Mar 29 2010

Stealing and Continuation Betting

written by: John under Poker Strategy Comments: Comments Off

Stealing and continuation betting are both fundamental plays in Texas Hold’em. Most players understand the function of a pre flop steal, and they also know how they should handle the flop.

When making a pre flop steal attempt, you are often going to brick the flop. Your hand will be practically useless at this point, so your goal is to determine how you can take down the pot. Since you have no showdown value, checking down the hand wouldn’t do you much good. Sometimes, though, you are going to flop a solid hand when you make a pre flop steal.

Slow playing is acceptable on occasion, but a flop bet can also be very effective. Players, especially in small and medium stakes games, know that other players are going to make continuation bets. If you play as they expect, it will be easy to exploit their counter moves. In the hand below you will see a situation where we attempt a pre flop steal, hit the flop, and then exploit our opponent.

PokerStars No-Limit Hold’em, $1.00 BB (4 handed)

Button ($108.70)

Hero (SB) ($102)

BB ($50)

UTG ($100)

Preflop: Hero is SB with 2d, As

2 folds, Hero bets $3, BB calls $2

Pre flop we are dealt A 2 off suit. This hand does not have a whole lot of value, but is definitely worthy of a steal. Steals are not done with value in mind, so a 3x raise is better than a 4x raise that would be made when we have a strong hand. We make the raise and are called by the big blind. We are out of position for the remainder of the hand.

Flop: ($6) 2s, Qc, 2c (2 players)

Hero bets $4, BB calls $4

On the flop we hit trips with the best kicker possible. We lead out because it is deceptive. Not only does our opponent have no reason to believe that we have a 2, but if we do, it will allow us to extract max value. We are hoping our opponent has a pair, a queen, or maybe even a worse 2. We get called and head to the turn.

Turn: ($14) 4s (2 players)

Hero checks, BB bets $7, Hero raises to $18, BB calls $11

The turn is a good card, but it puts two dfferent flush draws on the board. Hoping that our opponent was floating or that they have a good hand (in fact, this covers most of the possibilies), we check hoping to induce a bet. When out opponent bets, we can now check raise to build the pot. Our opponent again calls. We can be almost certain that we have the best hand. Even if we are beat, we have to shove on the river.

River: ($50) 6h (2 players)

Hero bets $31, BB calls $25 (All-In)

We shove the river and are called. Our opponent should have a queen or better, but instead calls down with ace high. The small blind floated our flop bet and check raise, and then ultimately paid us off on the river with ace high. This is an example of why it is sometimes better to take odd lines that allow us an opportunity to get paid off by random hands.

Total pot: $100 | Rake: $2


Hero had 2d, As (three of a kind, twos).

BB had 5s, Ad (one pair, twos).

Outcome: Hero won $98

Comments Off - Click Here to Speak Up