A Poker Misconception Quashed

Poker is full of misconceptions; limping is always bad, always raise your big hands, keep your bets the same size… yadda yadda. But this one annoys me more than most… ‘Fearing the Flush!’. You C-bet a two-tone board with your big pocket pair vs a Fish, who turbo-calls the Flop. The Turn is the 3rd Flush card… “Always a Flush!!” you exclaim as you pot control the Turn and the Fish overbet’s the River. But It’s all to do with selective memory;  you forget what’s not memorable i.e when he checks down an Ace high one-card flush draw or a weak pair, but you remember when your Kings got cracked by the nutter with 93s.

Hopefully you’ve read my last article on poker combinatorics and be in tune here. Let’s prove using combo work and a little common sense, that once and for all this “But they have sooo many flushes!” is a myth.

We are trying to figuring out our opponents range here on the Turn, and deciding the best course of action.

You raised A♦A♣ from MP and get called by the 44/2 in the Blinds (a typical loose-passive, sticky, only-raise-with-the-nuts fish). The flop is J♥ 7♣ 5♥. You Cbet and get called. What do we think about his range so far?

Of course, several Flush draws, Jx 7x, 5x, a few Straight draws and gutters right? Very very wide. We also assume a loose-passive Fish would raise 2 pair and Sets probably half the time on two-tone Flops, not just call. The Turn is another dreaded heart, the 3 ♥. Giving us a board of  J♥ 7♣ 5♥3♥, or is it so dreaded? From players not so accustomed to combo work, they hate that 3rd heart. “Fish have so many any-2-suited” they say.  That’s very true, but just how much compared to the rest of his range?  Below is an image from Flopzilla (no affiliation).

fz1-combos (2)

Worst case scenario here, I have included every 2 suited for his Preflop calling range. Given he received a discount on his call being in the blinds, and has a large VPIP% that increases because of this. I also kept them in for his Flop call as most Fish don’t raise Flush draws right? So on the Turn he has EVERY possible flush. 45 combos no less! Seems a lot, however just look at what else he has:

Sets/2pr (set at 50% frequency)/Turned straight – 25.5 combos

Overpair/Top pair – 81 combos (that’s 40% more than the made Flush alone!)

Pocket Pair below top pair (88, 99, TT) – 18 combos

Middle pair (A7s K7s Q7s etc of the other suits) – 39 combos

Gutters – 55 combos

And best of all… 51 Combos of a weak Flush draw. That’s more than the possibility he has actually a made Flush! Basically all those hands with a single ♥: JTo, J9o, J8o, 66-TT, and off-suit connectors that have a gutter too.

All in all:

We beat 244 combos of the 314.5 that will most likely call another bet. 244/315.5 = 77% of our range. The exact numbers aren’t that important here. Just the knowledge (gained by off the table work in these and other situations), that we CRUSH the overwhelming majority of his range here. It’s not remotely close.

With this in mind, It should be a Pokering crime not to bet this Turn vs a loose-passive individual. Especially when you don’t have one of the ♥ in question like in this hand. But I see it a lot… they just wanna get to Showdown, burning value in the process. The only reason you might be bummed about that 3rd ♥ is because it might kill your action.

If you knew all this before you’d bet, correct? Well now that we have quashed this poker misconception, make it your mission to bet those turns for value vs madcap ranges. If he min’ raises you and jams the River, fine – fold. But as we can see above that’s not what’s going to happen most of the time. Most of the time he’ll be cursing when you Valuetown him with a hand like KJ and have him outkicked when he had J8 and got ‘unlucky’… don’t forget those times.


Up next… Cbetting like a Boss

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