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
Often times, at the lower levels, players are not advanced enough to lead with big hands. And, if they do happen to lead with a monster, they are too scared of getting drawn out on, telegraphing their hand and making it easy for you to fold. When an opponent donk bets into you after you have raised preflop on a board where the high card hits your raising range normally they are leading with some sort of draw or top pair. If I have raised with a hand like A:x: Q:x: and an opponent donk leads into me on a high, two flush board more often then not this represents top pair or a flush draw. Therefore, if I feel like I am ahead of most aces I may raise the flop with a hand as thin as A:x: T:x: or A:x: J:x: as most players are not capable of bet-folding top pair. Those types of players who lead are not going to just toss their hands for a small raise. So not only do we build a bigger pot up against a weaker made hand but we also get value from the draws.
Recently, there has been a great fear amongst better players of never making an action that gets weaker to fold and only better to continue on. While this approach to a hand is good people underestimate what their opponents will call with and overestimate what their opponents will fold. Let us look at an example. Say we raise in a $5-$5 game with $800 effective stacks to $20 with A♠ Q♠ . A field player in the middle calls and the big blind calls. The flop comes out Q♣ 5♦ 2♦ and the blind leads out for $35. Against better players it is sometimes best to flat here to protect your stack and disguise the strength of your hand. However, against your typical live opponent at $5-$5 if you bump it up to say $85 not only are you going to get a call from K:x: Q:x: or Q:x: J:x: but you do not price your opponent in behind you with a draw. This is even more true when there are several callers behind you. If you just flat a donk lead from the out of position player opponents behind can sometime get an incredible price to peel.
Now, what happens if the player from out of position now three bets your raise? Since most players at this level do not play their draws fast in a lot of situations we can actually fold our hands. Are we turning our hands into a bluff then you may ask? No, we are raise-folding for value as we feel that we can definitely be called by worse–but once we get reraised we realize that our hand is no longer best.
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By Bart Hanson
Posted Jan 12, 2013
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By Bart Hanson
Posted Oct 12, 2012