Today’s article will distill five of the most important tricks that have been overshadowed for years. While these tips deal with some very different topics, they should play a role in your strategy so that you can win the most value with your value cards while denying your opponents bottom pot equity with your bluffs.
Table of Contents
Bluffing with an unsuccessful hand with a backdoor flush draw
If you have a non-pair hand with a backdoor flush draw, you should focus on betting if you have the betting initiative. This is especially true when you have a position advantage over your opponent.
For example, 8♥7♥ on a K♣Q♣6♥ flop is an excellent bluff hand. It is often profitable to bet with these backdoor flush hearers because they become effective bluffs on the turn in both situations.
When the turn gives you a flush listening hand. You get a lot of wins, so you should usually continue your aggression with a second bet. Also, if you complete the flush on the river circle, you have a chance to win a big bottom pot.
When the turn completes with a lot of listening hands. A super scary bet on a completed hearing hand (like the 9♣ in the above example) may cause your opponents to over fold. These opponents tend to think that “all semi-bluffing hears are complete, so he is unlikely to bluff.”
Frequent overcall-raise in the big blind
If you don’t pressure your opponents with an over-raise, you will make their bets much more profitable than theoretically possible. This is especially important when you’re up against a player who bets recklessly and consistently with too many weak hands. Despite being weak, those cards still have equity, and if you don’t check-raise, you are allowing your opponent to realize his equity.
So, which cards should you over-raise with?
Texas Holdem Poker Tips – Overcall-raise for value
You should heavily prefer to over-raise with your strong hand, such as two pair or better. It may also be a good idea to overcall-raise with the top pair with the biggest kicker on a small public board (such as an A9 on a 9-3-2 flop). But you shouldn’t stop there: after choosing the hand you want to pursue for value, you should then choose your bluffing hand.
Texas Holdem Poker Tips – Overcall-raise as a bluff
The best bluff cards are the ones with good winning odds and a chance to improve to a straight or flush. These are usually card straight hearings, two-end straight hearings and flush hearings, but it helps to have one or two high cards (overcard). However, you shouldn’t overcall-raise with all your listening cards. Instead, you should find a way to randomly choose your overcards. For example, you can overcall-raise with a straight with a backdoor flush, and overcall-call with a straight without a backdoor flush.
Pocket pairs and flush straights are a moneymaker for multi-player pots
Obviously, as more and more players enter the pot, the higher the likelihood of someone hitting a super hand (such as two pair and better). Here’s how this dynamic should affect your pre-flop starting hand selection.
When the pot is likely to be a multi-player pot, you should primarily play hands that have a high probability of getting two pair or better in the hand. Which cards have a higher probability of hitting a superb hand?
- Pocket Pairs
- Flush straights
Pocket pairs are particularly strong cards in multiplayer bottom pots, as they hit dark threes on the flop circle 11.8% of the time. In contrast, a hand like JTo (o stands for off suit, meaning different suits) only gets two pairs or better on the flop 4.8% of the time. Now look at flush draws. To illustrate the power of flush straights, let’s compare two versions of the same hand: the non-flush QT and the flush QT.
The flush QT gets a strong or hearing hand on the flop circle 26.3% of the time, compared to the non-flush QT which only gets a strong or hearing hand on the flop circle 16.9% of the time. This is a 55% increase (relative to the non-flush QT) on a flop that is extremely favorable to the flush QT, which would make the flush QT a better play in a multi-player pot.
Overcall-raise with a listening hand after calling a 3bet
Playing too passively after calling a 3bet from an unfavorable position is detrimental to your win rate. You must overcall-raise with most of your strong cards, while balancing your range with your hearing cards. Over-raising with a balanced range will make life tough for your opponents because they can’t tell if you are holding a strong hand or a bluff. Conversely, unbalancing may make your play transparent and prevent you from extracting maximum value with strong hands.
Consider overbetting when you have the “nut advantage”
Overbetting works well on public hands that favor your range over your opponent’s range, especially if you can get the strongest hand. This is called having a “nut advantage” in Texas Hold’em.
For example, let’s say you raise preflop in back position, your opponent calls, and the flop comes Q-J-T. You have the nut advantage on this flop because your opponent should never have AK, QQ, JJ, and TT – he’s likely to 3bet preflop with those cards.
Your overbetting range should be bipolar, consisting of only strong cards and bluffs. Using such a large scale allows you to get the most value with your value cards while generating the most fold wins with your bluffs.
The most effective overbetting bluffs are usually the ones that block your opponent’s most likely strong hand. The best example of this is using a nut flush blocker on a three-flush public board (e.g. A♦K♠ on a Q♦8♦2♣6♦3♠ public board).