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StrategyNo Limit

Improving Turn Play: Part 2

Introduction

In this article...
  •  You learn the postflop potential in different categories of hole cards
  •  You learn how your turn action is influenced by the action on the flop
  •  You learn how to plan your turn play on the flop

Improving Turn Play, Part II

A Tale of Five Hands

In an effort to develop a deeper understanding of turn play, I want to discuss the postflop potential of five different hands:

  • Ad4d
  • 3h3s
  • KdJs
  • 7c8c
  • TdTs

1. Take a second to rank these hands in order of which ones you would like to have in the following situations:

2. On the button with a loose-passive limper from middle position and TAGs in the blinds.

3. In early position at this 6-max table:

  • Middle Position is a standard TAG
  • Cutoff is a loose-passive player with a 80 BB stack
  • Button is another TAG
  • Small Blind is a LAG
  • Big Blind is a relative unknown with a 50 BB stack

What does the way you ranked the hands tell you about the intrinsic value of the five hands? In this article, I will begin discussing the first scenario. In a later article, I will discuss the second.

The Value of Hands Postflop

You win postflop in one of two ways: you either make the best hand and win at showdown, or you apply aggression, your opponents fold, and you win without showdown. This article will begin looking at how each of these hands does based on these parameters:

  • How often do you flop the best hand?
  • If you are ahead on the flop, how often do you stay ahead on the turn?
  • How often are you able to apply aggression on later streets as a semi-bluff to win the hand?
  • Does the hand play best heads up or multi-way? How does it do in position vs. out of position?

Let’s get started.

Postflop Playability

What should you expect from the different hands when we go to the flop?

Disclaimer:The results in the tables below are obtained and reasonably rounded using the ProPokerTools Odds Oracle software with 600,000 simulations. They are not 100% exact, but are meant to highlight general trends.
On The Flop
Ad4d 3h3s KcJs 7h8h TdTs
Made Hands




Top pair
15%
-
21.5%
6%
25%
Middle/bottom pair
14% 88%
7.5%
23%
63%
Two pair
2% -
2% 2% -
Three of a kind+
2.5%
12%
2.0%
3.5%
12%
Draws




Weak straight draw (1-4 Outs)
12% 2.5% 13% 17% 4%
Strong straight draw (5-8 Outs)
1.0% 0.7% 3.5% 0.7% 1.3%
Flush draw
13% 2.5% 2.5% 13% 2.5%
Backdoor flush draw
46% 28% 28% 46% 28%

Before I discuss the implications of the above, let’s look at the same chart but on the turn:

On The Turn
Ad4d 3h3s KcJs 7h8h TdTs
Made Hands




Top pair
17%
-
22%
3%
15%
Middle/bottom pair 17% 83%
12%
31%
68%
Two pair
4% -
4% 4% -
Three of a kind+ 8.5%
19%
6%
13.5%
19%
Draws




Weak straight draw (1-4 Outs) 22% 9% 22% 23% 12%
Strong straight draw (5-8 Outs) 3.5% 3% 7.5% 16% 4.5%
Flush draw
18.5% 8% 8% 18.5% 8%

So what does this tell you about each of the hands?

Ad4d

The most common scenario for hitting a made hand is flopping top pair. The upside to this is that if you flop top pair, you always still have at least top pair on the turn. The downside is that if someone else has top pair, they will almost always have you dominated.

If you don’t flop top pair, the good news is that nearly half of the flops will contain at least one diamond and thus you will have a flush draw around 20% of the time on the turn. In fact, you will have some sort of draw (flush, straight, or both) over 40% of the time.

Thus, since on the turn you seldom have strong made hands, but often pick up additional draws, this hand plays best in heads-up pots in position.

3h3s

You flop a set or better 12% of the time and that number goes up to around 19% on the turn. You don’t hit often with this hand, but when you do you can be pretty confident that you have the best hand.

Thus, this hand plays best in multi-way pots and position isn’t nearly as important. Since you often miss the flop with this hand, you will do a lot of check-folding since you almost never pick up good equity to continue aggression on the turn.

KcJs

You flop top pair a little over 20% of the time and when you do, you are likely to still have top pair on the turn. In addition to that, you pick up a gutshot straight draw on about 20% of turns.

Thus, this is the kind of hand where once you flop top pair, you can get multiple streets of value against draws and weaker pairs. It plays best against 1-2 opponents.

Since most of the time you play it for top pair value, position isn’t as important. Like with the pocket threes, if you don’t hit the flop with this hand then there are limited turns which allow you to stay aggressive.

Thus, this is a hand with which you will check-fold a lot of flops or be "one-and-done" (continuation bet once, give up if unimproved) with.

7h8h

You seldom hit top pair with this hand, and retain it even less frequently on turns. The main strength of this hand is its ability to turn a lot of additional equity. You will have a draw of some sort around 60% of the time on the turn. Thus, this is a hand where you look to continuation bet with the intention of continuing your aggression on multiple turns.

Because you will often be drawing with this hand (or have a weak but made hand which benefits from taking a cheap showdown), it plays best in position so that you can make good decisions of whether or not to continue aggression or realize your equity.

TdTs

Not only do you flop a set or better around 12% of the time, but you flop an overpair 25% of the time. This allows you to feel confident on a lot of flops and get a lot of value. You can continue getting value on a lot of turns.

Unlike any of the previous hands, you will often have some sort of reasonable showdown value with pocket tens. Playing in position allows you to keep the pot small and take your hand to showdown in many marginal situations.

Clearly, all of these hands benefit from being played in position, but in my opinion 7h8h benefits the most, followed by Ad4d, TdTs, KcJs and 3h3s

Planning the Turn

Now, let’s look at a few flop scenarios and discuss the different decisions you make with these five hands which will make our turn play easier.

Scenario 1:

Preflop: A loose-passive player limps from early position, you isolate on the button, a TAG calls from the blinds and the limper calls as well. You go to the flop three-handed.

The flop comes 7s4h2c

This is a fairly dry flop, but one that is likely to hit a lot of small to mid-pairs (22-99), low to mid suited connectors and one-gappers (23s – 78s, 24s – 79s) as well as some low suited aces (A2s – A5s). Since the TAG’s range is likely to include some of the small to mid-pairs and well as some suited connectors, and the loose-passive player’s range is likely to include even more of those, I wouldn’t expect to have a lot of fold equity on this flop, and thus I would not continuation bet without a solid plan for the turn.

How should you approach each of the hands I discussed above on this flop?

 

Analyzing Ad4d

You flopped middle pair and should continuation bet here for two reasons: to fold out hands which have equity against you (like JdTs or 9h8h) and to get value from draws that just want to see another card (like Ac3c or 6s8s). If the TAG or both players call, don’t plan to put any more money into the pot unless you improve to two pair or trips. If the loose-passive player calls, you should barrel any card which is a nine or higher to get value or folds from all his draws.

Summary: Your made hand equity is reasonable, potential to barrel is weak.

 

Analyzing 3h3s

You flopped third pair. With limited perceived fold equity against two people and being unlikely to improve, just give up. The reason that this hand is substantially weaker than the Ad4d hand in this situation is because if you are behind, you only have two outs to improve whereas the Ad4d has five. Also, Ad4d is ahead of a few other fours (64s, 54s, and 43s).

Summary: Your made hand equity is weak and potential to barrel is also weak.

 

Analyzing KdJs

You flopped two overcards but no backdoor equity. You will hit one of the two overcards less than 13% of the time on the turn. Thus, like with the pocket threes, just give up on this flop against two players.

Summary: Your made hand equity is weak and potential to barrel is also weak.

 

Analyzing 7h8h

You flopped top pair and lots of backdoor equity. Not only are you likely to have the best hand now, but any 5, 6, 7, 8 or heart (21 cards, or roughly 45% of the deck) improves your equity and allows you to either barrel or check back for a showdown in position.

Summary: Your made hand equity is good and the potential to barrel is great.

 

Analyzing TdTs

You flopped a strong made hand and should confidently barrel any turn for value.

Summary: Your made hand equity is great and the potential to barrel is great.

Scenario 2:

Preflop: A loose-passive player limps from early position, you isolate on the button, a TAG calls from the blinds and the limper calls as well. You go to the flop three-handed.

The flop comes Ac8s2s

Other than a flush draw, this is a pretty dry flop. As far as made hands, I expect anyone with a pair of eights or better to continue and everything else to fold. There are very few straight draws on this flop, but there is a flush draw.

How should you approach each of the hands discussed above on this flop?

 

Analyzing Ad4d

You flopped top pair with no kicker. This is a classic way ahead or way behind situation. Unless someone has a flush draw, they are likely drawing to five outs or less. On the other hand, if someone has a better ace, you are drawing to three outs. You will almost never get three streets of value from a worse hand in this situation.

Thus, while I like betting this flop, I would bet on the smaller side. If called, I am probably going to bet on the small side again on most non-spade turns versus the loose-passive player and probably check back against the TAG – mostly because I don’t expect a TAG to continue with weaker hands after a double barrel and thus I would often value-town myself on the turn by betting.

Summary: Your made hand equity is good, potential to barrel is average.

 

Analyzing 3h3s

Once again you failed to hit a set, but the flop texture is great for continuation betting. Unless you turn a 3, though, you should just bet once and give up on the turn. You could turn a gutshot with a 4 or 5, but I still don’t like barreling in that spot.

Summary: Your made hand equity is weak and potential to barrel is also weak.

 

Analyzing KdJs

You flopped nothing, but like with the threes, you should bet this flop. On the turn, check back if you hit a pair. I would barrel any Q or T since that provides another overcard to the 8 and picks up a gutshot straight draw. This hand plays much better in position in this situation since it will be much easier to take your hand to showdown if you turn a pair.

Summary: Your made hand equity is weak and potential to barrel is mediocre.

 

Analyzing 7c8c

You flopped middle pair, and while there are few worse hands that we can get value from, you should still bet this flop to fold out potential equity other players might have. In addition to that, you can pick up additional equity with any 7, 8, or club (28% of the deck). Just like the KdJs, this hand greatly benefits from being played in position and being able to get to showdown if you don’t improve on the turn.

Summary: Your made hand equity is weak, and the potential to barrel is mediocre.

 

Analyzing TdTs

Another classic way ahead or way behind situation. Unless your opponent has an ace, you are in good shape. Against both players, I would bet on the smaller side – around a half of the pot. Around 25% of the time the turn will bring an overcard to your pair, which is why I like betting.

Summary: Your made hand equity is good but the potential to barrel is weak.

Summary

As you can see, on each flop you are already planning what you are going to do on each turn and are thinking ahead to river play. If you don’t flop anything and your fold equity seems low, simply give up. By consistently planning hands out and then executing this plan with discipline, turn and river play become much easier.

Up Next

In the next article, I plan to continue with those same five hand examples, but this time look at a scenario where we are out of position against one opponent on a variety of flops.

 

Comments (9)

#1 ramadas, 04 Jul 12 19:10

Thanks! Very nice...

#2 cufc37, 05 Jul 12 10:16

Thanks Verneer! Exactly the article I needed. Can't wait for the next installment!

#3 Tiltmeifucan, 05 Jul 12 10:28

I liked this, thanks!

#4 Tombic, 05 Jul 12 12:56

article is great, but i cant understand why pocket 33 and TT have different chances to hit flush draw and backdoor flush draw

#5 ninuu, 07 Aug 12 13:31

Very interesting article

#6 joeldowey123, 13 Aug 12 19:32

great article, enjoyed it very much and learnt a great deal from it

#7 faronel, 10 Sep 12 20:56

Very enjoyable article to read. Good job!<br /> <br /> On the other hand, highly speculative. I like the idea of the 78s' potential, however, there is another side as well. There are more cards that decrease the hand's value on turn rather than add to it (i.e. all the cards that don't add flush/straight draw on turn; two pairs/trips).<br /> Also, in a random postflop scenario, TT remains a favourite. That is why I am still inclined to believe that TT would remain the best choice preflop.<br /> <br /> However, I do agree that 78s can have a huge disguised potential that in a favourable situation can be paid off, while TT goes only for a hand protection at most of the times.<br /> <br /> P.S. I was surprised to see that in equity comparison: 87s 74.90% vs KJo 25.10%...

#8 MrPink578, 24 Nov 15 11:02

Awesome.

#9 bubamarasr, 29 Jan 16 15:40

Read it. Thank you.