How to adjust to strange bet sizes?

  • How to adjust to strange bet sizes?

     Fernando Habegger updated 1 year, 7 months ago 2 Members · 2 Posts
  • Dasim

    June 10, 2020 at 10:10 am

    A lot of players are not using the suggested bet sizes and sometimes its is hard to put them on a range of hands. I would like to discuss how we should adjust our strategy when we are facing a big/pot size bet when we would not expect it.

    For example BTN opens RFI 55%, we defend in the BB JT93, FLOP AJ3r. We make a standard check expecting a check or something around 50% bet from the BTN. In this case BTN bets pot!

    Usually I would call here against half pot but against full pot I decided to fold. We might have the best hand right now but we cant stand aggression on turns or rivers and have to fold very often.

    I understand that vs the big sizing we need to be tighter, but in this example what would be our weakest hand to continue? A3 or KQJ3 with a BDFD?

    Second example would be we open CO KKJ3ds get 3bet from the BTN. FLOP J55r. I think we should be checking close to full range here OOP. Usual bet size from BTN would be 33% and against this bet we would continue with KKJ here. BTN decided to bet full pot!

    What is our reaction?


  • Fernando Habegger

    June 11, 2020 at 8:36 am

    Good question! The first thing to consider here is that we aren’t looking to exploit a bet size, but rather so a strategy.

    So if an opponent is betting for such a large amount on the flop, the main question is: is he betting enough bluffs, when using this sizing? If he doesn’t, and we hold a bluff catcher, or a hand that will remain a bluff catcher over most runouts, we are better of folding right on the flop. It’s minus EV to call a bunch of combos that will have to fold on many runouts against a value heavy range.

    If our opponent is bluffing enough the bet size (unlikely) – we are willing to continue wider. Realize, the larger he bets, the more bluffs he needs to incentive us to continue with bluff catchers. So our exploit on the flop would be to fold bluff catchers early against such a strategy.

    If we know he is not bluffing enough with his betting strategy, he most likely is too weak when checking. That’s where we exploit him by bluffing a bunch when he shows weakness.

    On this topic: I would also recommend you to read “Range Construction by Andrew Brokos (just released)

    Here is a quote from the book, this comes from a quiz section of the book about exploitation:



    Each player antes $1 and has $3 remaining in his or her stack. Opal is always dealt a K, while Ivan is randomly dealt either an A or a Q. Each knows the other’s range. There are two betting streets, but hands never change value. Opal always checks. Ivan may check or bet any amount between $1 to $3.


    2. Suppose Ivan bets $1 on the turn, and Opal knows his range consists of all his As and 1/3 of his Qs. How often should she call?


    Opal should fold 100% on the turn! Envision the equilibrium: Ivan should bet 7/9 of his Qs to make Opal indifferent between folding turn, calling turn to fold river, and calling turn to call river. Make a read: Ivan is not bluffing enough on the turn. Identify the exploit: We know that Ivan can profitably bet all his As and 1/3 of his Qs on the river, and with no insight into his strategy, we should assume that is what he will do. So, Opal should never call the turn planning to fold the river, because Ivan’s entire turn betting range should bet the river as well. She should assume her odds to see showdown are essentially $3 into an $8 pot, meaning she would need to win more than 3/8 of the time to profit. At best she will win the 1/4 of the time that Ivan has a Q, so she is better off folding right away. Determine the degree of deviation: Ivan’s deviation is small, but because Opal is indifferent between all options at equilibrium, even a small deviation prompts a big shift in her strategy. She has no incentive to call the turn, because she cannot expect to ever win the pot without putting in $3. Even with a read that Ivan were going to underbluff the river, it still would not be worth it for Opal to call the turn. The best-case scenario would be if she knew Ivan would never bluff the river, so she could still win the pot against his Qs but fold and avoid paying off the second bet against his As. In that case, her EV would be $0, so at best, she breaks even on her turn call. If Ivan bluffs even a little on the river, then she loses money. Many players act as if bluffing the turn obliges them to bluff again on the river. In fact, your turn betting range needs to include some bluffs that will give up on the river or else your opponent has no incentive to call the turn and fold the river. If your opponent knew you always bluffed the river after bluffing the turn, he could exploit you by never calling the turn with hands he did not plan to take to showdown.


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