It’s much easier to cbet bluff when your opponent misses the board. In this episode I discuss opponent calling ranges and the board texture.
In episode 133 I kicked off the 6th Minimum Effective Dose by discussing the most important principles behind profitable Cbets. Listen to that episode before this one.
When are Cbet Bluffs Most Successful? (2:20)
When They Fear What You May Have
- Indications: Stats and tendencies – If they fold a lot to cbets or fold in general. Their stats will tell you what type of player they are. NIT’s and TAG’s fold a lot, FISH and LAG’s not so much.
- Indication: The board textures hit your opening range. When you open, you have lots of Aces, Kings and Queens and big PP's in your range. If the board comes all big cards, this likely hit you squarely so if they’ve got nothing, they’re folding.
When They Are OOP
- Indications: Look for players who fold a lot when OOP. Make sure your popup has their Fold to Cbet and Fold to Bet stats broken down by IP and OOP. You want to bluff players who fold a lot when OOP.
When They Have Nothing on This Board
- Indications: The wider their pre-flop calling ranges are, the less likely they hit the board with any real strength. But you’ve got to watch out because wide calling ranges are indicative of stickiness, so these players won’t readily fold with any pair as long as they think you may have not hit the flop.
- Indications: Their pre-flop calling range doesn’t interact well with the board. Understanding range and board interaction is critical in deciding whether or not to cbet bluff. Beyond your opponent’s approach to post-flop play and their stats, this is super important.
Board Texture Matters (4:50)
The first thing you do before you cbet is consider how the cards on the board hit their pre-flop calling range.
Coordinated boards (or wet boards) are bad to cbet bluff. Why is this?
Think about why our opponent called pre-flop. They clearly DID NOT want to 3bet for value or as a bluff. They called because they want to see the flop, right? Are they calling with 92o? J4o? AA? Probably not. They’re calling with the same types of hands you call with; sc’s, suited Aces and Kings, broadways and small-medium pp’s.
Since this is what they’re calling, our bluff cbets will have a better chance of working on board textures that do not hit these types of hands.
Example: 5.7% range on two different boards
This small range consists of small-medium pp’s and suited connectors:
Which board is better to cbet bluff on? An A92r board, or the 678ss (two tone) board? Yes, the A92r. Most of this range's pp’s are below the 9, so they’re less likely to call. The best draws they can have are 3 to the straight and 3 to the flush, making it less likely they’ll stick around to draw out. And maybe they could have a set of 9’s or 2’s, but the other 6 pp’s in their range didn’t flop a set. And if we’re IP, all the more reason for them to be check/folding here.
And regarding that other board of 678 two tone, the range flops tons of pair+draw hands, gs’s, sets and 2p hands.
They ain’t folding here, so we ain’t bluffing.
Bottom line; cbet bluff on boards that don’t hit the opp’s calling ranges.
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Board Texture Spreadsheet (8:15)
This table shows you how often a 5% calling range “Hits” 11 different flops. “Hits” = TP+ and OESD+. It also shows you how often the range flops TP+, Middle Pair+, an OESD or a FD. The reason why we want to look at these individual hand strengths is because these are the ones our opp’s are more likely to stay in the pot with. Knowing these individual ones helps to further our understanding of how well the range hits.
This first table contains how often a narrow 5% 2bet calling range hits the various flops. The rest of the spreadsheet contains ranges for 13%, 22% and 33% 2bet calling ranges. As you can see, there are 11 distinct board textures with an example of each on the spreadsheet.
The goal with filling out and using this sheet is to get a good idea of how different 2bet calling ranges hit these various boards. I completed this table using Flopzilla, which is the best software available to help understand ranges and board interaction.
5% on the High & Dry Board Texture
Our opponent has a tiny 5% range on a High & Dry A92r. We see that this range only “Hits” at 10%. On an Ace high board, the only things it can hit at TP+ are sets, in this instance namely 99 and 22. It can’t flop oesd’s or even gs draws, and being a rainbow board and a pp filled range it can’t flop flush draws either. So, this is a great board to cbet bluff because they hardly ever hit anything good.
For just TP+ it’s only 10%. And Middle Pairs flop 40% of the time. That makes sense as it has 3 pairs below the Ace and above the 9. It flops OESD 0% of the time and FD’s at 0% as well. All of this tells us that cbet bluffing on High & Dry boards should be very profitable against such small ranges.
5% on the Low & Wet Board Texture
This one is 754 two tone, which means there are two of one suit and one of another. Now, this 5% range “Hits” the board at 90% of the time. That makes sense because it’s got many overpairs, 3 different sets it can hit as well as an OESD with 66. This board is super dangerous to cbet bluff at against a tiny 5% range.
And if we break this down further, it hits TP+ at 68%; Middle Pair + at 80%; an OESD only 11% of the time and a FD never. So, this range flops mostly made hands and only one good draw, making it really tough to successfully bluff at.
You can see the value of doing this type of Range on Board analysis with Flopzilla.
Flipping the Script for Value Cbets (13:05)
Everything until now has been about cbet bluffing.
But, what if you’ve got a value hand and you want to extract the max from your opponent?
Simple, you just flip the script on everything.
If it’s likely your opponent hit something, then bet. If they’re going to raise a lot of your cbets on this board, then bet. If they’re going to call with all of their draws and mediocre hands, then bet. If they’re unbelieving and call 90% of flops, then bet.
But, if the board is bad or if they fold a ton, don’t bet. Possibly let them catch something worth staying in with on the turn.
You want to get value and that is so much easier when your opponent hit the board or they’re a station. Use your knowledge of their calling range as well as their post-flop stats to get a good idea of whether they’ll pay you off or not.
Here’s my challenge to you for this episode:
Download the Board Texture Spreadsheet. Then open up Flopzilla and get to work completing the three remaining tables. Save, print and use this spreadsheet to crush your pre-flop callers in every future session.
Now it’s your turn to take action and do something positive for your poker game.
The NUTTS (Notably Urgent Things To Study 15:10)
So, to continue your studies into cbetting, here are two very good articles that I think you should read.
- “The Continuation Bet” written by Tom Leonard on pokerology.com. This is a great article and there’s an interesting section called “Reverse Engineering” which is about understanding how your opponents might be trying to manipulate you with their own cbet tendencies.
- “Continuation Betting Tips” by Greg Walker on ThePokerBank.com. There are 5 really good tips here to make you a better cbettor. One of those is “Don’t be put off when your opponent calls a cbet bluff.” Great stuff in this part about the mindset behind cbet bluffing.
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Book Reviews – Schahin Zarkesch, Ahatlar Ahmet, Kevin Blakeny, Mark Warner and Matt Tagliaferri
In podcast #135, I’ll hit class #3 in the Cbet MED when I discuss planning for the future and making double-barrel cbets.
Until next time, study smart, play much and make your next session the best one yet.
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