Here’s a hand I played the other day that I posted in my coaching thread. A pretty common spot and it highlighted a point I wanted to make in the previous day about indecision on the turn. So a player that you have no hands-on open limps in the cut-off. You ISO raise on the button w/ QhJd. Ace high flop that you whiff and c-bet and get called. Now, what’s the long term best play here?


iPoker – $2 NL (6 max) – Holdem – 6 players
Hand converted by PokerTracker 4

Hero (BTN): 98.5 BB
SB: 100 BB (VPIP: 0.00, PFR: 0.00, 3Bet Preflop: 0.00, Hands: 2)
BB: 98 BB (VPIP: 50.00, PFR: 50.00, 3Bet Preflop: -, Hands: 2)
UTG: 143.22 BB (VPIP: 0.00, PFR: 0.00, 3Bet Preflop: 0.00, Hands: 2)
MP: 104.5 BB (VPIP: 50.00, PFR: 50.00, 3Bet Preflop: 0.00, Hands: 2)
CO: 117.82 BB (VPIP: 0.00, PFR: 0.00, 3Bet Preflop: 0.00, Hands: 2)

SB posts SB 0.5 BB, BB posts BB 1 BB

Pre Flop: (pot: 1.5 BB) Hero has J Q

fold, fold, CO calls 1 BB, Hero raises to 4.5 BB, fold, fold, CO calls 3.5 BB

Flop: (10.5 BB, 2 players) A 9 4
CO checks, Hero bets 6 BB, CO calls 6 BB

Turn: (22.5 BB, 2 players) Q
CO checks,

If you’re willing to call up to say 10 or even 13 bbs as some of you have said, then why not just bet that on the turn yourself? With no reads at all, you don’t know your opponent’s bluffing tendencies, but you do know that he is probably somewhat passive if he’s limp / called in the CO, and then checked 2 streets already. If you bet the turn, and then he bets the river, you can safely fold. It’s unlikely he’s check /calling, and once you’ve bet 2 streets, this suddenly passive person is going to bluff the river. That seems more unlikely than his range is something like this –
Ax, 9x, 4x, small pairs.

So your two options are, bet the turn and bomb the river to get him off of Ax. I personally wouldn’t advise this, because from experience against unknown fish I’ve seen them call down w/ Ace rag far too often. I’d say, trying to move him off Ace rag wouldn’t be profitable long term. And if he was “trapping” by limping AA or a strong Ace, he’s obviously not folding.

The second option is we size a bet that a passive player would call w/ hands we beat – 9x, 4x, small pairs – 22/33/55/66/77/88. This way by betting, you get value from those hands and you’ve decided how the river plays. If your opponent bets, you’re folding. You also size your opponent’s secondary value bets. If you’re opponents bets 12+ w/ 9x, you’re not folding the best hand on the river. Without knowing your opponent’s bluffing range, I think it’s generally better to decide, how much am I willing to call on the river, and then bet that amount yourself. Generally speaking, if you’ve bet the flop and turn, your opponents will check the river. And if they do bet, you can generally safely fold.

So what actually happened in the hand – I bet 8bbs on the turn. My opponent called. River was 7x. My opponent checked, I checked, and they turned over 97s and I lost. I assume they were going for a check-raise.

Now if I checked the turn, I’m getting at least a half-sized pot bet on the river, and I’d be in a pretty in-between spot there. Call/fold would be pretty close EV wise. I’d probably fold, and only be willing to call up to ~ 10 bbs. I’m also not super worried about getting blown off my hand by betting small on the turn. The board is super dry in this case (and even if it wasn’t it’s ok in a lot of these spots), my opponent is most likely passive, and my hand still looks strong enough to not want to try and go for more value w/ Ax, or turn other hands into bluffs.

If my opponents had whiffed the river, it’s unlikely he calls another bet if I bet 3 streets, so checking behind has no difference. And like I said, he’s almost always checking the river to me when I bet that turn. It’s always better to be the person making the decision IMHO. If I improve, I can bet again, if I don’t I can take a showdown.

I saved myself probably 2-3bbs by betting the turn. The moral of the story here is to make sure you’re asking yourself what you’re willing to call when you have position on the river, and seeing if it makes more sense to just bet that amount or less yourself.




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