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Thread: When to raise a C-bet?

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    bambini's Avatar
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    Default When to raise a C-bet?

    Here's a question for both ring and SNGs respectively.

    In situations where you're not the pre-flop aggressor, when should you raise/check-raise a c-bet? I'm noticing that I don't really seem to have a clear strategy here, so would be interested in your own approaches

    I've been looking at my own play and have noticed that I tend to raise a c-bet in the following situations:

    - When I'm in a weak position (like SB) with a decent hand and want to take down the pot.

    - When I have a reasonable but vulnerable hand, like on a flop.

    - When I have 2-pair or a set on a wet board, like on a flop.

    If I flop a straight or better, I almost always slowplay, and if I flop a set on a dry board I slowplay probably 30% of the time.

    Thoughts?
    Last edited by bambini; Jun 3rd, 2013 at 09:35 PM.
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    bambini's Avatar
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    Sorry to keep replying to my own thread, but I forgot to say that in my OP I'm referring to general strategy - stack sizes, reads and the blind levels (in tourneys) of course all affect my decision.
    "Never play cards with a guy who has the same first name as a city" - Coach Finstock, Teen Wolf

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    RyckyRych's Avatar
    RyckyRych is offline Retired Micro Grinder
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    I don't like your first example really, mainly because I'm not calling a raise with ace-rag. Why? Because now you are in a tricky spot. Are you ahead or behind? If you raise his c-bet he usually folds without the ace (he figures you have it) or calls/reraises you with a better ace (not always, but you have a 9 kicker... do you really like your hand?)

    I will check raise often with a set as in example two (for good reason) but I will also very often do so with my own draw, like if I had AT there. I will protect two pair also on a wet board. Going back to the first example, if I had 98 I would check raise almost every time, though with some more advanced players I'd actually try to wait for the turn, even if I miss. The reason? A lot of guys slow play a set the same way, a thoughtful player may read you as such. He may have a hand and call but that's why its really a semi-bluff... playing draws aggressively can have risk.
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    Interesting strategy, Rycky. I like the idea of check-raising with as a semi-bluff, not sure why I don't do it more often.

    What WOULD you do in the first example? I tend to check raise in those spots so I can get a feel for where I'm at. I'm probably not going to fold, and if I check-call I might face a second barrel and yet still not know where I stand. With a check-raise on the flop, my opponent's reaction can let me know if he's holding an ace or not. It also takes away my opponent's initiative and might make him slow down (hopefully because he checks behind me on the turn), giving me a free look at the river and a bit of pot control.

    I'm not necessarily disagreeing with you, as I think you make a very fair point (you're also usually right ;) ). I'm just curious about your thought process.

    EDIT: Having re-read your post I see you said you wouldn't call in the first example. Never?
    Last edited by bambini; Jun 4th, 2013 at 05:48 PM.
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    RyckyRych's Avatar
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    Preflop? To a raise? No, never, unless it was an all-in and I had the odds to play. Vash may be different but I didn't play cash. In a SNG or MTT? Nope, not unless we were very deep and I had a good reason to play this particular opponent heads-up post flop... though I can't think of why I'd wanna do that from OOP.
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    Queso's Avatar
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    The only time I'll be facing a C-bet is when I've called preflop with a speculative hand. I have very specific parameters that define a speculative hand. A9 off is never in that category. So, if I've called with a speculative hand, I then have very specific post flop parameters that define whether or not I will continue in a hand, and if so, with what action. It makes it all very clear and easy.

    By the way, if I have a spec hand, I don't call with it preflop unless the call represents less than 5% of the effective stacks (8% if I have a pocket pair), and only if I think I have sufficient implied odds in the hand (in other words, I expect the PFR to have a very strong hand she will have trouble letting go of, or it's already multiway by the time it's gotten to me). This is usually governed by what position the raiser is in. Ironically, most poker players have it completely backwards: if the raise comes from early position, they think "crap, it must be a strong hand, I should fold", when those are exactly the type of hands the PFR will have trouble releasing when you hit; and if the raise comes from LP, they think "he's raising late, he could have any two, he'll be easier to beat, I should call", when in fact, the worse his hand, the easier it will be for him to release when you flop well.

    With a spec hand, I'm looking for two pair or better, or a draw of 8 outs or more, to continue in the hand. If I flop neither of these things, I don't continue, period. I don't need to find out if my weak ace is any good by raising his C-bet because I'll never be in there with a weak ace if I've called preflop. I'm only calling pre with spec hands to flop two pair or better, 8 outs or more. It's the only way I'll continue in a hand. You find out with a reraise preflop whether your AJ or AQ is any good. And even that depends on many factors. I'll often just dump those hands pre depending on position and the action ahead of me.

    So lets say I flopped a set by calling pre with 55. Now the only factors governing whether or not I raise a C-bet are:

    Board texture and the number of players in the hand.

    1. Board texture. If the flop is dry, I'll slow play. If it's wet and highly coordinated, I'll reraise to take it down right there.

    2. Number of players. If heads up, I'll slow play. If multiway, I'll reraise to take it down right there.

    That's pretty much it.

    I'm not really ever facing any other post-flop scenarios when I've been the preflop caller (and not the aggressor). I either flop to my hand, or I don't. If I don't, I fold. And I'm never in a post flop scenario where I'm wondering if my one pair hand/kicker combination is any good. Because I'm never taking a one pair hand to showdown in a multiway pot, and even heads-up I want two pair or better if I'm OOP to the pre flop aggressor.

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    Sorry, forgot to mention also, if I flop a draw of 8 outs or more, I'm betting the same as if I flopped two pair or better. That way my opponent never knows where I stand. In other words, it balances my range.

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    bambini's Avatar
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    Default When to raise a C-bet?

    Wow. Turns out I'm a much looser player than I thought. I think I might tighten up a fair bit, especially when someone else raises PF.
    "Never play cards with a guy who has the same first name as a city" - Coach Finstock, Teen Wolf

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