Something a little bit different today from the MicroMillions (I'll do a 2 day blog tomorrow but nothing much has happened!). Really enjoying poker at the moment, as I'm playing so much of it and definitely learning a lot of things as I go.

 

Blocking Bets

I have been finding a lot in my 6-max sit-n-gos recently the sort of below hand happens frequently, particularly against really aggressive players. Check it out.

Pretty standard action. I have a decent pocket pair, position and the initiative pre flop. A king hits the flop but I am checked too and I c-bet, which is called. I am checked to on the turn, but instead of firing again I check behind. I have now lost the initiative, I look weak, and when my opponent blasts the river I really don't know where I am. On this occassion I call and I'm good but often times I will end up folding what might possibly be the best end, simply because a weak player has blasted it in and I don't know where I am. 

This is another one from my MicroMillions deep run the other night. My 3 bet might look loose pre-flop but he was opening 68% so it felt like a good hand to defend my button with: you have to start playing back sometime! On the flop he checks to me, I bet 40% with top pair no kicker, he calls. The kings comes on the flop potentially completing a straight draw, setting up a flush draw, and also making two-pair for broadway hands, so when the turn is checked to me I check behind. But now I have lost initiative! Now I am second to act on the river, and the villain takes advantage of my turn weakness. When another heart comes on the river completing a flush draw, he blusts all in, 4x the pot. I think he probably had Kx or Qx, but I have no way of knowing, and this deep into the tournament with 40bb still remaining it would be a huge gamble to call, and so I lose a pot that was worth 50% of my stack! If I had played the turn more aggressively, I would have had a chance.

So here is one thing I have discovered you can do to make sure you get your marginal hands to showdown a bit cheaper.

I open pre-flop with a suited ace and the big blind defends. I hit bottom pair on a relatively safe board and c-bet half the pot when checked too. On the turn a king comes which I'm definitely not thrilled about but the board doesn't complete any straights or flushes yet and I have showdown value. The villain checks. Now on my previous hands I just checked it back, showing weakness and setting the villain up for a big river bet and leaving me guessing. Here, instead I out in a small turn c-bet when checked to, which the villain calls. But crucially this means I still have the initiative on the river, and the villain is more likely to check to me rather than put in a big bet to steal as I've only shown strength so far. The river doesn't improve my hand, but because I have initiative the villain checks to me, and I can check behind to see if my hand is good rather than pay out more chips.

I'm sure for many people this is standard but I've just discovered it so I am happy. What do people think? Is betting the turn to get a low pair to showdown spewy?