Once upon a time, there was a poker game. And all it took to win in that poker game was the power of a continuation bet, since many lads and lasses would simply play fit-or-fold on the flop. Then, one dreadful day, poker players became accustomed to facing this new-fangled ‘continuation bet’ and began to give those bets action at a much higher frequency. And on that eve players began to fire not just one bet, but TWO bets to take down the pot. And thus was born the double barrel.
Players today are used to facing preflop raises and continuation bets…and as is the progression in poker, we are beginning to see more double and triple barrels as well. It’s not only important to know how to face double and triple barrels, but we also need to be strong when it comes to making them. So I created this guide to give you the 6 key questions to ask yourself before you check or fire that turn card…
Will They Fold Top Pair?
Typically the answer to this question is ‘No’…but it’s a good starting point because if a player would fold top pair, you should be bluffing that situation a TON of the time (shy of odd situations like 4-straight or 4-flush board types). But normally you should assume that your opponent is not folding top pair and move on to the next question…
Will They Fold Medium Pairs?
If they called the flop with something like 76 or AT, would they fold it to a second bet on the turn? Often times the answer to this question lies on another question “how nitty is my opponent?” The nittier your opponent, the more often they will relinquish second and third pairs. But the looser your opponent, the more you should expect those hand types to continue.
This is a good time to pull out Flopzilla and see how often your opponent has these medium and weak pairs. Sometimes the answer may shock you…
Will They Fold Draws?
Draws vary in terms of strength and equity, but ask yourself how your opponent would respond if you double barreled and they held draws like A♠ 5♠ and 54…but also hands like 75 and 98. If you can get players to fold their equity with draws, especially draws with 8-9 outs….you should heavily considering firing twice.
Will They Float Me Again?
If your opponent was floating the flop with a gutshot, Ace-high, or similar hand…would they float you again on the turn? As the game continues to mature, expect players to float turns more often (especially with intentions of making big plays on the river)…but if a player is a notorious flop floater who gives up to the second barrel…two shells should do the trick.
Will They Raise Anything But 2pair+?
This question ensures that you have a plan BEFORE you even fire the turn card. First, it helps you plan for the times you bet the turn and they end up raising you. If you answer ‘no’ to this question and you end up facing a raise, it makes it easy to dump single pairs. If you answer ‘yes’ to this question, the question then becomes “well, what would they raise me with then?”
The second factor is if they call your turn bet and would have raised with 2pair+…they’ve capped their range and it will be super easy to apply pressure on the river. Sure, some river cards will give them two pair…but most will end up doing almost nothing for their hand. Use this to your advantage both when bluffing, and when value betting (hint, overbetting can be awesome when you find spots where they are capped and inelastic!)
Will My Size Change Any Of The Above?
The final question here relates to your bet size. When I ask myself the 5 questions above, I do so with a traditional 2/3 pot-sized bet in mind. But realistically, other sizes could not only be valid…but better. So I actually go back through all of the questions again but this time I consider the ramification of using a different bet size.
For instance, would my opponent fold a medium pair if I potted the turn? Would they float me again if I bet 1.25x pot? Would they fold top pair against a 1.5x pot? Would they continue calling with top pair if I bet my overpair for 2x pot? Of course, you still need to consider if your own frequencies would be correct (would you have a proper bluff:value ratio if you bet 2x pot on the turn?)…but that’s a different discussion for a different day.
There are other factors and considerations (especially when playing against more competent opponents), but this guide gives you a solid starting point for finding easy and profitable double barrels in your game. The next time that you raise preflop, bet the flop, and your opponent checks to you on the turn…ask yourself these questions and you’d be surprised how often your answer will be “yup…let’s fire the turn as well!”