Tuesday, September 09, 2008

HUJ8: Postflop play

A lot of the money in hold'em cash games is made postflop, which is how it should be. Everything can change with the turn of a card or two, and later streets are also when the big bets go in. It's also appropriate that it's not easy to play postflop.

I remember before I played in my lone WSOP event, a $1,500 six-max tourney last year, my plan was to see some flops and "outplay my opponents postflop."

In retrospect, it's pretty funny that I uttered that phrase because I was probably a below-average player postflop. Instead, I tried to play preflop pots and in position to give myself an edge. But that edge didn't mean I knew how to handle relative hand strengths on various flop textures.

I'm getting a better idea of postflop play. That's one area where this heads-up challenge is vastly improving my game.

I'm working on recognizing the difference between top pair and second pair, between inducing a bluff and betting for value, between continuation betting on a paired flop and checking behind, between pot control and fastplays. Each hand is circumstantial, but I'm getting a better handle on how I should be thinking.

For example, on a dry flop, it's less likely that either you or your opponent hit a piece of it. At the same time, it's more likely that a player who hit a piece of the flop is going to see a showdown. So it becomes easier to bluff against a non-thinking opponent who will fold to pressure, and it becomes more difficult to bluff opponents who know the strength of Ace-high on a 722 flop.

Then I have to ask myself: if I have A6 on a 722 flop, do I want to continuation bet because my hand figures to be best and I'm happy to take it down? Or do I check behind and either bet or call the turn? What would I do with K6 in that situation? What would I do with 77? The idea that I should bet-bet-bet has gotten me in big trouble in the past.

Video: pr1nnyraiding ep. 7

As a more typical "sweat" type video, I felt more entertained by it but less educated than by previous episodes of the series. There were certainly a few nuggets that I want to remember:

_ Against an opponent who 3-bets frequently, his general cold-calling range can be something like 78-QT and low pockets.

_ Unconnected, unsuited hands with 9s in them _ K9, Q9 and J9 _ don't fare too well when cold-calling out of position. Just folding is usually better.

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