Following up on the last few Continuation Betting articles and video I did (click here and here to see them), I took a little time this week to create a spreadsheet that charts Pot Equity (PE) vs. Fold Equity (FE). This chart clearly demonstrates the negative EV check/fold zone in the lower left-hand corner of the grid:
The Expected Value (EV) of betting into an opponent = EV = (FE x Pot) + [(1-FE) x ((PE x (Pot + Bet)– ((1-PE) x Bet))], where FE = Fold Equity, Pot = Pot Size before betting, and PE = Pot Equity. This particular chart is for a pot size of $100 and a Hero bet of $75.
Hello Everyone, this is Le Monsieur again. I hope you have enjoyed my previous post here on preflop valuation of poker hands. Did it inspire you to 3-bet more and play tighter pre-flop?
Today I’m taking us to the other side of the game, the river, with the goal of using Game Theory Optimal or GTO poker theory to help us better understand how much bluffing we should do (or calling if we are defending). From there I’ll use the same logic to give you a sense of how much (semi)bluffing we should do on average across all streets (hint: it’s probably more than you do today!) Ok so let’s get to it!
Using Probabilities and Expected Value To Make Good Poker Decisions Over and Over
You might have heard the admonition on an old TV western. Or perhaps it was spoken by your Aunt Mildred at a kitchen table penny-ante game: Never draw to an inside straight, sonny-boy. We are told that gut-shot straights are bad news. They’re long-shot draws, and only suckers chase long-shots, right? Wrong. Let me explain.
Question: You’re in a 6-handed $5/$10 NL cash game. Everyone has about $2000. A passive middle position player raises to $40. The button re-raises to $70. You are in the big blind with 8s8c. What should you do?
Call and semi-bluff all-in on low flop
Raise to $180 half the time, call the other 50% of time
In average games, most professional poker players continuation bet the flop approximately 75% of the time. But this begs an obvious question: which 75% of the time? The answer is a function of knowing two key equity values: the Hero’s pot equity on the flop, and the estimated fold equity the Hero has in that situation:
The decision to continuation bet on the flop is primarily a function of two things: the probability that your hand is best (i.e., pot equity) and the probability that your opponents will fold if you bet (i.e., your fold equity).
eXceptional Poker Tip: Plan On Missing Your Draw
When You Have a Good Drawing Hand, Plan on Missing the Draw.
From the moment you find yourself with a drawing hand, you need to start planning what you’re going to do when you miss. Sometimes this means bluffing on the river. Even if you ultimately don’t fire that fifth-street barrel, you need to start setting it up.
8 Important Things to Consider Before C-Betting the Flop in Hold'em
Flop continuation betting (c-betting) is one of the most important post-flop skills to master in poker. The majority of the time you will miss the flop, but so will your opponent, and betting into the flop to take down the pot as a bluff or semi-bluff is a very powerful move… ah, but it’s not something that should be done without serious thought. You can quickly give away a lot of your hard-won profit by blindly c-betting without a valid reason to do so. In this post, I describe the eight most important factors to evaluate before deciding on continuation betting or not.
When facing a calling decision with a drawing hand, it’s important to count your outs, determine the probability of making your hand, and then compare that to the odds the pot is laying you. In this post, I describe how to use an “outs” chart to determine the exact probability and odds of making your hand by the turn or river, and then how to determine whether you should call or not, and if you do, how much you should expect to win (or lose) each time. I also explain the short-cut “2 & 4 rule” method to approximate the probability of making a draw:
A standard “outs” chart can be used to determine the probability of making your hand. Click on the image to make it larger.
eXceptional Poker Tip: Look at Board Texture Before Continuation Betting
Evaluating board texture is key to successful continuation betting.
There are a number of important factors to consider when deciding when to c-bet on the flop if you missed. Among the most important of these is the texture of the board.
A flop of K♥7♠2♦ is much less likely to hit an opponent’s range than K♥Q♥9♠ . The former is relatively dry (meaning it has not hit your opponent’s range very hard), while the latter is wet (meaning it’s more likely to have connected with your opponent’s cards).
You have to always remember why you’re c-betting in poker. It’s almost always to either to get a worse hand to call, or to get a better hand to fold. When you miss the flop and you’re considering c-betting, it’s to get better hands to fold. Factor in your opponent’s hand range with the board texture, and then decide why you’re considering c-betting. If you can’t come up with a good answer, don’t bet.
Bottom Line: Look At Board Texture Before Continuation Betting