A lot of players get wrapped up in their own hand strength; they can’t do this or that because of their own hand. I would say this applies to a lot of players who have a terrible redline, they don’t fight for nearly enough pots, they don’t over-represent their range. Your hand matters not if you can convince your opponent of your perceived holding; that is what they think you might have. You just have to tell a believable story. Let’s run through a few common spots that you may have been passing up.
Button Villain vrs Hero In Blind Battle
A very common situation. Standard button opens will vary from 30-80%. Vs anyone over 40% who is capable of folding a reasonable hand I am actively looking for a ‘spot’ to take the hand down.
Ex: Villain is a 22/18 overall but opens the Button when first in 48%. This is why positional stats are so important. He opens 2.5x and we call with A♥J♣ in the BB. The Flop is 9♦7♥4♥ and the BTN checks back this low board. The Turn is a 5♦. Here is a spot where I would just lead Turn and River on almost every board run out. I would definitely NOT bet the Turn and then give up on the River though! You will get curious calls a decent amount on the Turn from hands like A4, K7, 22 etc. but plenty of folds on the River. Bet size wise I would bet big on the Turn (like 75%+ of pot) to build that bigger pot to take away later when I overbet the River. The button is so wide here he just doesn’t have a hand strong enough, enough of the time to call.
Button Hero vs Under The Gun Villain
Villain opens UTG 15% which consists of mostly of pocket pairs and Broadway hands as far as we know. That’s pretty easy to see here in Flopzilla.
We call on the BTN with 55 and go heads up to the 9♦9♣7♦ Flop. We think UTG is a relatively good hand reader and will know this Flop can hit hero’s calling range fairly often. He checks, we stab at the pot and he quickly calls. So he has something but 9/10 times this is a line that doesn’t want to play for stacks. The Turn is 6♣. At this point we probably don’t have the best hand, but look at this board and think how you feel here when your UTG with an overpair, not fist pumping are we? He now leads into us for 55% of pot. This line and bet size smacks of pot control. When someone wants to play a small pot, make them play a big one and raise! We have about 12% equity with our gutter and boat outs (not including the 9’s where we may be counterfeited), but more importantly we can rep sooo many Rivers if he calls our Turn raise (a River which we’ll be betting regardless of the card). But any Clubs, Diamonds, a T or the case 8 will test his resolve for sure.
UTG Hero vs IP Villain
UTG is the one place in 6max Holdem where you can still get a degree of credit. Take advantage of this! Hero opens UTG with 22. The 25/15 in the CO calls and everyone else folds. The Flop is A♦7♠6♣. It’s a dry board and villain folds IP to a cbet 50% which is decent for us. We can see by his VPIP/PFR spread he likes to do a lot of calling, so his range is decently wide here (in fact we can consult our popup and see he cold calls the button specifically 18% of the time). We cbet and he calls. The Turn is the K♦. When I see this I think ‘Thank you, that’s my card’. I will now bet the Turn and River on any board run out. You have to think about what your opponent is thinking now with a hands like AJ, 87s, 65s etc. He’s thinking ‘Urrggh… UTG raise and another substantial bet, this board hits his range… but I’ll call one more ’.The ‘call one more’ crew are rife at low stakes games so you have to have the courage though to follow through with your bets… just like you would if you had it. We need to fold out AT-AQ, stubborn 88+ and these 87s type hands and the only way you do it is following through and force the fold on the River.
Player types to look for
We’ve looked at board types so let’s now look at player types to abuse.
Players that are generally ‘foldy’ as I call them are generally foldy in other areas too.
Take a common reg you will have come across and likely targeted. He plays 19/17, goes to showdown 22% and folds to 3bets 70%. This is a very disciplined player. He may or may not be a winner, but he’s very disciplined. It takes a lot of discipline to fold that much. To boot, he folds vs a cbets 55% vs a flop raise 60%. A great candidate for repping your perceived hand range against.
Contrary to belief some fish can be bluffed to. Not all fish are just donating money (not straight away anyway lol). Believe it or not some Fish do have strategies… just not long term winning ones. Ever noticed the recreational player that only seems to turn up with 2 pair or better? Yep, he only calls down with 2 pair or better vs big bets! A 35/5 player who only raises when he has it, folds to cbets 38%, the turn 20% but vs river bets 65% is a great candidate bluff against.
Player Types That Crush Your Winrate
Stationy fish, LAGs, and the general I-don’t-believe-anyone! type players. You know the ones, they don’t fold to cbets, don’t fold to 3bets or 4bets, always going to showdown… non-believers. Zero pot equity plays vs these player types is going to have very mixed results and is best avoided. ‘Rep’ narrow ranges when you do have it instead.
Representing Your Image
Repping your image is something you can do when a few table conditions are met. If you have A) A thinking opponent and B) A clean session image you are good to go.
Ex: You’ve had one of those 12/10 card dead sessions and a good spot comes up. Hero has barely played a hand on this table and has yet to go to showdown. A 40/8 limps UTG and a good reg Iso’s to 5x on the BTN. We have K♦5♦ in the BB. We can’t really call here but a raise should command a ton of respect. Hero raises to 8bb, the limper folds and the reg thinks for a while but folds. By raising to 8bb we also negate our opponent 4bet bluffing us (given effective 100bb stacks), as he’ll have to now put too much money in the pot without getting committed with a hand like A8.
Repping well takes practice and requires a lot of attention. As long as someone is listening to your stories and they are believable, the more happy endings you will get : )
Up Next… Turning Pairs Into Bluffs