Combo Bet

Bets can sometimes be made in multiway pots that get better to fold and weaker to call in the form of draws. As crazy as...

Posted Feb 18, 2018

Contributor

Bart Hanson

Bart Hanson

Owner and Lead Pro

Bets can sometimes be made in multiway pots that get better to fold and weaker to call in the form of draws.

As crazy as it sounds, there are unique situations that come up where you can make an aggressive move that gets a better hand to fold and a weaker hand (usually in the form of a draw) to call. When David Tuchman and I used to broadcast Live at the Bike in 2005-2006 we called this play a “combo bet”.

I had a situation two weeks ago at the Hollywood Park Casino in Los Angeles that gave me the opportunity to pull this move. The game was $5-$10-$20 and a tight, nitty villain (V1) opened ($4000) to $65 from under the gun. The player to his direct left (V2) called with a short stack ($500). Two other players called, each with about $4000, and I completed the action in the straddle getting a good price with A 9.

The flop came out 9 2 8 giving me top pair and the backdoor nut flush draw. I checked and V1 bet $175. Because this player was so tight I knew that he was not making a continuation bet on this texture with just air into four people. At a minimum I thought he had two over cards and a flush draw, but more likely held an overpair. The player to his left called and the other players in the field folded. Normally I would think that I was beaten here and would have just mucked. However I had something going with the properties of my hand.

Because I had the ace of diamonds I knew that V1 could not have the nut flush draw, skewing him to having more value hands on the flop. I also knew that because V2 called, if I chose to raise it would look like I was almost never bluffing as the preflop raiser knew that V2 would be calling it off. And lastly I had a lot more strong value combinations in my range, completing from the straddle last to act then the preflop raiser. I would complete here with 98os giving me a full eighteen value combinations of sets and two pair. Because V1 was so nitty it was unlikely he would raise 22 from UTG only leaving him with sets of eights and one combo of a set of nines because I blocked a nine.

So for those reasons I thought that this was a great spot to pull a combo raise to $600. I also realized that even if V1 called I could really but a ton of pressure on him by barreling diamonds off on the turn, as he most likely would be bluff catching me with an overpair. He thought about it for a while and with a pained look agonizingly folded. I am almost 100% certain he had a hand like TT-AA. V2 of course called, and we ended up chopping the pot as he had A9 (which was probably the best hand that he could have).

So if you ever get into a similar spot examine the properties of your hand. Does it block some of the set combinations that the preflop raiser could have? Can you represent two pair or greater from the position you called from preflop? Can you barrel future flush cards if your raise gets called on the flop? If the answer to these questions is yes, and especially if you have completed from one of the blinds where your range is wider, you may be able to successfully leverage this play to get a better hand to fold.

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