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
So you c-bet the flop and get called, should you double barrel?
The turn is a critical card for the preflop aggressor, as a double barrel can make the pot much larger, while a check can slow action down and keep the pot smaller. Here we’re going to run through several considerations for turn barreling. Try working through this thought process into your next turn barrel spot!
1. How Multiway Was the Flop?
When you face one caller and go to the flop heads up, there’s not much information to be gained when you c-bet and your opponent calls. However, in multiway flop configurations you can gain a ton of insight by observing the actions your opponents took on the flop. Say for example, we c-bet from the Hijack and the Button calls with players left to act behind. We can safely assume that this range is pretty strong, and that the Button will have a lot of value hands that could call a turn barrel. This is because players typically call much tighter with players left to act than if they’re closing the action. If we c-bet from the Hijack, the Button calls, and then the Big Blind calls, we can assume that the Button’s range is much stronger than the Big Blind’s, who can safely call and see a turn card closing the action. Think carefully about what actions your opponents took preflop and on the flop, and make your assumptions of their ranges before barreling. Let’s look at an example.
You raise in the Hijack with A♦ A♥, and the Button and Big Blind call. The flop is K♠ 4♦ 2♣. You c-bet, and the Button calls.
The Button’s range is likely to be very top pair heavy on this dry, top pair static board, meaning that you can extract a lot of value by betting big on the turn. If the Big Blind had called instead, we would be more worried about lower cards on the turn that might improve the Big Blind’s hand, since their calling range will be wider closing the action. We can also assume that if the Button calls, the Big Blind can call a similarly wide range closing the action, while the Button is going to still be heavily weighted towards Kx combos.
2. Does the Turn Change the Board?
Is the turn card connected or disconnected to the flop? Did it bring in any straights or flushes? Could your opponent have improved to two pair? These are all questions you’ll want to ask yourself before firing off your double barrel. Connectivity of the board is incredibly important, and will dictate a lot of your decisions on the turn.
For example, let’s say you’ve got K♥ K♠ on Td 9d 3s, in a multiway pot with two callers on the flop. On an offsuit 8 or 9 turn, you’re going to want to proceed cautiously, since both of your opponents could have made straights and two pair combos after floating the flop. It might be wise to check pocket kings on a turn like this, to protect against getting raised and pot control. If the turn is disconnected, like an offsuit 2, we can safely double barrel and let our opponents tell us if they’ve got a monster. Bet-folding is an underused strategy, especially at low stakes, and we’re going to want to get value from top pair hands, but over-fold versus big turn raises when playing lower stakes.
3. Who has the Range Advantage and Nut Advantage?
As the preflop aggressor, high disconnected turn cards will give us a decent range advantage, allowing us to double barrel more liberally. Lower cards will give our opponents the range advantage more often than not, since they’ll be continuing with a wider range when cold calling and defending the blinds. For example if we’re Under the Gun facing a Big Blind defend, on a board of 8-7-3-6, the Big Blind has the range advantage since they’ll be defending a lot of hands that connect with this board.
On that same board of 8-7-3-6, the Big Blind is likely to have the nut advantage as well, meaning they’re likely to have more nutted combos than us. They can have 87, 86, 87, T9, and all the sets, while we will have fewer of these combos when raising Under the Gun. We don’t have to always check turn when the range or nut advantage shifts to our opponent, but we do need to bet smaller and protect our checking range with some good hands, especially when out of position. However, if after the same 8-7-3 flop the turn came an offsuit K (8-7-3-K), as the preflop aggressor we can double barrel more liberally, since that card gives us the range advantage.
Hopefully this article helped you gain a basic understanding of how to think about turn decisions. If you’d like to learn more, check out the full breakdown in CLP Podcast Episode 546: A Turn Bet Matrix.
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