Owner and Lead Pro
Professional Cash game trainer Bart Hanson has been producing strategy content for over fifteen years. He first started on Live at the Bike! back in 2005, then moved on to host "Cash Plays" on Poker Road, then "Deuce Plays" on Deuces Cracked and then to CrushLivePoker in 2012.
In his career as a professional poker player, Bart Hanson has:
-6 WSOP Final Tables
-Over 15 years of experience at the table
-Over $1,000,000 in tournament earnings
-Multiple appearances on ESPN and Poker Night in America
-4th place finish in 2019 WSOP Monster Stack
One of the things that you want to do to become a better poker player is to stop thinking of situations as "standard" or "automatic". Each scenario in a hand is different and taking some rote line like you are multitabling twenty eight tables of online poker is not "optimal".
One of the standard lines that I commonly see players take is always continuation betting a draw after being the preflop raiser--no matter what the situation. Now it is generally good to be aggressive in holdem as most players do indeed miss the flop. But you have to examine the complexities of each continuation betting situation.
Let us take a look at a few examples. Say three people limp in in front of you in a $5-$5 no limit game. You decide to raise to $35 on the button with K♦ Q♦. The big blinds call as well as all of the limpers. Effective stacks are $800. The flop comes out 3♦ 4♦ 6♣. Everyone checks to you. What is our best play here? Even though we have a flush draw and two over cards our over cards fair not to be any good against a reasonable check raising range. We also are not a favorite to be able to make a continuation bet and get through everyone and it would not be ideal to get raised off of our hand. I think this is one of the most overlooked spots in flop play. When the board comes out straightening facing heat and multiple opponents you must disregard your over cards as viable outs. Now, if you take the card in the above example with K♦ Q♦, your flush draw is hidden and you will not get blown off of your hand.
Let us look at another example from a hand I played a few weeks ago that does not involve a flush draw board. It was $5-$10 no limit at the Commerce Casino and once again I had KQ but this time of spades. Two people limped in front of me and I made it $50 from the button. Both of the blinds called and the limpers called. The flop came out J♦ T♠ 2♣ and it got checked to me. Now normally this is a pretty good flop for KQ--open ended to the nuts with two over cards. However, the same concept of bad over cards applies here. I do not want to bet and get check raised off of my hand and by checking the flop back I do disguise it somewhat. It got checked through. The turn was the 9♥. It got checked to the guy to my right and he bet $150 with $1000 left in his stack. I then raised to $400, everyone folded and he called. River was 5♦. He checked and I moved him in for $600. He did not take long and called with a set of deuces. The non bet really worked out for me on the flop.
Now you never want to fall into passive play. Still, when you are headsup or against only a few players betting as a semibluff is a strong option since most people do miss the flop. Do not get into bad habits of checking say A♠ Q♠ on a K♠ 7♠ 2♥ board. You want to represent boards that really smack a preflop raising range.
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