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Do We Barrel the Turn or Check Raise it?

By: Jeremy Steinhausen All Rights Reserved

Sometimes I’m hearing forum members and students ask about check raising turns. I have

fielded this question many times and so I felt comfortable writing out my general thoughts on this matter, Enjoy.

So you’ve c-bet the flop OOP and now the turn is here and you don’t know what to do. Do you check-call? Check-raise? Check-fold? Or bet? As is the case on the flop, on the turn you want to be either check-calling or betting 95% of the time that you aren’t folding (check- calling bluff-catchers, barreling value hands and semi-bluffs). This is simply because by doing so you bring better balance to your overall game. If we bet turns we can make sure that our big value hands get paid off more, and then we can balance this by also bluffing. If instead we begin to check a lot of turns or flops OOP to our opponents it proves difficult for our over all game to profit and balance as well. Caveat: Some great players may use the

check raise in their game more often than I do, that’s fine, but Imo this makes playing well much more difficult and really isn’t necessary at small or micro stakes.

When we check with initiative, we run the risk of letting the flop or turn check through. This is too detrimental to the balance of our game plan of getting plenty of value bets and bluffs in. There are of course exceptions to this, but I can say that spots that a turn or flop check raise is the best play are rare, and in 90% of those spots, a bet still is a pretty good option, so just bet!

Also as far as check raise bluffing is concerned……

..

A

good general rule in hold em is that

you don’t want to habitually create huge pots OOP with weak hands. That’s something that

your opponents will generally be able to adjust to and profit from very easily from the vantage point of playing IP, so we want to avoid it at all cost.

Essentially, it's once again is a range-balancing issue stemming from how you can optimally play your strong hands. When we are the OOP PFR and have strong hands (e.g., TPTK or better) on almost any board, we should bet the turn because villain has many bluff-catcher

hands with which he called the flop. If we don’t bet, villain will try to use these usable SD

value hands and check back the turn if we check to them. So we need to be value-betting the turn to avoid letting that happen. By the same token, when we check, our range is face up for not having many strong hands and that creates a large informational advantage for villain on turn AND river.

The turn check-raise is something that you can pull from time to time, however it’s usually only good vs. very bad unbalanced players in very specific situations. This rarely happens

and isn’t worth going much more into detail about, so just bet the turn from now on and you’ll be fine. The few spots when a check-raise might be a better play are so infrequent that it won’t matter much for your overall game.

 

Hand 1/2

 
 

Hand History

 

Replayer

 

Poker Stars, $0.50/$1 No Limit Hold'em Cash, 2 Players Poker Tools Powered By Holdem Manager - The Ultimate Poker Software Suite. View Hand #10468792

BB: $164.45 (164.5 bb) Hero (SB): $163.80 (163.8 bb)

Poker Stars, $0.50/$1 No Limit Hold'em Cash, 2 Players <a href=Poker Tools Powered By Holdem Manager - The Ultimate Poker Software Suite. View Hand #10468792 BB: $164.45 (164.5 bb) Hero (SB): $163.80 (163.8 bb) Preflop : Hero is SB with T Hero raises to $3 , BB calls $2 7 Flop : ($6) 5 J 3 (2 players) BB checks, Hero bets $4 , BB calls $4 Turn : ($14) 8 (2 players) BB checks, Hero bets $10 , BB folds Spoiler: " id="pdf-obj-1-14" src="pdf-obj-1-14.jpg">

Preflop: Hero is SB with T Hero raises to $3, BB calls $2

7

Poker Stars, $0.50/$1 No Limit Hold'em Cash, 2 Players <a href=Poker Tools Powered By Holdem Manager - The Ultimate Poker Software Suite. View Hand #10468792 BB: $164.45 (164.5 bb) Hero (SB): $163.80 (163.8 bb) Preflop : Hero is SB with T Hero raises to $3 , BB calls $2 7 Flop : ($6) 5 J 3 (2 players) BB checks, Hero bets $4 , BB calls $4 Turn : ($14) 8 (2 players) BB checks, Hero bets $10 , BB folds Spoiler: " id="pdf-obj-1-23" src="pdf-obj-1-23.jpg">

Flop: ($6) 5

Flop : ($6) 5

J

Flop : ($6) 5 J 3 (2 players)

3

Flop : ($6) 5 J 3 (2 players)

(2 players)

BB checks, Hero bets $4, BB calls $4

Turn: ($14) 8

Turn : ($14) 8

(2 players)

BB checks, Hero bets $10, BB folds

Spoiler:
Spoiler:
 

Hand 2/2

 
 

Hand History

 

Replayer

 

Poker Stars, $0.50/$1 No Limit Hold'em Cash, 6 Players Poker Tools Powered By Holdem Manager - The Ultimate Poker Software Suite. View Hand #10468802

SB: $36.50 (36.5 bb) BB: $40.75 (40.8 bb)

Hero (UTG): $103.35 (103.4 bb)

MP: $105 (105 bb)

CO: $107 (107 bb)

BTN: $110.05 (110.1 bb)

Preflop: Hero is UTG with J

Poker Stars, $0.50/$1 No Limit Hold'em Cash, 6 Players <a href=Poker Tools Powered By Holdem Manager - The Ultimate Poker Software Suite. View Hand #10468802 SB: $36.50 (36.5 bb) BB: $40.75 (40.8 bb) Hero (UTG): $103.35 (103.4 bb) MP: $105 (105 bb) CO: $107 (107 bb) BTN: $110.05 (110.1 bb) Preflop : Hero is UTG with J K Hero raises to $3 , MP folds, CO calls $3, 2 folds, BB calls $2 Flop : ($9.50) 9 3 3 (3 players) BB checks, Hero bets $6 , CO calls $6, BB folds Turn : ($21.50) T (2 players) Hero bets $14 , CO calls $14 River : ($49.50) 4 (2 players) Hero bets $32 , CO folds " id="pdf-obj-1-109" src="pdf-obj-1-109.jpg">

K

Poker Stars, $0.50/$1 No Limit Hold'em Cash, 6 Players <a href=Poker Tools Powered By Holdem Manager - The Ultimate Poker Software Suite. View Hand #10468802 SB: $36.50 (36.5 bb) BB: $40.75 (40.8 bb) Hero (UTG): $103.35 (103.4 bb) MP: $105 (105 bb) CO: $107 (107 bb) BTN: $110.05 (110.1 bb) Preflop : Hero is UTG with J K Hero raises to $3 , MP folds, CO calls $3, 2 folds, BB calls $2 Flop : ($9.50) 9 3 3 (3 players) BB checks, Hero bets $6 , CO calls $6, BB folds Turn : ($21.50) T (2 players) Hero bets $14 , CO calls $14 River : ($49.50) 4 (2 players) Hero bets $32 , CO folds " id="pdf-obj-1-113" src="pdf-obj-1-113.jpg">

Hero raises to $3, MP folds, CO calls $3, 2 folds, BB calls $2

Flop: ($9.50) 9

Poker Stars, $0.50/$1 No Limit Hold'em Cash, 6 Players <a href=Poker Tools Powered By Holdem Manager - The Ultimate Poker Software Suite. View Hand #10468802 SB: $36.50 (36.5 bb) BB: $40.75 (40.8 bb) Hero (UTG): $103.35 (103.4 bb) MP: $105 (105 bb) CO: $107 (107 bb) BTN: $110.05 (110.1 bb) Preflop : Hero is UTG with J K Hero raises to $3 , MP folds, CO calls $3, 2 folds, BB calls $2 Flop : ($9.50) 9 3 3 (3 players) BB checks, Hero bets $6 , CO calls $6, BB folds Turn : ($21.50) T (2 players) Hero bets $14 , CO calls $14 River : ($49.50) 4 (2 players) Hero bets $32 , CO folds " id="pdf-obj-1-121" src="pdf-obj-1-121.jpg">

3

Poker Stars, $0.50/$1 No Limit Hold'em Cash, 6 Players <a href=Poker Tools Powered By Holdem Manager - The Ultimate Poker Software Suite. View Hand #10468802 SB: $36.50 (36.5 bb) BB: $40.75 (40.8 bb) Hero (UTG): $103.35 (103.4 bb) MP: $105 (105 bb) CO: $107 (107 bb) BTN: $110.05 (110.1 bb) Preflop : Hero is UTG with J K Hero raises to $3 , MP folds, CO calls $3, 2 folds, BB calls $2 Flop : ($9.50) 9 3 3 (3 players) BB checks, Hero bets $6 , CO calls $6, BB folds Turn : ($21.50) T (2 players) Hero bets $14 , CO calls $14 River : ($49.50) 4 (2 players) Hero bets $32 , CO folds " id="pdf-obj-1-125" src="pdf-obj-1-125.jpg">

3

Poker Stars, $0.50/$1 No Limit Hold'em Cash, 6 Players <a href=Poker Tools Powered By Holdem Manager - The Ultimate Poker Software Suite. View Hand #10468802 SB: $36.50 (36.5 bb) BB: $40.75 (40.8 bb) Hero (UTG): $103.35 (103.4 bb) MP: $105 (105 bb) CO: $107 (107 bb) BTN: $110.05 (110.1 bb) Preflop : Hero is UTG with J K Hero raises to $3 , MP folds, CO calls $3, 2 folds, BB calls $2 Flop : ($9.50) 9 3 3 (3 players) BB checks, Hero bets $6 , CO calls $6, BB folds Turn : ($21.50) T (2 players) Hero bets $14 , CO calls $14 River : ($49.50) 4 (2 players) Hero bets $32 , CO folds " id="pdf-obj-1-129" src="pdf-obj-1-129.jpg">

(3 players)

BB checks, Hero bets $6, CO calls $6, BB folds

Turn: ($21.50) T

Turn : ($21.50) T (2 players)

(2 players)

Hero bets $14, CO calls $14

River: ($49.50) 4

River : ($49.50) 4 (2 players)

(2 players)

Hero bets $32, CO folds

Spoiler:

The math behind the turn semi-bluff is quite compelling. For instance, let’s say you have a

draw (four-outer or better). Also assume that villain will either fold or call, and not raise the turn often, or at all. Given those two conditions, barreling is very profitable for you in a ton

of spots. Let’s look at some quick calculations to exemplify what I’m talking about.

DISCLAIMER: We need to determine the EV of a turn bet with a gut shot. There are several different outcomes we have to account for and combine to find our EV. To simplify things a tad we will make some assumptions.

Assumptions for Example:

  • 1. We have just c - bet flop with gut shot and now are considering a turn barrel.

  • 2. Pot $10

  • 3. Turn Bet size $8

  • 4. Villain will call our bet 50% of the time ($24 bet) when we hit river, the other

50% he folds.

Here’s the Equation… ..

0 = 10x + (.90)(1-x)(-8) + (0.10)(0.50)(1-x)(8+10) + (0.10)(0.50)(1-

x)(8+10+24)

Solve for x…….

X~ 0.295775!

Villain only needs to fold turn 29% to break even on a turn barrel!

With a simple four-out draw we roughly only need villain to fold to our bet 29% of the time for it to be profitable vs. a passive player. Tougher players and maniacs will do things like raise the turn more often, which has a negative effect on semi-bluffing and lowers the profitably of turn barrels to less favorable percentages.

This is just one reason why table selection and seeking out passive players is a good practice. Passive players allow us see our equity through more often, while good players and aggressive ones shut us out of our equity which can hurt us in situations like these.