Cbet OOP - Vulnerable Flops?

PapaGiorgioPapaGiorgio Red Chipper Posts: 101 ✭✭
I was playing a live 1/2 game and saw several situations where the PF raiser was OOP and had an opportunity to cbet the flop. The group coaching session talked about cbetting when your hand is more vulnerable, and the explanation of "vulnerability" during the webinar seemed to clear up some of my confusion. I saw two hands where I think a cbet is appropriate and want to see if my decision would be correct. In both hands, the PF raiser is OOP (he raised PF and was called by a mid or late position player)

Hand 1 Board: :JD::4D::7S:
In thinking of my own PF ranges, I think QQ+/AJ/KJ/QJ should be cbet because the board is vulnerable. If I have Top pair or overpair, then I would be afraid if a T,9, 8, 6, 5, 3 or diamond falls on the turn. Am I correct in thinking about vulnerability on this board and my decision to cbet?

Hand 2 Board: :AC::9S::4H:
On this board, I don't think a TP hand as vulnerable. That is, I don't think many cards can come on the turn that would threaten a hand like Top pair. Thus, I can plan to check-call AK/AQ/AJ. Is this the correct way to think about this hand?

Thanks for the help...


  • TheGameKatTheGameKat Posts: 4,249 -
    Moderation In Moderation
  • RoblivionRoblivion WisconsinRed Chipper Posts: 317 ✭✭✭
    edited August 2019
    Here are my thoughts.

    In the first example, when I think of hands that are vulnerable, I think more of hands like JT, 88-TT, etc. being that not only are they vulnerable to the possible draws available, but also to overcards. At least with QJ+, there are fewer overcards that will hurt your hand. If you did have something like AJ, I would definitely put some weight into whether you had the ace of diamonds or not.

    In hand 2, I would completely agree that your top pair hands are not vulnerable to many runouts. Whether or not to bet those hands would be dependent on more factors than just your hand's vulnerability though.
  • PapaGiorgioPapaGiorgio Red Chipper Posts: 101 ✭✭
    Thanks @Roblivion for your reply. Would the ace of diamonds increase or decrease the likelihood of a cbet?

    This question seems like it goes back to another recent post about having a flush blocker. I would think having the nut flush blocker is good for a few reasons. First, having the ace of diamonds reduces the number of flush draw combos in my opponents hand. As such, the density of the calling range would have more pairs+ and straight draws. I can cbet and be less worried if a diamond falls on the turn. Secondly, the ace of diamonds gives a redraw to the nut flush. So if my opponent turned a flush (for example with 98d), I still have equity because of the backdoor draw and possible fold equity (depending on the player type of course). So even for the second reason, I think the ace of diamonds adds more weight to a cbet. Am I on the right track in thinking about the blocker?
  • uglytunauglytuna Red Chipper Posts: 130 ✭✭
    This video by James Sweeney talks about CB OOP. I think you will find your answers after watching this video.
  • RoblivionRoblivion WisconsinRed Chipper Posts: 317 ✭✭✭
    I'd be more inclined to bet a hand without a diamond. If you've got :Ad in your hand, the flop checks through and a diamond falls, your hand is still looking pretty good. But if it checks through, a diamond falls and you don't have one, the board just got worse and it may be tricky to get to showdown on a lot of runouts.

    As you mentioned, when you unblock the flush draw, there are more flush draw hands that can call your bet, but that's a good thing, right?
  • BigDaddyBigDaddy Red Chipper Posts: 76 ✭✭
    Based on “The Course”, the first board is a dynamic type 2 board. The chances of top pair changing on the turn are material plus it has a FD. So yes, TP should bet this board.
    The second board is a static type 1 board. A TP hand on this dry board is less vulnerable. Great board to check and let lesser hand bet.
  • persuadeopersuadeo Red Chipper Posts: 4,337 ✭✭✭✭✭
    H1: This is pretty sketchy reasoning re cbetting. You can't "protect" against high equity continuation unless you make the cost of continuation not worth the protection. This means you are really protecting against hands that need a free card to be profitable, and therefore if you choose to bet all your top pair hands on boards like this, you just get destroyed.
  • persuadeopersuadeo Red Chipper Posts: 4,337 ✭✭✭✭✭
    H2: You have natural value bets with the specific hands you are turning into bluff catchers/range protection, so the idea is right and the application 100% backwards.
  • PapaGiorgioPapaGiorgio Red Chipper Posts: 101 ✭✭
    @persuadeo I'm trying to understand the logic of your comments for both hands. I also reread the Cbetting OOP quiz key again (I was one of the 4k who took it).

    There was one top pair good kicker hand (ATs on T9c5h) that is similar to H1. Reason given in the key to cbet is for value and protection. This example makes sense to me as K/Q/J and any club on the turn could drastically change our equity. But, I'm still left with the question: what top pair hands would do better as a check? In the hand, the actual player was in early position. My own range would have included AJs/KJs/QJs/JTs. Only JTs has backdoor straight potential. Would you suggest I check JTs and bet all the rest? Similarly, on a board of Jd8s4d, would I now check QJs and JTs?

    I don't really see a hand in the CBetting OOP quiz that I would say is similar to H2.
    As such, I'm having difficulty understanding why you say the application is backwards. Are you saying it would be better for me to bet my top pair good kicker? My initial thought is that I can check-call the top pair good kicker hands to (1.) protect my checking range, (2.) induce my opponent to bluff when they would have folded, and (3.) keep my opponent's range wide. If it's checked through, then I can bet the turn and might get called by weaker hands that would have folded to a cbet. I don't think top pair good kicker is necessarily 3 streets of value especially when OOP, and checking helps to keep the pot small.

    If you are saying that I need to bet top pair good kicker here for value, then I'm curious about my checking range. If I had to pick a Top pair range to check, and using some of the explanations in the cbetting quiz, I would say that A2/A3/A5 might be good checking hands. My top pair might be ahead, but if not, then I still have suckout potential. Moreover, if the most likely hands to call a cbet are Ax hands, then perhaps it makes sense to cbet top pair good kicker for value and check-call top pair weak kicker. Is this how I should be thinking about my decision to check/cbet?

    Thanks for the comments. I've spent several hours thinking, working ranges, and writing (many edits) this post. I feel like cbetting is still a leak in my game and I'm trying to eliminate it.
  • persuadeopersuadeo Red Chipper Posts: 4,337 ✭✭✭✭✭
    Well, you can only evaluate fairly in the context of range vs range, so asking yourself what pairs to bet is a bit like asking yourself which days to wake up on.

    On J74dd you have no two pairs and possibly no bottom sets, sharing the rest and have overpairs. The concentration of the villain's range will be centered on the jack, 6-9 sets, some rare two pairs, and great draws that play well against any cbet from any hand. So the ability of OOP to pour chips into the pot profitably is negligible. To combat this, OOP trends to want to check. If forced to bet pairs often as a strategy, I'd bet the better ones for obvious reasons, trending smaller in sizing, and be sure I was backing this up with many of the nut hands and draws I have that could otherwise check or bet large.

    Betting because your hand is vulnerable is a nice fish-frying technique I suppose, but isn't going to get you anywhere in the long run in poker because you're just trying to be overly merged and squeeze EV vs button clickers who have weaker responses than they should. Instead, I'd see the forest for the trees and realize I need to be putting less money in initially on this flop, not more, as my macro strategy. You can expect to get a lot of XRs in with strong and weak hands on both flop and turn, which, to bring this full circle, is precise because it's polarization, not the first bet, that has maximal denial anyway.
  • BigDaddyBigDaddy Red Chipper Posts: 76 ✭✭
    Your advice seems to be in direct conflict with @splitsuit and @edmiller on these types of situations. Not that all the RCP pros need to walk in lockstep, just making an observation.
    A main theme I took out of @splitsuit video is I need to cbet less, and I can understand the theory behind it, and am putting it into practice live with good results. But I think you do have to pick your spots, and IMO H1 is not one of those spots, particularly at live $1/2.
  • PapaGiorgioPapaGiorgio Red Chipper Posts: 101 ✭✭
    @BigDaddy I wouldn't say the advice is completely contrary to what's in CORE or in the PRO videos. Instead, I would say it's at the next level. As @persuadeo said, cbetting vulnerable holdings is "a valuable fish-frying technique". Against non-thinking opponents, I think this is a viable strategy.

    What happens if we cbet with AJh and face a raise? I think folding TPTK is too nitty, so you call. Say the turn is anything but A or J. When you check and the opponent bets, can you call? The pot was made larger because of the cbet, so this turn bet might be 50% or more of the effective stack. Would you feel comfortable calling the bet again? In this example, I don't think most 1/2 players will make this raise with anything weaker than two pair (I actually think many 1/2 players will call with two pair+ and then bet big on non-diamond turn), which is why "betting vulnerable flops" isn't exactly bad advice. In fact, I think you'll see many 1/2 players are more willing to call a bet with QJ/JT instead of betting themselves when it is checked to them, so betting flop gets money in now and increases EV while protecting your TPTK. But against thinking players, especially those capable of thinking about ranges and making these raises with weak pairs or worse, you have to move beyond the simple rules and consider how our range compares to their range. This helps to protect your hand by keeping the pot small and avoiding the big turn bet that we can't really call with TPTK. A thinking villain could be making these big bets with both value and bluffing range because, as persuadeo said, their range has a higher density of hands that play well on this board compared to our own range.

    So what started as a simple question about vulnerability (at least in my mind) has morphed into a more in-depth discussion of the mantra "tend to cbet vulnerable top pairs when OOP".
  • BigDaddyBigDaddy Red Chipper Posts: 76 ✭✭
    Thank you @papaGiorgio for that explanation.
    So it seems then that we are balancing competing concepts of hand protection vs. pot control, and against thinking opponents, pot control>hand protection. Excellent point.
    Checking will encourage aggression of course, which will lead to us c/c a lot. And I am to assume that playing hands in this manner and getting to showdown with TP frequently will slow down the aggression by thinking players, correct?

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