Thursday, April 14, 2011

When it rains, it pours... Part II

Let's recap, since it's been a week since I started this post, while playing on the best online poker sites.  We last left off where I am facing a board of 2 8 K, two-tone.  The decision point is to cbet or check the flop.  I pathetically got 2 comments, but they were two useful comments, nevertheless:

I agree with Matt's comment about over-thinking the villain.  I don't think a 40/x is taking notes, making my "to cbet or not to cbet" question of exploit-ability moot.  I agree that the donkey on the other side of the internet is not sitting there, typing in "Will check missed hands & cbet made hands," in his notes file.  Therefore, I can discount one argument against not cbetting.  Moreover, as Heffmike points out in his comment, I think a check may go particularly well when I'm facing players with a very high cbet ratio themselves... setting them up for a check / raise or delayed check raise (call flop & donk turn), or even a check / raise turn if the villain is a habitual 2 street cbetter.

Therefore, I argue in favor of checking a majority of missed flops (i.e. >50%... somewhere on the order of maybe 2/3 of flops, perhaps).  The fact that I'm out of position, and bloating the pot with a missed hand that is potentially behind sounds like 2 negatives to cbetting.

I think there are specific criteria for the above assertion.  Just a few quick player types and my thoughts below about cbetting or not.

Players to check flops against:
  • Low % fold to cbet players (i.e. fold to cbet % <60%)
  • High cbet % players with high VPIP (setting up a check / raise, etc.)
  • High VPIP players with high agression factors (i.e. <2.0 AF) - aggromaniacs where I kind of want to avoid playing large pots, out of position, without some semblance of a hand
Players to cbet flop against:
  • High % fold to cbet players (i.e. fold to cbet % >60%) - i.e. "fit or fold" players
  • Low VPIP / PFR players with "normal" 3bet % (i.e. ~4-5%)
  • High VPIP / PFR players with low agression factors (i.e. 0.3 AF)
Part III will talk about the turn, but I have a feeling this is going to spider web out of control rapidly.  Stay tuned :-).


  1. You know, there really is no shame in just check/folding this. The only card you are going to like on the turn is an A. You're goal with these players really should be to value bet the hell out of them and not try to bluff them, regardless of your position.

    In position, you could pot control and call. Out of position, just dump it. Don't overthink it.

  2. The problem is that when you check/fold hands like this, a lot of the time you're folding the best hand, and other times you're getting the best hand to fold. By cbetting, you're taking initiative and repping a made hand such as KQ, AK, or pairs taking a stab (i.e. TT, JJ, QQ). Do you check / fold a rainbow board of similar ilk?

  3. It is very player & board dependent, of course. I'm just saying that playing a guessing game out of position is not going to be a profitable situation for you, even against a far inferior player. He could do the right thing against your hand/range accidentally. It is just such a gross spot that I don't mind a check fold. I'm ok with a c-bet, but I wouldn't go trying to barrel and out-play them on the turn and river. You will often just try to bluff an unbluffable opponent.

  4. This is exactly the situation I'm finding myself in: the cbet on the flop makes the pot size ~ 17.5BB and now I'm wondering where I go from there. If I barrel the turn, I'm getting crushed when he makes the call because I'm looking at a ~40-60BB pot and totally lost as to my hand strength; is he on a draw or on a made hand. You're right; it is a gross spot.

    That said, I find it very hard to give up on pots where I had the initiative PF. I wind up winning a ton of pots (albeit small) where I was the PF aggressor. It kills me to simply just give up.

  5. it is a leak to constantly fight for these w/ a bad hand out of position, regardless of how good or bd the player is. You make your money in position, not out. Try to limit your losses out of position.

  6. That actually is a good suggestion; filtering my wins / losses when OOP. I'd imagine you're correct, and maybe that's the solution to all of this nonsense.


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