On dry boards you should tend to increase your c-bet bluffing frequency and also consider "slow playing" stronger hands against non-fishy opponents.
Your hand needs to be strong to stack off on these boards against most opponents since value ranges will be much narrower due to less holdings connecting with it. Therefore, you should play for two streets of value with reasonably strong made hands and go for delayed c-bets with your nut hands. Since your opponents will have a lot more air in their range, they may go out of their way to bluff dry boards since they feel no one likely hit the board and if anyone did, they would have bet the flop.
First, let's look at a fairly straight forward hand on a dry board.
However, against aggro opponents, you will not want to slow play dry boards. These players love to bluff raise dry flops since they understand you have a much narrower range for connecting.
Let's take a look at a hand against an aggressive regular.
On dynamic boards, exactly the opposite is true in regards to bluffing frequency. While c-betting in position on 100% of boards is usually profitable, you may want to choose a few holdings to give up on when the board is excessively wet. Boards like QJT, J98, T86 will show a low c-bet success rate, should if your holding has absolutely no potential to improve, you should consider checking back and just giving up with a high frequency.
With made hands, one of my favorite lines that I employ in position on wet boards, is to check back some tier 2 and even some tier 3 hands and then raise a turn lead from my opponents. This has the effect of punishing the weaker parts of your opponents range that would have often folded to your flop c-bet. It also reduces your overall c-betting frequency, increasing the effectiveness of your c-bet bluffs.
First, let's look at a fairly strong Tier 2 hand.
- We disguised the strength of our hand
- We allowed our opponent a chance to improve in some way
- We gave him a chance to put money in the pots with his air
- We simplified our decision (Imagine Flop: we bet-he calls, Turn: we bet-he raises)
Now let's look at a more marginal hand under similar circumstances.
While there are a ton of hands in our opponent's range that somehow connect to this board, we also are ahead of a lot that doesn't. Some hands like QJ, JT, T7, or even overs with back door FDs may semi bluff this boards, while others like 44 may raise to see where they are at. So what should our goal be with this hand? Or, put another way, how to we neuter our opponent and make him play straight forward?
Our goal with hands that are often ahead that can't take the heat of a raise should be to get to showdown as cheaply as possible, and in the process, force our opponent to turn his hand face up. How do we do this? By checking back the flop and then raising a turn lead!
Imagine you are the opponent holding a draw. Since a turn raise usually means strength, we likely wouldn't have enough fold equity or pure equity to just jam it in, so now we are forced to play guessing games and make a bad call or fold. A crappy result with so much equity. What about a piece of the board? We face the possibility of further aggression by our opponent on the river, so many players will just pitch 2nd pair or worse into the muck and move on.
To sum this hand up, our line accomplishes 4 things.
- We neutralize our opponent's flopped draws when we check back as we can't get semi-bluffed off our equity
- We sometimes force better hands to fold the turn by flexing our in position muscles
- We get our showdown value hand to showdown more often
- We once again get value from our opponent's air that bluff leads the turn
In conclusion, our post-flop c-betting frequencies and bet sizing is largely dependent on how our opponent views our hand on a particular board texture. Our betting strategy should, therefore, be a consequence of these factors as we manipulate our lines to maximize our profit. I challenge you to study your opponents and form your own creative standard c-betting strategies, and then fine tune your lines based on game flow, history, and logic. In this article, I have given you but a glimpse into a few of my thought processes. Let me know what you come up with.
First of all, the "continuation" of this series has been a long time coming. It's good to get this one out of the "drafts" section of my blog and out there to you all! Thanks for your patience and I hope this article helps you navigate the post-flop waters a little more easily. In my next installment, I will discuss some common turn and river spots as well as adjusting our plan based on which cards peel off.
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