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Getting More Bread & Butter in Your Poker Play Sessions | Podcast #187


Sky Matsuhashi

on May 17, 2018

In this episode, I discuss how to get more Bread & Butter out of your poker play sessions and how to avoid non-B&B spots.

Download and listen to this episode as you follow along below.


You control your actions (2:30)

You might not realize it, but every tough spot and every favorable spot you find yourself in is due to your own choices.

  • Got to the flop with JJ as the preflop caller in the BB? Your own doing.
  • Got to the flop in position with AK versus 5 others? Your own doing.
  • Got to the flop with 22 on the AK2 board after 3betting preflop? Your own doing.

You control your actions in every hand you play.

You can purposefully put yourself in more B&B situations and you can actively avoid non-B&B situations.


Getting More Bread & Butter (3:30)

First: Play with a B&B mindset.

This is when you search for and put yourself in the most profitable of situations: in position on the flop, as the preflop raiser and against 1 or 2 players.

Second: Create ranges for open raising and 3betting.

Creating ranges off the felt allows you to free your mind for important in-game factors to consider.

For your ranges, you want to Open Raise and Isolate more from the CO and BTN, so your ranges should be wider here.  From the MP and earlier, stay nice and tight.  You can do on-the-fly range adjustment if your opponents are allowing you to get in more B&B spots.

For open raising, I recommend at least a 20% in the CO and 30% on the BTN).  For 3betting, I recommend 3%+ in the CO and 6% or greater on the BTN.  You can increase your BB ranges as well when the only player you’re facing is the SB.

Open raising range recommendations:

  • EP through MP: 12%
  • CO: 20%
  • BTN: 30%

12% EP open raising range


31% BTN open raising range


20% CO open raising range

Before you click RAISE, consider how the remaining opponents will respond.  Look at stats like 2bet Call and Preflop 3bet by position.  This can tell you so much more than just the total stat percentage.

Third: In-game play

Assess your table and label it a B&B Table or not.  A B&B Table is one that lets you put yourself in lots of B&B spots.  So, it gets folded to you a lot and the players don’t fight back or call your open raises and 3bets too frequently.  You can also open more from the MP like in the Hijack if the CO & BTN are foldy.

If a hand is in your range, first consider if it’s a good situation.  Just because it’s in your range doesn’t mean it’s worth playing.  Consider your opponents and the situation first.

Actively search for situations where you can open raise and 3bet more frequently with hands outside of your ranges.  Look for players to your right who have tight ranges and fold a lot preflop.  It’s also good when they open raise wide but fold to your in position 3bets a lot.

Bet Sizing

You can’t control your opponent’s actions, but you can influence their decisions with optimal bet sizing that will give you what you want.  If the BTN loves to 3bet CO open raises, open for more like 3.5bb or 4bb if you don’t want to face the 3bet.  If in the HJ and the CO and BTN call too frequently, then open raise or isolate bigger.

3bet more often when you can to give you B&B as well as avoid multi-way pots where you’re the caller.  Look to do this more in the CO and BTN.  Maybe KQ is a calling hand in your range.  You can turn calling hands into 3betting hands if it’s profitable to do so.

The critical question to ask yourself before clicking RAISE with a calling hand is:

How will the player respond?

If they can call with worse, then it’s absolutely fine to turn your AJs calling hand into a value 3betting hand and simultaneously put yourself in a B&B situation.  And if they fold, great!  If you were bluffing with your 3bet, then you just earned a 4.5bb pot without even needing to see the flop.  If you were value betting and they folded, oh well.  At least you earned their chips easily instead of allowing them to cbet and take down the pot in case you missed the flop.

3bet in the BB more versus SB open raises (these are wide ranges that will often fold to 3x 3bets).

Sticky Note for your sessions this week:

Get more Bread & Butter: IP on the flop, with the opportunity to Cbet and against 1 or 2 players.


Avoiding Non-Bread & Butter (17:50)

To avoid non-B&B situations, it’s pretty simple: call less often.  But what can happen to some of us is we look down at a hand like J9s and QTs and A8o and we imagine the possibilities.  We need to not allow ourselves to get suckered into making seemingly +EV calls with hands that are hard to play and in situations that will be hard to extract value out of.

Some people treat calling like a default play.  It’s suited?  I call.  Connected?  I call.  Random AX hand?  I call.  Pocket Aces?  I 3bet.  Calling must never be a default play.  You’re giving your opponent initiative on the next street, and we all know how much easier it is to take a pot down when you bet with initiative.  Don’t give other players this advantage without good cause.

First: Create calling ranges that limit your calling opportunities.

You know that calling is a not-as-profitable play, so limit how often you do this.

Calling ranges can be bigger when in position on the flop, but if you’re expecting to be out of position, keep them very tight.  Also, you want to call tight because your call can cause a cascade of calls.  Multi-way pots are harder to win, and you called, so it's anti-B&B in these situations.

BTN call vs CO open


4.4% EP calling range

Second: Utilize the calling ranges in-game

If a hand falls outside of the calling ranges you set, your first instinct is to fold.

But, if your hand falls within the range, before clicking CALL, ask yourself this incredibly important question:

“Why am I calling here?”

If you’re thinking about getting involved in a non-B&B spot, you must have a great reason for doing so.

Great reasons to call:

  • My hand is ahead of Villain’s range (AQ when Villain has every Ace in their range).
  • I’m disguising my incredibly strong hand against an aggressive post-flop player (AA).
  • If I 3bet this value hand, the opponent is folding all worse and only calling with better (JJ vs QQ+ continuance range).

Bad reasons to call:

  • I don’t want to fold!
  • I can hit a miracle hand (J8s, 96s, 87o)
  • It’s only 1bb, so what if I’m out of position against 4 other players (in the BB with J4o against a min-open and 3 callers)

Visualize post-flop play before you click CALL.  What boards help you and hinder your opponent?  How will they likely play the flop?  Look at stats and history.  What position will you be in?  How can you possibly bluff or get value post-flop in this spot?


Challenge (26:05)

Here’s my challenge to you for this episode:  Create open raising and 3bet ranges that are tight in the EP and MP but increase a lot in the CO and BTN.  You can increase your BB ranges as well when the only player you’re facing is the SB.  Play your sessions this week with a B&B mindset: try to put yourself into as many B&B situations as you can.  And try to avoid those non-B&B situations by constricting your calling ranges and maybe turn some calling hands into 3betting hands.  Don’t forget to use that sticky note: Get more B&B: in position on the flop, with the opportunity to cbet and against 1 or 2 players.

Now it’s your turn to take action and do something positive for your poker game.


Support the Show

Laura Clarke picked up my “Poker Mathematics Webinar” and she got $5 off by going through this link:  Thank you so much, Laura.


Sky Matsuhashi

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