Wednesday, March 28, 2012

When to Double Barrel

When to double barrel in poker
I wanted to write a bit about double barreling. When to do it and when not to. Something that I consistently see with the students that I work with is a tendency to bet the turn too much or in the wrong spots.

There is definitely a strong theme these days in poker literature, on forums etc about the benefits of being aggressive but I think the problem is that some people take that a little too far and end up causing even more problems for themselves. I call it betting for the sake of betting.

Aggression in itself is never a bad thing in poker but when you are being aggressive just because you don't know what else to do, it is very easy to see through and counter. Versus habitual barrelers I will sometimes just take a hand that has some equity, call the flop and raise them on the turn. You won't face this very often at the micros but much more often you will be barreling in a spot where your opponent can only continue with better (versus a nit for instance) and so you are burning money just the same.

I figured that I would just toss out a couple of examples here and try to generate some discussion on it in the comments. But before I do that I just want to list a few of the factors that I think we should be thinking about when choosing whether or not to double barrel:
  • our hand value
  • our position
  • villain's player type
  • the turn card
These are probably the most important factors to consider. Having a hand or at least some outs is important in poker no matter the limit. And especially at the micros where there are a lot of calling stations it is especially important to have something. If you have absolutely nothing you really should be just giving up most of the time. Always leave yourself with some outs because why wouldn't you?

Our position is important because when they check to us it tells us a lot about the strength of their hand. When we are out of position we are just kind of playing the guessing game.

Villain's player type and the turn card might be the most important factors of all though. Versus nits who have a very narrow continuance range on the flop we should really only be double barreling with strong hands most of the time because they almost always have a big hand themselves. Versus all other player types their range can be quite a bit wider. Although some moreso than others. Your 65/5 drooler fish can have half the deck for instance, all sorts of ace highs, totally ridiculous draws etc. A TAG won't have nearly as wide of a range.

And lastly, the turn card is a huge factor. In general big cards (broadways) will be good for us and low cards will be bad for us. And this is just because when we raise preflop big cards are what we are representing. So oftentimes barreling versus a stationy reg for instance on 9974 is bad because if he called the flop with his 88 why would he fold when the turn is a meaningless 4? If the turn was a T, J, Q, K or A it is a much more difficult spot for 88 to continue however.

So with all of that said I am going to list a bunch of examples and ask you to please leave your comments below. Double barrel or not? I won't leave my response for a few days.


1)

Hero is dealt K♥Q♦ in MP, raises and gets called by an SLP (semi-loose passive) in the SB.

The flop comes,

J♠A♣6♦

Villain check/calls our cbet.

The turn comes,

8♥

What should hero do?



2) 

Hero is dealt 4♦4♣ in EP, raises and gets called by a TAG in LP.

The flop comes,

8♣3♠Q♥

Villain check/calls our cbet. 

The turn comes,

A♣

What should hero do?


3)

Hero is dealt 8♥9♥ in LP, raises and gets called by a fish in the BB.

The flop comes,

6♦9♠3♥

Villain check/calls our cbet.

The turn comes,

 7♣

What should hero do?


4)

Hero is dealt 8♥9♥ in LP, raises and gets called by a nit in the BB.


The flop comes,


6♦9♠3♥

Villain check/calls our cbet.

The turn comes,

 7♣

What should hero do?


5)

Hero is dealt A♠K♠ in LP, raises and gets called by a fish in the SB.

The flop comes,

8♠5♣6♥

Villain check/calls our cbet.

The turn comes,

Q♦

What should hero do?

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When to Double Barrel

5 comments:

  1. #1 Check to catch free 10 on river.

    #2 Bet Because we Rep an Ace in our hand. And if the villian doesn't have one they will prob fold most of the time.

    #3 Bet we still have top pair & open ender now. Fish isn't going to fold his A3 rag might as well get value.

    #4 Check hit free straight on river.

    #5 Check Prob , I don't think fish is folding to us.

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  2. Hi im from Chile, South America

    #1 I bet 3/4 pot to force fold

    #2 I check/fold because I do not connect the set.

    #3 I bet to pot control becasue i have 8 outs.

    #4 Check for a free card

    #5 I bet for value and to represent top pair

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  3. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  4. Alright here are my thoughts. Didn't read any of the others comments.

    1) I would check behind in this spot. I don't think a calling station type opponent like this is going to fold very often on this turn. He will probably always call with his ace and most of the time with a jack. So therefore we are just building a bigger pot for him. We could probably triple barrel him off of his jack but not off his ace. Take the easy route and check back and try to spike something on the river imo.

    2) Bet again. The ace is definitely in our range and will be scary to a thinking type player like this. All of his middle pairs will shrink up and seem weak versus our double barrel from EP.

    3) Bet again for value. This player can have middle pair, bottom pair, ace high or even worse from time to time. Even if he somehow has two pair+ he will probably slowplay it and we have outs.

    4) Check behind. Villain's range here is a lot different than in the previous hand. A nit is not going to have any ace highs, bottom pair or middle pair very often. He will most likely have sets, overpairs and strong stuff like that. We can draw out versus them. If we bet he will probably ship and force us to fold. Easy check behind here. Big mistake to bet again.

    5) Check behind. Villain has so many pair and pair + draws that he is never folding here. If we bet again we are just building a bigger pot for villain when he is the favorite like in hand #1.

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  5. Oops... realise I'm a bit late on this one due to busy work schedules, but I enjoy these interactive topics. So i'll have a go without looking at your answers:

    1) Definitely check behind here. We get a free card and hopefully one of our 4 outs to the nuts. An SLP may be ahead of us here, so may not fold to the 2nd barrel.

    2) From the article, I'm assuming the A is a perfect 2nd barrel card. Now, I must admit I've been usually giving up in these spots, so should re-think my strategy here in future against TAG's. I usually check.

    3) Our TPMK and OESD looks pretty decent against a stationy fish, so a clear value bet. It could get tougher if he calls the 2nd barrel and our OESD misses on the river, but that's not the point of this article.... ;)

    4) Hmmm, you gotta wonder why the nit calls on that flop, so maybe just take the free card as with hand 1 and hope for a good river.

    5) Definitely check against a station, as this flop has hit his range much harder than ours. At the risk of getting off-topic, you could even question c-betting this flop against Mr. Station. I was also thinking is this a good spot for the delayed c-bet when we turn the Q?

    Depends on the degree of station-ness i guess, some one who calls absolutely everything won't be the best opponent to apply this principle. Maybe the delayed c-bet could only work on a TAG or nit here? Sorry, that wasn't really on topic...:D

    Have a great Easter.

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