 73.18%

Tthe 2nd part to all this is "which are the best?" This means, and what my point is, the hand w/ highest equity isn't necessarily in the best situation. There are many reasons for this! Conventional wisdom, for example, is that straight draws are less obvious then flush draws. Nut draws are far more valuable than not nut draws, especially flush vs. flush where an over flush is very costly and you're drawing dead. Although discerning equity is our main goal, being able to figure out how hidden our draw is a close 2nd. What this brings me to is that there are 3 types of draws that we can have in a raised pot. Normally you'll be the raiser in these spots, either OOP or IP, but occasionally, like with a suited 1 gapper, you may be the cold caller with position. Initiative isn't too important in how to play the draws; forcing your opponent to make a decision is.

The Draw types, further expounded: 1 - Aggressive Gambles - These are draws where you really you want to be all in on the flop because your draw not well hidden, so its unlikely to be paid off. The easiest example of this is a simple flush draw, since when you call a bet on a 2tone board, the first thought many people have is flush draw. We can expand this definition to overcard pair draws, as well, for example if you chose to cold call AQo, when you miss the flop youll typically have a weak aggressive draw if you chose to play on. KJs on a Ts 7s 4x board is an example of a strong aggressive draw, and a more marginal aggressive draw would be 45s on a Qs Js 8d board. Pair + straight draws are often examples of aggressive gambles, as well, since 4 to a straight wont often get paid off, and your 2pair draw is quite dubious. 2 - Passive Gambles These are draws where you want to peel light, because since youre draw

IS well hidden, it is likely to be paid off. These are my favorite draws, as well, where you get a real easy chance to stack someone if you hit your card. There arent too many examples of a strong passive draw, but a marginal passive gamble would be T9s on a Qd Jd 4s board, and a weak passive gamble would be perhaps A4s on a Ks 4h 3h board. On a dry board, a real longshot passive draw would be with an underpair, for example 66 on a K J 3r if youre somewhat confident youre behind. 3 - Situation Dependant Gambles - Basically, these draws have a double complexion to them. Either you dont mind being all in on flop, or you dont mind peeling and not playing assertively, mainly because your draw is so big or has an odd showdown element to it. The catch with these draws is that unlike the first type, where if you're stuck on the turn you cant call a PSB, these type of draws you normally can play a turn as you still have a solid amount of equity. Its hard to have a weak situation dependant gamble, but a marginal situation dependant gamble would be KQs on a Kh 7s 6s board, and a strong draw would be KQs on a Js Ts 5h board.

Lets go back to our quiz, briefly, and answer part 2: Classify each draw as either aggressive, passive, or situation dependant. #1: Jd 9d 4x a. Situation Dependant. We can either play from the hip here and shoot it out on the flop or we can play it slowly. #2: 9d 5d 4x a. Aggressive. We would rather play this draw out on the flop. #3: Qh Jh 8x a. Situation Dependant. Once again we can shoot it out on the flop, we can sit back and take a

turn, we can get to showdown without improving, etc. #4: Ad 5d 4x a. Aggressive. We would rather play this draw out on the flop. #5. 9h 8h 7x a. Passive. Wed rather keep this pot small unless we improve. #6. 3 2 2r a. Aggressive. IF we chose to play our hand here, we want to put the pressure in on the flop. #7. J 8 2r a. Passive. This is a perfect example of a hand with somewhat low equity but is a great longshot that wed like to see the turn, at a minimum.

Now that we've broken down types of draws, what's next? Formatting a plan on how to play the flop! Once we've decided our relative equity and category of disguise, the main goal (once again, in a raised pot) is look at the lowest stack. (Just effective stack is what matters) So, if each stack has 100bbs, and it was potted preflop and then got called, there would be around 8bbs in the middle. Or, ~96bb stacks, which is ~12xpot size. What you do is see how many pot bets are left in a stack; even though opponents and you wont always be betting the pot, it's easiest to clarify how things shake up in a pot/repot situation. If you want to be all in on the flop, in our example, you need to decide how best to put them in a decision. If I was the raiser, and I lead for the pot, (8bb) and they raise the full pot, (32 total) I can then push. This provides both folding equity ("maximized") as your line is very strong, and yet giving yourself a great risk to reward situation. What about if they lead into you? Well, with an aggressive draw, raising the pot now leaves you stuck on the turn, (which is what you DO NOT want with that draw) so the natural

play then is to just call, due to stack sizes. So, here's a little chart, if you will...

*Quick note, I do not like overbetting the pot by more than ~twice the size of the pot with anything. The reason is generally because I either make my hand into either winning a small pot or getting all in with a slight edge or getting in a little behind, which isn't really my object: I want to win an uncontested pot which is sizeable OR I want to leave plenty of money for the turn to extract if I hit.

So, effective stack is... 0 to ~2x pot size: PUSH (OOP + IP). Say we raise A4d UTG to 7 in a 1$/2$ game, and button, a short stack with 40$, calls us. 17 in the pot, he has ~33, and we flop the NFD. Rather than continuation bet and leave ourselves in a not fun turn place, I typically would just get it all in. It's worth noting though that the NFD can also be a situational dependant draw, so making a small bet as to make people with smaller flushes call. (Of course, you want those lower flush draws in vs. your draw!!) NFD is actually a situation dependant gamble, because if you believe there is a lower flush draw, by all means bet small and/or check. Whereas other times it's correct to play fast and make top pair / mid pair stuff lay down. The flexible draws are the most fun as you have options. 2ish+x to 7ishx pot size: CHECK RAISE ALL IN (OOP) or SHOVE TO A BET (IP). Using that same example, with A4d, now villain has 58$. When he calls the raise preflop, his stack is 51, and the pot is ~17. So, he has ~3x the pot size. I normally like checkraising all in; we trap a bet from bluffs or whatnot, whereas if we c-bet we'd just have to call an all in and not make any when he didnt hit the flop at all. Keeping in mind I do not like overbetting more than ~2ish the

pot, (and checkraising less leaving us not all in is gross!) if he potted it there would be 15 in there, your call is 15 more. So 45$; an effective stack of 105$, or 105:15 (around 7x the pot) is where I draw the line. Notice, though, that it's pretty blurry at this point, and bet - 3bet all in esp. given lack of pot sized betting is probably the way to go. ~7x to ~18ishx pot size: BET 3 BET ALL IN (OOP + IP). So, now our opponent has a 127$ stack, so when he calls the pfr the pot has 15$ and he has ~120$ left. Here, if you pot it, the pot has 45 if he calls; so, he can raise and essentially fold to an all in! (Say, he commits 50 of his stack... then folds the last 70 getting 240:70 thereabout, or around 3:1 on a call) If he has a full stack, now if he raises the pot, to 60, he is not committed, and you can push, winning a very nice pot and giving yourself best risk reward. (When he has 100bbs to start, he has about 12x the pot) For the upper bound, if you pot and he ~pots it, your call would be 135 pot. So, 2x pot is ~270, or starting stack of ~337$. (Around 165bbs, or 22x the pot on the flop) I wouldn't actually bet/3bet with 22x the pot, as you cant expect them to repot, (people normally raise less) so I'd draw the line around 18x the pot. More then 18x pot? (This applies to limped pots mainly!) CHECKRAISE and play a turn makes sense, as you're not committed to just one action. However, if I was pfr I'd just lead, and probably call a raise, as pushing risks too much, and 3betting less then all in leaves you in a weird turn spot. 18x pot would have to be both you and opponent relatively deep, (for online game; maybe both have doubled starting stacks) or about normal for a deep stacked live game. 18x pot situations are more applicable to limped pots, which is what we get to next chapter.

What if were not able to execute the first action, or we were the preflop raiser and want to use our right of first initiative? Lets say the pot:stack ratio is 5:1, but we were the preflop raiser with

the nut flush draw. Typically Id just fire again normally and unfortunately not get max folding equity out of my draw. However, if I was in position, Id consider checking here. (The disguised draws) If were deeper now say a 12:1 pot:stack ratio, and we want to bet/raise all in But when I bet I am not raised, I can checkraise all in on the turn, check call, check fold, bet/fold, etc. If in position, and they check called me on the flop, I can take freebie if they check (most likely scenario*). If they lead into me on the flop when Im in position, in that case Id generally just call since again, raising allows them to execute the last action, which is what I want to do.

These lines for the most part maximize folding equity. The keys really are: 1. Decide how you want to play your hand (aggressively or passively) and from there, what line will lead you to do that 2. It's not wrong to play a draw slower (Even aggressive gambles) if you feel your folding equity is diminished, esp. if you can hit and make money. If this means folding the draw if you miss on the turn, sometimes thats life!

Worth mentioning now, but I probably (not always) would play a set or 2pair the opposite way I'd play the draw. Why? I want to allow them to push on me. (Give them some rope in order to believe they have folding equity)

Chapter 9 - Playing Draws in Limped Pots.

Lets move away from raised pots and deal with limped pots, which of course are generally multiway, and less common to the average online player. (Since most pots are raised preflop) Recall last chapter when we reflected the differences in adjustments from raised pots to limped pots.

Before explaining the differences in how to play various draws, I want to extend this chapter to include how to play some made hands in limped pots, too. In limped pots, Im looking for an excuse to bet anything, namely because people wont really raise these nothing pots with nothing. And since most of the time people happen to have ~nothing, we can then win when everyone has nothing. What a nice parlay! So, from this point onward, something as bad as bottom pair or a gutshot becomes a possible semibluff, and were going to mentally segregate top pair (and above) from all other hands which have a shot of winning the pot.

Anyway, the way to classify draws is a little different in a limped pot. Why? The easy answer is we are RARELY looking to be all in on the flop! When a pot has 4bbs in it, (lets say SB folded paying the rake) so in a 6handed game 4 of us see a flop, and we all have 100bbs, (25x pot) unless we're a favorite (like OESFD) I just dont want to play an all in pot. It's that easy; most draws are slight underdogs or slight favorites, but in a limped pot most of the things that will be all-in with you are big hands. Overplaying a draw in a limped pot is the pits. The general rule I like having is pair + draws in limped pots are worth much less. This is going back to beginning of the previous chapter; where I say try not to overvalue various outs in limped pots. Well, 54h on a Kh 9h 4d board is normally very nice and strong, but in a limped pot it's just

not that strong given your 4 or 5 are easily killed. (As in, K4 or 94 have you in truly bad shape) So, this chapter will focus on: -Reclassifying how to approach the flop with new categories -How to approach the turn, assuming we get there, with our draws

The Limped Draw Types 1. Hidden draw. We will want to peel light because stacks are deep. This is a carry-over from the passive gambles in raised pots. We would consider any nut gutshot, double belly buster draw, backdoor draws (such as a backdoor nut flush draw) and possibly set outs as hidden. 2. Multiway action draws. This is where you get lots of dead money. Its such a money maker in a limped pot. Unfortunately the situations are rare for example, a one card straight draw where you have 2, like QTo on 9 8 7. If a jack hits, you stack a ten. Or the NFD vs. a blind's small suited hand, where if you both hit you will win a nice sum on the river. Those draws in a limped pot are so good, your plan is to make it so cheap any 10 or small flush is guaranteed to stay in the example boards above. In both cases, you never want to make it so expensive that other draws fold. If someone bets, then, your typical plan is to call; hoping people overcall since they're getting "such good pot odds! In essence, you're going to build the pot, but not make anything fold. Since it's a limped pot, you dont care too much about winning the pot immediately, as it's not as attractive as the potential earn on turn or river. 3. Heads-up draw. These are draws where you do want heads up action: That WOULD be a pair+ draw, a flush draw w/overcard that's not the nuts, etc. You never want to be behind a bigger made hand AND a bigger draw in these situations. If that happens... it's gross, because you have very low equity, and went hog-wild in a nothing pot.

The play is still the same, though, from a raised pot. Our first task is to discern stack sizes:pot sizes, except your goal is to look how to play the turn rather than the flop. In late position, Id probably bet all three types of draws (only checking complete misses or if I opted to slowplay my hand) if checked to me, so I'm going to semibluff the flop in those cases (with #2 types it will be a very weak bet). Your goal however is more so oriented to how you want to handle the turn, as in, if I miss or hit my hand. (Do I continue?)

For all examples below, well classify our hand and then explain what to do in position, out of position, and when were faced with a bet. In the examples, were playing a ~4bb pot with ~100bb stack, so our ratio is 25:1 (somewhat typical for a limped pot) and the flop is seen 4handed. In position is the latter 2 seats and out of position is more or less the former 2 seats. Although middle pair and the such is often the best hand on the flop, (so a flop bet will merely be protecting the best hand, rather then semibluffing) we lump it in with other draws.

Hidden Draw: Out of position, were going to check any hidden draw. If we end the action facing a reasonable bet, well probably peel once. However, if we dont end the action (as in, checked to the button, and they bet, and were in the BB) then we just muck it. In position say we overlimped KJs and the flop is T 9 4r, were going to fire a normal sized bet there. (On this flop, a simple 2bb does the trick) if we get checkraised, unless were getting direct odds to continue (as in, against a minraise) were going to throw away our hand. The exception to that is where you strongly believe you can break opponent if you hit, so in position youll be able to stack them in a limped pot if you hit. If you recall from the 2nd chapter, though, most people tend

to overestimate their implied odds, so try not falling into this trap. If a blind leads out, we could consider peeling, even with others to act behind. (Really, were hoping other marginal draws overcall, thus applying the concept of schooling, making your initial call not so bad directly). For the turn, generally if we played the hand in a passive fashion, (the caller in or out of position) if we dont improve were mucking to further action, unless directly priced in. (As in faced a minbet) If we are allowed to take a freecard, generally we will. If we hit the nuts, were either going to checkraise out of position, or obviously bet or raise in position we will never slowplay if we hit a hidden draw.

Multiway Action Draw: A multiway action draw is any draw in which wed prefer to leave people in the pot rather than making them fold. Generally, this is the run of the mill open ended straight draw, flush draw, or possible nut scenario. So, out of position, were likely going to lead out for a small bet with the hopes of enticing loose calls (build a pot basically, our intention is to not win it on the flop) or check so that a loose position player can bet (and we can call, allowing the field to call behind us). Typically opt to lead out and set your own price, though. In position, we can somewhat divide the nut scenarios which are weak draws (like T9o on a 8 6 5r board) and then non nut scenarios (such as 8 6 5r with A7s) and bet the non nut normally (now were gunning for folds) and check the nut draws. (Since ideally were able to put 25x the pot in when opponent has only ~8% equity to split, which we have a solid chance of doing if the right card lands on the turn). If we get checkraised, and we face a HU pot, well typically have to consider our effective odds, how useful position will be, and if we should turn our hand into an aggressive gamble situation. (Where were going to 3bet the flop) Typically though, as with most limped pot scenarios, were going to show initial strength and really back down to any kind of counter

aggression, unless we have a very hidden draw, very strong draw, or fairly strong made hand. For the turn, if the pot is still multiway and we miss, both in position and out of position were aiming at keeping it multiway; this is where we can make disproportionately small bets to price everyone in. Or simply check. If we hit our draw, this is where were going to turn up the heat, and clearly not slowplay. Also, it is some note that with a hidden draw we may be correct in calling with direct odds, but often not so much with a multiway action draw which has suddenly gotten heads up.

Heads-Up Draw: These are the draws that are simple pairs, pair + straight draws, or pair + flush draws. Our goal is to either win the pot, of course, or face either a made hand which we have our draw to fall back on or a draw which we have a hand that can win in showdown without improving. If we end up multiway, were typically facing a reverse implied odds scenario, where our draw may break us rather than opponent. (In a limped pot, this applies mainly to non nut draws, which pair+ draws will never be, aside from something such as top pair + the nut flush draw, which is a multiway action draw for obvious reasons). Out of position, we do not want to lead at the pot. If we lead, you may find loose calls which then school the rest of the limpers, building a pot for the exact opposite purposes that we want. So, were going to check, and for the most part checkraise or fold if we face a bet. The exception is if the person acting immediately after you bets, and everyone folds to you, you can consider just calling. The reason were checkraising a bet is we would rather face the original bettor, and do not want to give a good price to anyone acting after us. If we feel checkraising is too strong for our weak to marginal draw (for example, bottom pair with no extra outs) Id rather just fold. In position, if someone bets, and there are players to act after us, were either raising or folding, obviously for the same

reasons as above. If its checked to us, were going to make a bet, and generally make a bet that seems slightly larger then wed typically make in a raised pot scenario. For example, in the 4bb pot, were never going to bet 2bb; typically well fire out the full pot, 4bb. If we get checkraised, we can muck if we feel opponents checkraise in a limped pot is a lot of strength, but typically Ill peel there. On the turn, if you raised and got cold called or whatnot, (basically take the turn in a bloated pot multiway) were going to try to put as little money in as possible, unless you have a strong read that you should bet. (For protection purposes) If we are heads up, and we dont improve, Ill go with my read as to whether I think I have the best hand or not If I do, I bet for value (or protection, depending on the board) otherwise Ill typically check call or check behind, as to get to showdown or give myself a chance to draw out.

Hand below illustrates a hand played between two fairly solid players; one misplayed his hand in the limped pot, the other did not:
Full Tilt Poker Game #2109687211: Table Harris (6 max) - $2/$4 - No Limit Hold'em - 16:19:35 ET - 2007/03/31 Seat 1: If You Build lt ($400) Seat 2: profEERNIE ($557.50), is sitting out Seat 3: Toine_baby ($678.70) Seat 4: TonyChoi ($249.80) Seat 5: DirtyAppleSlim ($790.90) Seat 6: x_volta ($766.70) x_volta posts the small blind of $2 If You Build lt is sitting out If You Build lt has 5 seconds left to act Toine_baby posts the big blind of $4 The button is in seat #5 *** HOLE CARDS *** Dealt to Toine_baby [Jh 9d]

TonyChoi calls $4 DirtyAppleSlim raises to $8 x_volta calls $6 Toine_baby calls $4 TonyChoi calls $4 *** FLOP *** [8h 7d 6h] x_volta bets $32 Toine_baby calls $32 TonyChoi folds DirtyAppleSlim calls $32 *** TURN *** [8h 7d 6h] [Tc] x_volta checks Toine_baby bets $96 DirtyAppleSlim calls $96 x_volta raises to $726.70, and is all in Toine_baby calls $542.70, and is all in DirtyAppleSlim folds x_volta shows [9s 8s] Toine_baby shows [Jh 9d] Uncalled bet of $88 returned to x_volta *** RIVER *** [8h 7d 6h Tc] [Jd] x_volta shows a straight, Jack high Toine_baby shows a straight, Jack high x_volta ties for the pot ($749.70) with a straight, Jack high Toine_baby ties for the pot ($749.70) with a straight, Jack high *** SUMMARY *** Total pot $1,501.40 | Rake $2

We have a flop 5 way out of 5 for the minraise (so ~40 in there). Toine baby's stack, the effective stack, is 670, or ~17x the pot size. Xorbie covers. Interestingly, if this was a raised pot,

it would JUST be the outer fringe (and ~correct) to bet 3bet all in, if Hero had an aggressive draw or situational dependent that they felt was best played fast. Although, this is a type 2 flop, so I probably would not be potting, (2/3 pot likely) and I'd expect villain to not pot raise/fold to all in. But that would "probably" be the line. In a raised pot I'd classify Hero's hand (2 weak overs, OESD+1 of the oesd to the lock nuts) as a marginal passive gamble. Xorbies hand (top pair + weak 1 card oesd) is a CLEAR aggressive gamble. In a raised pot he's trying to jam on the flop because neither his draw is hidden (the straight) nor is 2pair going to be paid off (in fact, often reverse equity there). Furthermore, he benefits from (if they ever do, which they may!) making Q9+ fold. (Some ppl will raise/fold those) Especially OOP, (and this could get checked around since 5way it may not get bet by pfr!) I'd lead here in his shoes.

HOWEVER, this is a limped pot dichotomy! We need to step back, because the pot IS small relative to effective stacks. Now we get to reclassify the draws... Toine_baby, with J9, has a multiway action draw; true, his overs could be good, but in this type of pot we never believe they are. Also, a ten will break any 9 (as happened) so we need to make sure it's cheap/good "pot odds" for them. His play will be, and its clear, check call, and if someone bets in front of him (like Xorbie did) clear call and hope for overcalls. There is no other way to play it. Xorbie however has a heads up draw. He really never wants multiple callers, and a raise is pretty ~meh. Leading out is OK in his spot, (if it was raised pot a little more, then B3B is fine when he can expect "better" hands in there more often) however, if he thinks his lead will be called in more than 1 spot (as was the case) I dont like his play, because.. Then you dont think you have the best hand or draw, which is truly a nightmare scenario.

So, if he thinks someone from LP will bet, I'd probably c/r half pot to thin everyone up vs them. If i get 3bet there I'll evaluate my odds and probably fold. If called (depends on stacks) its probably a bet/call, and rarely, a check fold. (But we could worry about that on dif turn cards) As played, I like toine_baby's play. Obviously its hard to play the turned nuts wrong, I like his turn bet size too. Id bet enough so that a set (which prolly isnt in there, unless xorbie didnt repop 88 or whatnot/he could have bottom set i guess) will call, but incorrectly. (he did) i have no idea what the overcaller on the flop + called toine's turn bet had, but that is just dead money which is WONDERFUL. How is xorbie's push? hard to play any other way, and running into the nuts sucks. I probably wouldnt give up the lead though - he semibluffed the flop (sometimes with the best made hand too) and hit his card, a freebie to 2pair or whatnot (which def wont bet) would suck.

Chapter 10 Pot Control, Turn Play.

The topic of pot control mainly deals with a vulnerable hand that "rates" to be good if the pot is small, but as soon as the pot increases (relative to stacks) your hand no longer figures to be the best hand at showdown. Generally, this concept applies to the turn, where if you were the initiator in a hand (The preflop raiser or the person who took the lead on the flop in a limped pot by betting or raising) and it's checked to you (or you are out of position and can decide whether to bet again or not) the pot is manageable at the moment. For example, in a pot played between 2 players with 100bb effective stacks, it may be 3.5xbb each preflop, so ~8 on flop, and with a ~pot bet, a pot with roughly less than 24bb on the turn. Relative to stacks, this is a comfortable size; however, the decision to play a big pot can be made by simply betting the turn. If you bet, say 20, and get called, the pot will be 64 with about a pot bet behind (~68 or so). What does this mean? A bet dictates that you may be playing for your stack on the river!

Taking the street off leads to a small pot, where you wont have to make a stack size decision, unless something crazy happens on the river. (Such as you get checkraised all in, or they lead and you push on them) The normal way of thinking is you want to play big pots with big hands (so bet the turn) and small pots with hands that can't take as much heat (so check the turn). You have to go a little bit beyond, however! The deeper thinking is that everything in poker is relative!

Its worth noting here, before getting into turn specifics, that we somewhat examined this idea when we went over how to balance the flop. We checked marginal hands which wanted to

play a medium sized pot in order to get one step closer to showing down. The gist behind pot control is to minimize losses vs. big hands and maximize vs. bluffs and worse made hands.

A good time for pot control, (I'll start with this example, then go into a quiz, followed by guidelines), is more along the lines of You have KJo and raised it pf and got a caller. The flop comes K 5 4r and they check-call your pot cbet. He now checks the turn I'd lean towards checking it back. There are not many draws present on the flop (really just 67 as a prominent draw, something like 87 or 86 is a pretty weak draw but possible) - so the hands either break down into a dominated king, a weird mid pair (like A5 or A4) or 45/set... You want to minimize losses vs. a set or 2 pair, and maximize vs. king/underpair/midpair hand. The second group of hands, if you check, is less likely to believe YOU have a king, setting you up for either a value bet on the river or snapping your opponent making a river value bet of their own. A free card really doesn't hurt much.

The concept of Protection or Free Equity will play into your decision to bet or check. The cost of protection (we deem, with KQo) can easily be made up by bigger value betting or snapping off bluffs later on the river, so surrendering a free equity share by checking the turn is worth the risk. In fact, the worse the kicker of my king became, the more Id opt towards not building a pot, because we start sliding our hand down a bit in relative value.

If I had reason to believe my opponents are chasing with mid pair or bottom pair and exhibited more passive tendencies, so that we could drain out more value with a turn bet, Ill bet1/2 pot again and likely pot control an underpair, like 66-QQ. If I believe they are somewhat

nitty, and a flop check call is scary, I may even pot control a hand as powerful as KQ/AK/AA in these spots.

"Only better hands call and worse hands fold to a bet here". What does this mean, and is this a bad thing? Clarification, because this is the underlying identity of when you want to play a big pot and when you want to play a small pot... Quite often youre in a somewhat perplexing position in which case you have a decent marginal hand, but if you bet you have turned your hand into a bad bluff. Many people to a random opponent would claim that betting KJo in the example above fits the bill. Try to lend some validity to this statement or refute it.

Example, limped pot: If I have K8o from the BB, and see a flop 4way, the flop comes 8 6 2r. We flopped TP2K on a type 1 board. We have a hand which would prefer to play heads up, and our options are going to be to checkraise if there is a late position limper who leads at a lot of flops when checked to, or simply lead out. Here we opt to lead for 2bb and get a call from a limper. This doesnt mean a lot in isolation, so we weight their range to any pair, possibly a slowplay, and possibly a gutshot or open-ended straight draw. Turn comes a J, and the pot has 8bb in there and roughly 95bb behind. If I bet again and my opponent is average; sometimes this is a case where people would say nothing better folds (and theyd generally be right, as A8+ are not dumping their hand) and its fairly difficult to extract more value from various top pair hands on the flop, as in 78s etc. Thus, weve turned our hand into a bet with no apparent value or bluff potential. So, does that mean the initial bet is a bad thing, because this is a situation where better hands call (or raise) and worse hands fold?

How I feel about that blanket statement: This saying is sometimes OK. However, there's more to it than examining any of these situations in a vacuum... Like in limit, oftentimes a bet is proper even when you cannot protect your hand, just because the alternative (a check for a free draw) is worse.

Limit vs. No-Limit philosophy, showdown or no showdown? In no-limit, the reason for a bet is slightly different! Oftentimes the bet is correct even when worse hands will fold and you trap yourself with better hands because, yes, checking and allowing a free redraw typically will not make up the % you lose the pot there to when you can collect more on the river. As in, we bet to protect our equity in the pot, so giving up that equity (literally surrendering a % of the pot) should be ignored, and rather chance that they do not have that "better" hand. That is basically the limit thoughts in a nutshell. However, n NL, it's much more expensive to call down. Therefore, putting the bet out there also gathers information, allowing you to play more optimally in a larger pot. (Where calling down would be an error) In limit, calling down the turn and river is often a ~2 BB mistake. In NL, if he pots the turn after you check, villain is really threatening that pot bet plus another future bet! Or, he's really threatening 32bb, not just 8bb. (For a 8 bb pot) Of course, some people bet less, some bet more, but it's important to understand the ability to showdown marginal hands is less possible, therefore remaining on the aggressive side (where we can still gather information that would lead to being able to ditch the hand before the river) is the superior option.

Coming back to our A8 hand, we can opt to pot control and check. Or, and the route Id typically take, Id bet 2/3 pot (roughly 6bb here) which is my standard bet on that texture, and

likely fold to a raise. If called, Id check call some rivers, possibly value bet some, and check fold others. Most of the time when you make a bet, it's a form of protection. You rarely have such a lock you want all the action in the world and hopefully we make enough real hands that were not constantly bluffing. Constantly think on the turn, as it applies to pot control, am I more concerned with showing down or should I protect my equity? THAT will decide whether you play a big or small pot (along with inherent hand strength!).

If I have AQs on a Qh Jh 5d 4d and the pot has 100bb.... If someone even has XXd they have ~20% equity, so if I check allowing them a free river, I "lose" that share of the pot. If I move in, theyd either fold (So my cards, interestingly, dont matter in that scenario!) or call getting incorrect odds. Really then, if I am going to lose an amount = to that vs. a better hand (or not recoup the 20bb "lost" by giving a free card!) moving in is the superior play to checking. Oftentimes stacks and board texture will dictate that we must stack off with a non-nut hand in order to protect it. This may seem bad, as in letting villains make the correct decision (calling with KK+, all hands that you are drawing very slim against) and folding draws / weaker one pair etc, but winning whatever is in there is more important than protecting your losses against a better hand.

With that in mind, here's a quiz. It will lead to guidelines which will direct a potential turn play. In all hands, the game is 1$/2$ no-limit, with effective stack 202$. The game is 7-handed.

1. You raise 2 limpers to 10 with AQo from the cutoff. One calls. ~25 in the middle on the flop. Qh Jh 2s. He checks, you bet the pot (25) and he calls. Turn is a blank, the 4c and the pot is 75.

He checks. Your read is he plays a few too many hands but is middle of the line passive and aggressive. Should we bet, and if so, how much is optimal? Remember, we have 167$ left before taking any action.

2a. You raise 1 early position limper with AJs in the cutoff to 10, and the blinds call along with the limper. So, there is 40$ in on the flop, which comes Jd 5d 3s. They check to you, and on this type 3 wed normally bet the pot, but since it is 4way decide to bet an even 33. The BB calls, everyone else folds. 106$ in the pot for the turn, and the effective stack is 159$. The turn is an offsuit T, and he checks. What is your move? 2b. Turn comes the Jc. What is your move?

3. You have Q4s, you attack the blind from CO with an open of 8$ and the button and BB calls. 25$ in pot. Flop comes T 3 2r with 1 spade, and the BB checks to you. You bet 14, which is somewhat debatable because we have complete fluff in a 3handed pot, but Id still bet here. The button folds, and the BB calls. Lucky for us, a Q filling the rainbow comes along, so there is 53$ in pot, he checks, we have 180$ behind, so what is your move?

4a. You have black AA in early position, and you open to 7, the button who plays a lot of pots and has a monster stack calls, and the blinds fold. 17$ in the pot, and the flop is Kh 7h 4s. You bet 13 and he calls, so there is 43$ in the pot with 182$ behind. The turn is the Th, what is your move? 4b. Now, we have position, and villain checks to us on the turn. (Well say he called from the blinds) What is your move?

Quiz Answers: 1. I would bet roughly 45$. (Slightly less than 2/3 the pot) Why is this good? If you check and a blank falls, you're somewhat stuck about value betting. If a free card rolls off that hits a draw and he bets, you probably will "pay off because you induced it". I would assume 9 to as many as ~14 outs are against me if I have the best hand. Lots of bad cards can come off. (Too many to check and keep pot small)

If villain is tricky and would c/r with AK or JTh etc. it changes the situation, but given his player description, it's too weird for a draw OOP to come alive on a blank turn. So I'd bet a lot, which may seem like Im pot committing myself to the pot, but would fold to an all in. If he calls and the river blanks and he bets the rest, I'd call. If a draw hits and he moves in Id fold. If a blank rolls off, and he checks, its dependent upon whether villain would take a king or worse this far, but Id normally shove for value.

2a . I do not like these situations much although I dont altogether mind them. Push is the "correct" answer, here, or a pot committing bet. (Whichever is more likely to allow them to make a mistake) The reasoning is that a flat call on the flop w/ such a big pot is more likely to be a draw then a made hand. -If he does have made hand (same J as you) the best way is to get the money in on the turn, because if he calls some bet now he is pot committed to call the rest of it; nothing wrong with putting it in now before letting anything fall on the river which could get him off the hook. -If he has a low or mid set (very possible, given call out of positino) you unfortunately pay it off!

-The problem (or luxury) is given so much money went in preflop, and the flop was good for your hand, you must protect it!

2b. Its still a push! This is a slight trick question, as a lot of people are tempted to slow down once they improve, but in terms of relative hand strength values, your hand is the same. Except you're less likely to be up against a jack but you have some equity against a set. (Whereas you're dead in 2a)

3. I like checking here. The board is dry, and a check behind is a sign of weakness. This could cause him to bluff or value bet river with a weaker hand and keeps the pot small in case I am way behind - classic reasons to control the pot. As well, the cold call on flop is a smaller range of hands then the previous boards, and no reason a stronger hand would play faster... A bet on the turn escalates the pot size and allows a ten / odd pair off easily, so you win a little more by checking behind and save a full turn bet for when you get c/red.

4a. This situation flat out is horrible. But it's good to know how to deal with it! Basically, how do we deal with scare cards when were out of position? I wouldn't be so concerned about showing this hand down. Many people say, "Well, he could have flush, but he could have tons of other hands... Lets showdown, see who wins. Check!" Thats the wrong approach here. I dont want to think, "He can outplay me if I bet here, lets limit his ability to force a mistake on me!" Unfortunately, we will not be able to allow him to make a mistake. (Him putting money into the pot when shouldnt or not putting money into the pot when he should)

If someone is tough enough to get you to lay down by utilizing this bluff card, kudos to them for making a very good, but risky, play. Fact is, when a tricky player has position on us, life will not be easy. But in this example, I'd bet roughly 30$. Simply, he's loose to have a lone heart, and although the turn is bad, it doesn't mean your hand is dead; checking here allows a free draw v. hands that would fold to turn bet but otherwise win pot.

4b. The same answer, except we now know villain checked to us. We still want to bet 30$, but we provide some protection, because if we get check/called on the turn, and they check to us on the river, we can take the free showdown.

Guidelines for Pot Control:

When dealing with a scare card Vs. a non tricky opponent, Id bet. Id pick a bet size I'd feel comfortable calling on river and apply it to the turn - That is key. If I'd pick off a 35$ bet, (when I could be dead on river) Id rather put it in on the turn. This allows me the free showdown normally anyway (unless for example a heart peels off and he leads into you, well, you fold there, but you made money off what is likely a bad call by him) It's basically putting the same money into the hand one street earlier; charging worse hands and extracting value. Vs. a very ABC player, (out of position) oftentimes we can check-fold, because theyll bet when were dead and check when were not, giving us the key behind what hes holding. If you bet and are called OOP, normally I check and fold to a bet on the river. It would take a very advanced bluff play to call the flop, then just call the turn when the scare card hits, then push on the river when I check. Our one pair hand is not winning when the action goes like that

all too often. Of course, player dependant though. Most of the time, it's a scared / misplayed made hand that will give you what you want (free showdown) and sometimes it's a floater hand that picked up a draw then didnt have the heart to push on the river.

When dealing with a blank With a fairly draw heavy board, and when pot size = stacks, or close (think ratio that is 2:1 or so) I say gun it in. (As the quiz questions above exemplified) With a draw less board and pot stacks that are close, the decision is far more player dependant, but I probably check and then call the river.

SOMETHING TO THING ABOUT: on less draw heavy boards, the more money that goes in with one pair, the worse your hand rates to be! Also, that is why on draw heavy boards playing your sets/flopped straights/big hands faster generates so much more action, because your hand range is so wide you're liable to be paid off from a wide range of hands.

Chapter 11 2nd Barrels on the Turn.

Pot Control is generally when we have a hand which has some showdown characteristic, and either in position or out of position, seek to control the pot so were not playing for our stacks with these marginal made hands. Its worth noting we didnt talk much about pot control out of position, largely because the benefit of position allows us to dictate the pot size on the turn; well deal with playing marginal hands out of position in the next chapter. (And often were not going to be controlling the pot then!)

A 2nd Barrel, on the flipside, is when we have either a draw, air, or a very weak made you turn into a bluff with the intention of making opponent fold a better hand, so that you dont need to win in showdown. It would make sense, then, that the idea of pot control is going to be opposite to that of a 2nd Barrel the former we want a small or medium pot to get to showdown, the latter we want a small or medium pot to be won on the turn, or set us up for one last river bluff. (Or we hit a lucky river card to make the best hand!) Thus, any bet for value on the turn is not a true 2nd Barrel. Rather, thats just a straightforward value or protection bet, depending on the board, texture, and opponent.

2nd Barrels most often occur when were the preflop raiser, and our initial flop bet gets check called. (Or simply flat called in position) Since at this point in the hand, on the turn, most pots will be ~12bb to ~27bb, these are somewhat midsized which we would enjoy winning. (Simply giving up on them is giving our opponents too much credit, if we routinely check-fold a miss on the turn!)

For a 2nd barrel to be successful, the bet has to be believable. (I'll lay out some ground rules" after the quiz) If you're just gunning out money ignoring the board, turn, and river, people tend call down. Sometimes vs. weak tight types, you can get people to lie down, because they're not thinking about what you have, but rather they're thinking, He bet so much, he must have me beaten! With that said

Were going to revisit the quiz from the previous chapter. Each time, now, well have a different hand, and were going to (try!) to figure out if were correct in applying more pressure, or simply giving up on the pot. Remember that the game is 1$/2$ no-limit, with effective stack 202$. The game is being played 7-handed.

1. You raise 2 limpers to 10 with 87h from the cutoff. One calls. ~25 in the middle on the flop. Qh Jh 2s. He checks, you bet the pot (25) and he calls. Turn is a blank, the 4c and the pot is 75. He checks. Your read is he plays a few too many hands but is middle of the line passive and aggressive. Should we bet, and if so, how much is optimal? Remember, we have 167$ left before taking any action.

2a. You raise 1 early position limper with AKo in the cutoff to 10, and the blinds call along with the limper. So, there is 40$ in on the flop, which comes Jd 5d 3s. They check to you, and on this type 3 wed normally bet the pot, but since it is 4way decide to bet an even 33. The BB calls, everyone else folds. 106$ in the pot for the turn, and the effective stack is 159$. The turn is an offsuit T, and he checks. What is your move?

2b. Turn comes the Jc. What is your move?

3. You have KJo, you attack the blind from CO with an open of 8$ and the button and BB calls. 25$ in pot. Flop comes T 3 2r with 1 spade, and the BB checks to you. You bet 14, which is somewhat debatable because we have complete fluff in a 3handed pot, but Id still bet here. The button folds, and the BB calls. Lucky for us, a Q filling the rainbow comes along, so there is 53$ in pot, he checks, we have 180$ behind, so what is your move?

4a. You have AhTs in early position, and you open to 7, the button who plays a lot of pots and has a monster stack calls, and the blinds fold. 17$ in the pot, and the flop is Kh 7h 4s. You bet 13 and he calls, so there is 43$ in the pot with 182$ behind. The turn is the 9h, what is your move? 4b. Now, we have position, and villain checks to us on the turn. (Well say he called from the blinds) What is your move?

Quiz Answers:

1. This is a situation were going to face somewhat frequently - a non nut draw (generally an aggressive gamble) where we consider our draw to be marginal. The typical guideline were going to follow is if we dont want to face a checkraise, we should check, as concerned about taking the freecard. So, with 87h, our draw is somewhat marginal on the flop and a pure aggressive gamble if we bet 60, a solid bet size, and get checkraised all in, we would be faced with a call of 107 to win ~410, needing about 26%. (A typical 9 out draw here has 18% equity) So we dont want to price ourselves out when we have a decent equity share. So, well bet the

turn with such a draw if its a decent turn card to do so. Meaning, opponents reaction is going to be check-call if they have a strong hand vs. a check-raise, which blows us off the potential winning river hand. The 4 is a dud, and so Id tend to check. The stronger and/or more hidden our draw, the more we should be concerned about checking, whereas the weaker and/or more obvious our draw is, the more we should be considering betting. Something though like 45o, which turns a pair, is now a weak aggressive gamble, and we can clearly bet/fold the turn. Our 2nd barrel is aimed at getting a draw off which is correct in calling, an underpair which beats our 3rd pair, or middle pair.

2a. The ten is a good card on this board for a few reasons. First, its a broadway which instantly puts pressure on small pairs since were able to rep a strong hand. Second, it gives us a nut draw to go along with our weak overcards. In this case, we cant easily bet/fold, since the pot is so close to stacks, that even with our weak draw wed be getting correct odds to chase. Id tend to gamble here and push.

2b. With the jack turning, its hard to represent trips or better since there are now only 2 jacks in the deck! Furthermore, if villain plays on, there is a moderate chance were dead in the water. (In a pot which is significant!) Since its harder to rep a made hand AK is considered pure air - Id check behind and fold this pot. With a hand like 88, KK, etc. (worse than AA but stronger then our pure air) Id pot control the turn, and not fold on the river, unless a diamond or ace fell.

3. Now we have a somewhat marginal draw on the turn. (Possibly 14 outs, but at least 8 nut outs) For this example, I feel differently about KJ and AJ on this board. KJ I'd feel much more

inclined to check whereas AJ I would not. The distinction is that an over card falling really puts pressure on even flopped top pair, (And you're still representing a hand which you could have, as in AQ, KQ, etc.) and although you have outs in each hand, one is a pretty nice draw you do mind folding, whereas the other you dont mind folding to a c/r.

I would hate betting the turn then calling a bet if I paired with KJ. (Although I would) Also getting c/r ruins the chance of backdooring the nuts to stack a set. Which, when this draw is picked up, is a very real possibility. With a strong redraw I check, pretty much regardless of opponents. The redraw has to be at least 8+ outs though, if it's less then that I'd probably go ahead and bet, it just doesn't hit enough to make it otherwise worthwhile. The reason is the ~10% equity of a gutshot vs. a big hand doesnt warrant the pure times I pick up the pot with a straight out bet, whereas with say 33% equity, Ill pick up a river bet (and my equity share+) with that freebie, which tends to be greater than the pot value.

4a. This is interesting, because we have the key card, which gives us a nut draw, and villain could be potentially dead with a 1pair hand. (If we actually had the flush) If we recall the draws lesson, a draw like this is a clear aggressive gamble, since 4hearts on board is unlikely to be paid off unless villain has caught you bluffing recently, has the Qh, or has a frustrated counterfeit flush that makes a crying call. With a stack:pot ratio of roughly 4.3:1, and an aggressive draw, a real decent plan is to c/push. You garner folding equity from a float, possibly a pair that is bet-folding (he cant have something like AhK, best pair+draw would be KxQh) and also get a freecard a lot vs. a set or 2pair that would rather not be checkraised all in. The problem with betting here is if we get pushed on, (say we bet 2/3 pot, which is a solid size here)

we are not getting correct odds to call, even if we believe our ace is live (it very rarely will be) and we could have potentially used that money to see a river card. Again, if we dont have the redraw, bet-folding is fine. (As is check-folding) Generally though well check and evaluate, making a read based on bet size and opponent range, with checkraising all in being my default.

4b. Here, when checked, the best play is going to be to check behind to see a river. Were likely giving up on the pot by means of a bluff, but we have enough outs to fall back (nut outs, too).

It should be noted a 2nd barrel is a bluff: Occasionally the semibluff had a decent amount of equity, where you COULD hit the nuts, but you really want villain to fold. It's also why you shouldn't turn your bluff into a protection bet. For example, on a draw board, where they "could" have lower cards drawing for a flush or ace high, a lot of needless guesswork is created. What that leads to, then is: 2nd barrels are better when you cannot get called by a draw. When you believe someone is on a draw, if they peel the turn, often you need to fire the last barrel to shake them off a weak but marginally better hand. Wed rather try to move a weak made hand away, given that opponent will know they dont have much room for improvement so they need to make a turn decision, as to whether they stick with the hand or not.

Odd spot to overbet: If a board is a type 4 or type 5, and blanks off on the turn, (or is a type 2 that gets a real awful card, making it a type 4 board) I often decide, if I am going to bet, that I overbet. For example, with T9o Ill raise in the CO to 4x bb, and get called by the BB. The flop comes Kx Js 4s, he check calls my pot bet. On the turn, a blank falls, such as a 5x. Normally we would not continue the 2nd barrel here since the 5 is so innocuous, and with roughly

24bb in there and 88bb behind, I suddenly may bet an odd 33 or so. The reason for this is on the turn Ive forced villain to play his made hand or draw for all his chips; with this odd bet size they need to make the decision then. Clearly if youre pushed on, even getting 4:1 on the gutshot, you fold.

Chapter 12 Made Hands OOP, the Turn

Vocab, stack-a-donk line: The first term that should be brought up when dealing with hands oop on the turn is whats known as stack a donk. The basic hand example is: 2/4, 100bb stacks. You raise AA from the CO to 16, btn calls. Flop is Qs 7 5s w/ 2 spades (38) you lead 31, villain calls. Turn is a T (100) you check, villain bets 75. Ok. If you call, 250 is in the pot with ~275 behind. So, a little more then pot bet. What do we know about this board? When button calls the most likely hand (bc no one folds these to raises) is a pocketpair. Limited a range to that is pretty ridiculous, though; you have to throw in some broadways (offsuit and suited) suited aces, big aces, suited connectors, suited 1 gappers, and if very loose, some random trash. (like offsuit connectors, suited kings, etc) When called on the flop, which is fairly draw heavy, we can narrow his range to: A better hand then ours (75, 77, 55) A marginally strong hand (weird slowplayed KK, AQ, KQ, QJ, QT)

A marginal made float (and pocketpair which isnt a set, a 78 or 56 type hand) A complete float (something like JT, AJ) A strong draw (AXs, 86s, 46s, 7xs) A marginal draw (XXs like JTs, 86, 64) A weak draw float (89)

On this flop its assumed bigger hands raise the flop, but by no means necessary. The 10 hits QT, and a weird TT (that didnt repop pf and smooth called the flop) and thigns like TXspades. 89 now has an OESD. Any case, because a lot of these hands are now betting the turn (the whole float aspect) and our hand is too good to fold we push.

Pushing vs. check calling: If the situation is reversed (you have position, were check called on the flop and now villain leads out) you can opt to just call (although Id still push in that situation). Here though its very, very difficult to extract value from a worse made hand by just check calling unless they value bet light. Generally then AA = bluffcatcher, much in the way if your hand was Q no kicker. If theyre betting a draw, the only times check calling twice is better is when they bluff a fair amount however, going back to where we can play better than our opponent, in this big pot (250$) villain has ~30% equity. Also, we dont know what hits them. Also, if theyre ahead, the rest will go in anyway its too weak to check call one street and then check fold a blank turn (if they keep bluffing) so you move in now to both protect your equity (roughly 175$ there, which is significant!) and allow for opponent to make a weaker call.

How is that possible? Many opponents will read the turn c/push here as a nuts or draw type play, or, your hand range boiled down to say the nutflushdraw or a set. This allows them to call lighter, thinking they a. have a good price b. can beat some of those combos. This is one area were seeking to mesh our hand range

Where is stack a donk applicable? Mainly, those who either float lightly or stack off lighter are better candidates to stack a donk. But for 100bb, its pretty routine either case. If we were deeper, id probably bet again, and if raised there (threatening our stack, leverage) Id actually consider folding. (or, calling and check calling some rivers). Pretty much though, whenever you have TPTK or better (depending on opponents float frequency) stack a donk should be highly considered.

If the turn goes check/check, the play is to either check call (if they are not aggressive enough to bet the turn with a draw, many people will check behind FEARING that checkraise) on a blank, or if you put them more on a marginal hand, bet pretty large (looks like the missed draw, getting light calls).

If the scare card DOES hit, now you have a few options; you either check fold, or bet fold. Why bet a scare card? For one, its rare for opponent to bet a worse marginal hand for value (unless theyre turning their hand into a weird bluff, which wouldnt make sense since your hand is fairly underrepresented). But, more likely, you lead out since your hand looks like air, and it looks like youre utilizing the scare card to bluff THEM off a marginal hand.

Back to our aces example Lets say villain checks behind the turn, Qs 7x 5s (T). so.. River 2s. This hits the flush. Whats our play? With 350 behind and a pot of 100, id probably bet 70 or so this is a clear BLOCKING BET (will come to this later) but a lot of opponents thought process will go something like; opponent raised pf, then bet the flop. This is any two cards. However, once I call it looks like a marginal hand or the draw. The turn was checked through, which is weird, because if he had a real hand wouldnt he just bet again? I checked too, which looks weak. But now hes betting a flush card if he had a flush draw, would he bet the turn or check call? Im not sure, btu he could also just try to push me off my hand I call. This type of thinking isnt incorrect, by any means. The other small problem is if you check (which loses out on a lot of value) those marginal hands (unless opponent is a solid light value bettor) will just check behind. Flushes/sets whatever generally still bet, but also some draws missed, which may or may not check so its even close between check calling and check folding.

Now, if an offsuit 2 falls, which is a complete dud, and now you have a few options. If villain has missed spades or straight draw, at BEST they have ace high or maybe pair of 7s or so. If you check again, too, its not without the realm of possibility something like KQ now puts out a value bet with the 2nd best hand. We wont deal too much with river play this lesson, but im 50/50 on valuebetting the dud or check calling. Im definitely NOT folding, though.

Other marginal hand spots; say now our hand is not AA, but now Q9. Those marginal hands QJ, KQ, etc. now beat us. Do we still want to stack-a-donk? NO.

Now its close between just betting normally again (and likely folding to an all in) or check calling. The key here is our hand vs other marginal hands (which may even fold to an all in, which turns our top pair into a bluff!) no longer has the egde. If villain has a complete float, they cant call regardless, so the fact our hand has showdown value is irrelevant. This means were trying to shut out a draw, and only a draw, and they may even foil that plan by checking behind.

Meshing the range, stack a donk: The other time to possibly stack a donk is when you want to represent this type of hand (to make other draws fold, floats obviously fold, and maybe get some made hands to fold) is when YOU have a draw. This is a simple turn semibluff all in; once again, if stacks are roughly the same, its generally the move. Well touch on this later, but if you cbet the flop w/ the draw and are called, id put them on roughly the same range as when we have aces. (obviously!) You check, and here if the turn is c/c you see a free river; perfect. If you bet the turn and get called, its the same amount of money as if you checked and called a bet (although there is a chance they fold to the bet!) but if you bet and they push on you, you now have to make either a marginally +EV or EV call to see your draw. Awful spot to be in. There are some times though when villain once they bet do not fold to the all in, and they bet too much for you to profitably call for your draw, so you should simply and quietly check fold. This happens. Other times you can profitably call, and you feel checkcalling is better then checkpushing; thats fine. Each situation is different, but the standard play is to check to them and let them dictate the betting amount (and making a read off that) fun stuff.

Not second barreling, betting the best hand:

Lets move away from marginal hands. Lets now say we have a stronger hand; on that board, something like 75 is basically = AA, except it makes only 1 combo of 77 and 55. Q7 and Q5 are very unlikely for an opponent, although for us (suited 4th tier) raising first in from the CO isnt out of the question. So, well classify 75+ as strong made hands here. Although we could just stack a donk, its a little more of a problem giving a free card, since we ARE shedding implied odds. (even a hand like 88 or so has solid equity, and is unlikely to make too much of a mistake on the river.. but if they river the 8 or so, were likely to go busto). Since the correct bet (this is a type 4 flop) is pot, id probably just pot again. If I was bluffing and they moved in, Id fold. If I DID 2nd barrel a draw, id do a quick EV calc, and generally the move is to fold. If I had a marginal hand (which wasnt stack a donk material; KQ, AQ, KK, AA Id probably stack a donk) Id bet and now were in a real tough quandary. Its time to make a quick pot odds calc and draw up some hand ranges. This will be fairly opponent dependant, but folding and calling there are ok. Now, with a big hand, its a very easy and routine bet/call. If called, its close between shoving and checkcalling (or pushing the rest in) on rivers. (Which we wont go into detail about)

And thats pretty much stack-a-donk.

One note: Position for position sake isnt the end all be all. However, it does show how its easy to give free cards when our hand doesnt want to give freebies, and also put a lot of money in when we really shouldnt put money in.

**In case I havent gone over a float: Calling in position with the intention of betting the turn.

The reason for a float is not so much your own hand, but rather calling to bluff. A float can have some outs, such as an underpair (2) a gutshot (4) overs/bdoor flush draw (~6). But it isnt necessary. Worth noting, but for flop play the more draw heavy a board is, the less good a float is, and the better a bluffraise is. (Since it forces a lot of made hands and draws to raise or fold, which if you have a bluff, is good, since youre not calling a raise!). A float on a dry board is better for the same reason; youre representing a very good made hand which is slowplaying. So, a float is representing a big hand by pretending to slowplay, when no big hand is needed. A float can be in position or out of position, but it goes without saying is much more effective in position. (In fact, Id go to the extreme to say an out of position float is almost never good unless the worst type of opponents who are 100% straightforward)

Its worth mentioning in this turn section that if were playing slightly loose aggressive, people will often be floating against us; however, the combination of 2nd barrels and turn checkraises (or just c/c the floats) are often enough to dissuade this type of play: Why is it important to dissuade a float? Well, players who are able to float a lot are typically utilizing position very well. When a player is leaning on us with their position, theyre probably taking away our CO or early position play, which isnt entirely crucial, but it means theyre stealing some EV. If we can get these better players out of our pots, were generally doing ourselves a service. Likewise, if poor players are floating on us, that are perfect, since theyre probably leaking money on those later streets rather than stealing pots from us.

River value betting Chapter 13.

Keynote: At this point in the hand (the river) the pot is generally either small or large. Also, if its large, there has been an exchange of information so that we SHOULD have an idea of what our opponents can have. This is where hand reading becomes crucially important; since pot size is relative (it keeps growing) and also since any money put in behind has 0% equity. Also, any money put in ahead had 100% equity. Thus, its not mistaken to say because of that playing the river may be the most important street. (Well, I dont really believe that, preflop mistakes are typically compounded postflop, and you deal with preflop every hand whereas the river not as much)

Interesting hand reading? I dont have precise data backing up this claim, but if youre truly clueless about an opponents hand (either no read, postflop action doesnt make sense, etc.) the disclaimer I can throw out is their river action typically belies their strength. As in, if they suddenly overbet shove the river, im more inclined to believe them even if the preflop to turn

action does not make sense.

Non exploitable: One common trend you see is when one player (either in position just calling down quickly, or out of position check calling quickly) putting the villain on either a much bigger hand or a complete whiff. This isnt great, but then the player (once theyve check called the flop and turn) decides, well, now that theyre firing the 3rd barrel, they MUST have it. The sad truth is if a villain is capable of firing those first two, they should be able to fire the last one; if that is the case, although it is a frequency thing, its rarely correct to call one street and fold the next. The best example is: Villain 5handed raises utg to 7 in a game, you defend with T8s OTB. Blinds fold, stacks are effective 215. Flop is 8 4 3r. More or less this is way ahead way behind. Villain bets 10 into 15. Calling, raising, and folding all should be weighed, but calling is likely the best move. Turn is a 5, and villain bets 25 into 35. This is another spot calling, raising, and folding should all be considered. Calling is typically the best. River is a 3, which is a blank, and villain bets 60 into 85. Ok. We were more or less way ahead way behind throughout. Villain has ~115 behind. Folding raising and calling should all be considered. Now, in this spot, villain raised pf, bet all three streets; this looks a lot like an overpair. (99 through AA) hell, could even be quads (33) or a boat (other combo of 88, 44). If its a good value bettor, could even be K8s or A8s type hand. Maybe he turns us with 55, or even hit A2 or 67. Possibly even A3. Regardless, we didnt call the turn to get him to shut down; we called because our hand was good. The 3 is a blank; on an ace, or a 2, or a 6, or 7, where a 4 straight is there (and more likely to hit us) we can consider folding. On this card, we pay it off.

Back to equities; when were faced with a river bet, its pretty simple to evaluate if we should call. If the pot has X, say 100, and villain bets Y, say 80, the breakeven call % to be right needs to be 80/260, (Y/(X+2Y) or 30% in this example. Or, if villain has a worse hand 30%+, the call is correct, if they do not, a fold is correct.

Some quick math points: If they bet pot x2 (200 into 100, or 200/500) we need to win 40%+. If they pot it (100 into 100, or 100/300) we need to win 33%+. If they bet 2/3 pot (~67 into 100, or 67/234) we need to win 28.5%+. If they bet pot (50 into 100, or 50/200) we need to win 25%+. If they bet 1/3 pot (~33 into 100, or 33/166) we need to win 20%+. If they bet 1/10th pot (10 into 100, or 10/120) we need to win 8%+.

Everything is relative; hand values on some boards (such as one pair) are monsters, on other boards hands like flushes are very weak. Its important to discern not your overall hand strength, but rather relative strength. Quick quiz, just to exemplify this:

Board 1: Ks Qc Jc 4c Kc On this board, red AA is very weak. Something like 8c8x is an ok bluff catcher. I wouldnt love Tc. A full house is very nice, though. Board 2: 2s 2h 4h Tc Jc On this board, red AA is very strong. Something like 8c8x is not a bluff catcher, but rather has

solid value to bet it. 43o is a bluff catcher. I would love a deuce, as Id picture my hand unbeatable. Board 3: Kc Tc 5s 6s 5h Now, red AA is marginally strong. There is both value in a bet, but it also serves as a solid bluff catcher. If I somehow had a 5, like 56c, I would think my hand is close to the nuts. Something like 88 though is fairly weak, as some bluffs beat you.

How is this a quiz? Here is how: Generally for the river the dividers are close to air, bluff with marginal value, bluff catcher, solid value, nuts or near nuts. People love to mesh their range so that a hand that is weak (like a solid value bluff catcher) can get called by a weaker bluff catcher, or turning a bluff catcher into a bluff by representing the nuts, etc.

Value betting generally goes into the category of hand reading, really. Heres what I break it down into: If I feel my opponent is poised to make a big call, I will bet larger for value. Likewise, smaller as a bluff. If I feel my opponent is laying down big hands, I will bet smaller for value, and larger as a bluff. That is the Meta game element.

If I had a draw, and its obvious, I wont force a big call. I will bet smaller. If its NOT obvious, I will bet larger; I WILL force a big call since my hand is hidden. If I have a painfully clear big one pair, I will bet larger if my opponent has seen me bluff that way. Otherwise, I generally will not force a thin call, and just milk whatever value I can get.

If I backdoor a set or something to that extent, it comes down to the play of the hand; if my opponent does not figure to have much, I cant exactly force something that wont be called.

Nut situations: There are some times to overshove even when its clear what youre representing. Some of these cases are K K 7 7 x, you have Kx, checked to you on the river. Your shove looks like KKK77, and thats what it is. Yet, some people just wont believe that, and could get called by things as light as ace high etc. Same deal w/ 4 spades and you having the nut spade (As or Ks if the ace is on board, etc.) There, your hand looks like what it is, but people still payoff w/ their small flushes or whatnot since they feel youre just representing that hand enough to get paid. The easy spot is something like QT on a J 9 8 7 x board. Here, a ten will call everything, and if they check to you, they probably dont even have that. By the same token, its really tough for them to call with much else; even JJ is similar to ~J2 here. But Id bet a lot.

So, situation: #1. Villain raises to 70 in a 10/20 game UTG+1, villain 2 calls in MP, you call with A7d in the CO, and the BB calls. (9handed) Flop comes Qd Td 6s. (250) Checked to MP villain, he bets 222. (He has 2300, you cover him) at this point raising is an option, and technically so is folding. The problem with raising is anything you raise certainly commits you to an all in, where your equity is ~35 to 45%. This is ok, but its risking in effect your stack for whats in the middle; going back to the draw lesson, the pot:stack ratio is roughly 9.2:1, which means bet/3bet all in is the way to go. Your draw though, being NFD, is situational dependant, meaning it does not need to be played aggressively in order to make it +EV. So, Id call here, and hope for an overcall. Alas, the other 2 players fold.

Turn 8s (694) eff. 2008 behind. Ok, this is an interesting card. We pick up a weak gutshot, along with our overcard and NFD. Plus, its possible for us to represent a hand like the nuts (J9) with the OESD on the flop which hits the nuts. So, if villain bets here (depending on bet size) we can call, move in, or fold. Lots of choices. In this hand, though, villain checks.

We check, too, because if we bet and are c/r all in, we probably need to call. Although, a bet wouldnt be awful as I expect a lot of better hands to check fold here. (although, a hand like QJ, KQ, etc may just check call)

River, 2d. Ok, this is the idea of the obvious card. Villain checks. How much to value bet? 1. His hand looks on the weaker side. He just called the preflop raise, so a big pair is unlikely. 2. He bet when checked to on the flop, near pot, but then checked when a ~fairly innocuous card hit. 3. He checked when the flush card hit. 4. We just called the flop in a 4way pot with a flush draw. This makes our hand not seem like a set or twopair, but rather a draw or marginal one pair 5. When checked to on the turn, we checked a card which hit J9. Its hard to see us calling a near pot with a gutshot on that flop, so its not like we picked up a pair or the 97 straight on the turn, either

This would mean villain having a flush himself is unlikely, having a straight is unlikely. For us, it means a sizeable portion of our range is a flush draw which hit. A lot of the 1pair hands are happy on this coordinated board to just check behind. How much to bet? I would probably bet something like half pot; 333 to 355 range. Obviously if checkraised push the rest in.

Now, say the river is an offsuit ace. Do we value bet? Villain checks again. Yes, id throw out the same bet. Now were folding to a checkraise, though, id put them on KJ. (Full ring = every all in is the nuts!) Are there any cards worth bluffing? If the river is a queen, and villain checks again, I think its safe to bluff. At this point villain probably has a hand like 6xd, Tx, or a gutshot which turned a pair. (So 89 or 87). Those are fairly weak hands but are all solid bluff catchers. Whats a good bluff size? You could easily have trips, but thats the higher end of your spectrum. The other portion is clearly missed flush draw, which unfortunately you have. Here, betting something like pot would far too easily get called. A pot bet would be kinda weird for trips, too. So, id bet somewhere around 425 to 500.

Any other random good bluff cards? A 6, perhaps. It means villains strongest holding is definitely a queen (and they could easily have stabbed at the flop with less then top pair) which I would expect check calls. 425 to 500 isnt a bad bet size, here, as well.

Checkraising the River Chapter 14.

The last chapter more or less focused on an example of when to apply larger value bets, when not to, and perhaps when to throw bluffs. This lesson will focus on checkraising the river (bluffing and for value) and thin calls.

Checkraising the river: Obviously this concerns playing out of position. For Value: Anytime youre raised on the turn and you opt to just call w/ a hidden draw, the natural inclination should be checkraising the river. Or, when villain has the lead. The two easiest ideas are: A. You raise 77 in the CO to 16. Btn calls. (2/4, blinds fold) Flop comes 7 T J w/ 3 clubs. You lead out 24, CO calls. The turn is a 3, blank. (~86) You bet 55, villain (who has 800, you have him covered) makes it 155. Ok, decision time. Pushing is ok here. However, against this particular player, youre fairly sure they flopped the flush. Clearly, they could

have other hands, but being so deep, (nearly 200 bb) with bottom set here when 89, CC, etc. are more likely then AcX semibluff or JT, the play is to call. (Were probably paying off a river bet unimproved, but folding to a 8, 9, or 4th club) Anyway, the river comes a 3. (~400 in there, 600 behind) this is an easy checkraise all in. B. You raise T7h in the CO to 16. Btn calls. (2/4, blinds fold) Flop comes J 7 4r, with 1 heart. You bet 18 into ~38. Turn (70) comes the 5h. You check, villain (380 behind, you cover) bets 55. A lot of options here, you opt to call. River (180, villain has 325) comes the 2h. This is an easy checkraise all in. If the river was a 7, against some players (those who would fire 2 floats and value bet a jack) id also checkraise all in. If a 10 hit id block bet. If it came a blank, now id check and evaluate. Sometimes fold, sometimes call. C. When not to checkraise all in? You raise JTo in the CO to 16. Btn calls. (2/4, blinds fold) Flop comes 9 8 2 w/ 2hearts. (38) you bet 35. Villain calls. (if raised, id probably push) Turn is a blank 3. (108) You check, villain bets 60. He had 400 to start, you had the same. Here you could consider checkpushing, but id prefer calling with the plan of perhaps bluffing a heart, checkcalling a J or T, and leading out on a 7 or Q. Id checkfold to all other blanks. So, river comes an offsuit 7. River pot has 228 in there with effective 294 behind. Here we could sell missed hearts, and if he called the flop with top pair, its still top pair. Why is checkraising not as applicable? Well, its harder seeing him having hearts given no flop raise and then the turn bet. Same deal with a set or 89; thus, his range is more weighted to JT (so it doesnt matter what happens) 9x, or even weaker made hand. So, I think he could bluff, but value bet lightly not as much. Just bet 160 in there (obv call push) and thats that. If a heart hit I think a bluff of around 111 to 133 is best. For Bluff: The time to checkraise bluff the river is generally when the hidden draw missed but

the obvious draw got there and you cant put them on a draw. Or, a draw missed, and you put them on that miss (but cannot call). Similarily, you feel they have a bluff catcher that will bet the river but not call the riv checkraise (yet would call a simple river lead). Some examples: A. You raise A6s in the CO to 16. Btn calls. BB calls, too, surprisingly. Flop comes J 8 5 w/ 2 hearts, you have spades. (~50 in there) BB checks, you cbet 45. CO calls after some thought, BB folds. At this point Id weight his hand most likely J9, JT, QJ, KJ, AJ. Also, I wouldnt be surprised for him to have something like an underpair floating this seeing if I shutdown, a flushdraw, T9, 67, etc. Needless to say, his hand is really not clear. The turn comes a 7, giving me some outs. (still 140 in there) I probably would not 2nd barrel here, but Id check call, raise, or fold depending on his bet. However, villain checks behind. River brings a 7, not a heart, the play is check. Here, if you bet most pairs are calling, and really only better aces are folding. Its possible sometimes some pairs are folding. Any case, if it goes check check its not without the realm of possibility to win in a showdown. But, villain bets 120, which is a weird bet. (Almost full pot) He had 400 to start, so he has 220 behind. This is a solid checkraise bluff, since you could def have QQ+ that missed stack a donk, or hell even 7x. Villain, on the other hand, could possibly have a missed draw (which makes your bet better, because it means more of his stuff is air, just better air then yours). Villain also couldnt raise the flop in a 3way pot or bet the turn, despite it being drawheavy. His large bet is pretty odd, too. This is a solid checkraise bluff spot. B. Clearly, bluffing into weakness is much better then strength. The only times to checkraise bluff into strength is when villain would interpret your line as the nuts, and therefore even the 2nd nuts is a bluff catcher. Ok, so: You raise red jacks to 16 UTG, the button calls, the

blinds fold. The flop comes T 4 2 all clubs. (38) You cbet (and are 50/50 on handling a raise) 28. The turn is an offsuit 9. (94) You check/call a bet of 63. The river (220, eff stack is ~300) is a 8club. You check, villain bets 125. You push. The problem with this checkraise is that sometimes youre bluffing into the nuts, however, any club (Kc or less) has turned into essentially the same hand; you either have the nuts or not. A lot of clubs will value bet here, but not many will call. Your hand is fairly irrelevant, because with the 4th club there is no way to check call here its fold or raise. And, frankly, its a profitable all in. One thing here working in your favor is AcX would often semibluff raise the flop, and if they flopped it (AXc) with the 4th one landing its harder to envision them having that many combos. What Opponents? The best players to checkraise are those who bluff a larger % then normal and those who value bet a larger % then normal. Typically the better the player, the less apt I would be to checkraise them. (The thinking is they can sniff it out better) Nits, for example, are not great players to checkraise, because theyre happier checking behind hands they should bluff or value bet. Calling stations are not great to c/r bluff, and players on tilt are not great to c/r bluff. Basic stuff, though.

Thin calls, my philosophy: Anytime you have a chance of winning in a showdown, a river decision (in and out of position) deserves some thought. The only quick mucks are when its virtually impossible to win by calling, and when a raise represents nothing. All other decisions (especially the larger the pot) are worth considering how often villain needs to bluff.

Player types: Those who feel you call lightly are less apt to bluff. Those who feel you fold a lot are more apt to bluff. When you induce bluffs by checks, you should be more apt to call. When you dissuade bluffs by bets, you should be more apt to fold.