The key to improving poker is efficient learning, which is surprisingly difficult. One of the reasons is that we can easily get stuck in a pile of training materials full of theories and concepts. Another reason is that many training resources are incomplete because they lack the important element of turning theoretical knowledge off the table into real results on the table.
These shortcomings are problems that the Upswing Poker Lab poker training website created by Doug Polk and Ryan Fee aims to solve. Upswing PokerbLab members can learn practical training courses that are well structured and very practical. These contents are divided into “modules” that cover many topics, and also provide instructions on how to apply the learned knowledge. What’s even cooler is that the coaches who created these modules are all big names in the poker world, including: Doug Polk, Ryan Fee, Parker “tonkaaaap” Talbot (tournament expert) and Fried Meulders (six-person table cash poker expert).
The strategy we will discuss today is based directly on the Lab module. The concepts emphasized by these strategies will directly improve your equity.
1. Don’t play all flush draws in the same way
Strictly speaking, all flush draws are just first-hand draws, but this does not mean that they should all be played in the same way. Let’s consider these types of flush draws:
l Nut flush draw
l 6 high flush draw
l A single flush flush draw with a single suit on a common face (eg A♥ 8♥ 3♥ K♥ Q on the flop).
l A flush draw with a pair
Although some flush draws do not seem to have significant differences in card power, all of these flush draws have different card powers, and they require different strategies in actual combat. This concept will be introduced in Lab’s “How to Play Flush Draw” module.
Let’s take a look at two examples that prove this concept.
Assuming that the button player raises first, we call with A♥ 2♥ in the big blind. The flop is K♥ 7♥ 3♠. What should we do?
Given that our hole cards have some showdown value, it is advisable to check-call with nut flush.
Now suppose we hold 6♥ 5♥. Because our 6 high cards don’t have any showdown value, we can do a check-raise semi-bluff, because we have a good winning percentage against our opponents.
In addition, by bluffing with our weaker flush draws and calling with our stronger draws, we have won the fold equity of weak draws. The card that benefits the most).
2. When the public card structure is beneficial to oneself, make an excess bet on the river
Overbet on the river is a complex but highly effective strategy that allows you to maximize the value of nut cards while generating as much value as possible when you hold a bluff card.
Over-bet is especially effective when the community structure is particularly favorable to your range rather than your opponent’s range. A common example is when a player in a favorable position bets continuously and the river completes a straight draw that a player in an unfavorable position cannot get.
For example: suppose you first raise with A♦ 9♣ at the button position, and then the big blind player (120BB chips) calls. The flop is Q♥ J ♠ 6♥, you and your opponent check. The turn is 10♠, the big blind player bets, and you call with a straight draw at both ends. The final river card is 5♦ and the big blind player bets again.
The river is a perfect occasion to over-raise, because you may get a nut straight (you should almost always play AK in this way), and your opponent cannot get a nut straight (if he gets the AK , He will do 3bet before the turn). When you really play like this with AK and get a call, you will win a huge pot. At the same time, you can also over-raise with many bluffs to put your opponent in a very uncomfortable situation.
Doug dismantled dozens of examples of over-betting strategies in a module dedicated to explaining this concept, so you can confidently make over-betting on various occasions.
3. In multi-player pots, reduce your continuous betting limit
In Texas Hold’em, multiplayer pots are the most prone to mistakes. In order to solve this problem, Ryan and Doug created a module dedicated to explaining the multiplayer pot gameplay.
One of the most common problems that many players (even professional players) commit is to make continuous bets that are too large on the flop against two or more players. There are two obvious benefits of using a smaller continuous bet scale:
l You use a cheap price to force your opponent to give up the pot.
l You can make a hand from the edge (these cards will make you feel uncomfortable if you make a larger amount of bets).
Example: Suppose you raise with A♠ A♥ at the CO position and you get two calls: the button player and the big blind player. The flop is 10♣ 9♣ 8♣, both opponents check and it is your turn to act.
Considering that many cards in the opponent’s range have already overtaken your AA, it is extremely dangerous to make a normal-sized bet on this flop. But check is not an attractive option, because there will be a lot of turns on the turn that scare you.
Therefore, making a small bet is the perfect choice: you evict some cards with a certain winning percentage, such as K♠ Q♠ and 6♣ 6♦, and it is easier to squeeze more cards from such cards as K♠ 10♠ The value of the street (assuming that subsequent public cards are completely harmless).