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StrategyWeekly No Limit

The 2nd Barrel Part 2 - In Practice


The 2nd Barrel Part 2 - In Practice

from MiiWiin

After we have dealt with the theory of what a 2nd barrel is (go to the article), we want to determine when a second barrel is profitable against different opponents by using some examples. We said that the most important factors were the type of opponent, our image, the board, our possible range and the possible range of villain. We will deal with these factors in the following examples.


Stacks & Stats
MP ($25)
CO ($25)
UTG ($25)
BB ($25)
SB ($25) (25/6/0.7/31/261) [VPIP/PFR/AF/WTS/Hands]
Hero ($25)

Preflop: Hero is Button with A , J
3 folds, Hero raises to $1.00, SB calls $1.00, 1 fold

Flop: ($2.25) T, 5, 2 (2 players)
SB checks, Hero bets $1.75, SB calls $1.75

Turn: ($5.75) Q (2 players)
SB checks, Hero...???

A standard situation. We raise preflop and get called by a pretty loose player. The board is very dry but our continuation bet is called. The turn doesn't really improve our hand. Would another bet be appropriate in this situation?

Lets try to define our image at first. We are playing a TAG-style, but don't really expect villain to be watching this. He is probably just playing his own cards. He calls quite a lot preflop but rarely raises himself. His low aggression as well as his high "went to showdown" value suggest that he is a calling station.

The board is relatively good for us. It hardly makes any draws possible and villain will have missed it a lot of the time. What could villain be holding?

Villains calling range includes all pocket pairs, many (suited) aces, suited connectors and some broadways. Only 22, 55 and TT will have hit the flop hard. He will probably call with  these hands rather than raise them, due to his low PFR.

In contrary, villain could have called with a small pocket pair, a suited connector could have hit the 5. A hand like JT+ will have made top pair. As we have already established, there are very few draws possible, except maybe 34s.

We shouldn't eliminate the possibility of villain calling unimproved either. Sometimes he will call with over cards or a (suited) ace, hoping to hit on the turn. He could also be thinking that ace high is currently the best hand.

Our hand is only ace high, however on the turn we are now also holding a gutshot. Our overcards might also represent 6 outs for top pair.

Our goal here is to make villain fold. His "went to showdown" value is relatively high though. He could probably fold a pocket pair, but wouldn't fold Tx. Most likely the queen is a scarecard for him on the turn.

What do we do? Even though our opponent calls pretty loose, there are very few hands with which he could call the turn again. He would probably fold many pocket pairs facing a 2nd barrel even though he would be holding the best hand. As there are no draws on the board, he could only call with a monster or Tx. The queen will be a scare card for Tx though. It is possible that these kinds of hands fold, especially if they are scared of another bet on the river which they'd have to call. Villain would of course fold a lot of unimproved hands as well. Although we are ahead against these hands now, we wouldn't mind a fold.

We decide to 2nd barrel because we are convinced that we could make a better hand fold in this position.

Deciding whether to make a 2nd barrel or not is very borderline here. It is hard to put a very loose and bad player on a range and then convince yourself that he would fold the hand you put him on.

It is therefore a little easier to play against know types of players like LAGs or TAGs.


Stacks & Stats
MP ($25)
BU ($25) (19/11/3.3/21/751) [VPIP/PFR/AF/WTS/Hands]
UTG ($25)
BB ($25)
SB ($25)
Hero ($25)

Preflop: Hero is CO with 2 , 2
2 folds, Hero raises to $1.00, BU calls $1.00, 2 folds

Flop: ($2.75) A, J, 8 (2 players)
Hero bets $2.25, BU calls $2.25

Turn: ($5.75) 7 (2 players)

This time we are dealing with a tighter player who we classify as a TAG. However, we noticed that he cold calls a bit too much preflop. He is very aggressive postflop though and probably knows that we are playing a TAG style.

We don't like the board much because there are a lot of draws possible. We also have a tough decision after our continuation bet has been called because we are out of position. Your gut feeling probably tells you that check/fold would be the best option. That definitely wouldn't be a mistake, but I would suggest a 2nd barrel. Why?

  • We don't have any showdown value. We are behind against countless hands and only have 2 outs on the river.

  • Villains call is very suspicious. What does he call us with? A TAG player would call with quite a few hands in position, but we mostly put him on small pocket pairs, maybe suited connectors/aces and broadways. We have already found out that he cold calls too much preflop.

  • Villain is very aggressive and has a low "went to showdown". We have to assume that he mostly raises made hands on the flop. He would also raise with a top pair to find out where he is at. Furthermore, he raises monsters to protect his hand.
  • As villain only calls, I think he has one of the following hands:
    • He called with a medium pocket pair. He will fold his hand facing a 2nd barrel most of the time.
    • He called with a middle pair, for example KJ. This hand would also have a backdoor straight draw and possibly a backdoor flush draw. He would also fold these hands facing a 2nd barrel.
    • He called with a flush draw. Villain knows that his odds on the turn are a lot worse if we make a 2/3 pot size bet. He will fold a flush draw quite frequently because he cannot give himself enough implied odds.
    • Villain wants to float us. He called with a random hand and turns it into a bluff. His AF suggests that he will try to bluff us out of the hand on the turn quite frequently. He will basically always fold a bluff hand.

If we summarise everything we come to the conclusion that bet/fold turn would be the most profitable option for us. We can basically exclude a monster because villain would have raised on the flop. The 7 would have only helped T9 which would now raise. We assume that villain has to fold a lot of hands in this position, even better hands.

Another difficult opponent is the LAG. He plays very aggressively, bluffs wherever he can and confronts us with a lot of tough decision. But we also play aggressively against this type of opponent and will be unimproved on the turn quite a lot of the time. We can basically assume that villain will try to float us if we check.

Stacks & Stats
MP ($25)
BU ($25) (27/21/5.1/18/1025) [VPIP/PFR/AF/WTS/Hands]
UTG ($25)
BB ($25)
SB ($25)
Hero ($25)

Preflop: Hero is CO with A , J
2 folds, Hero raises to $1.00, BU calls $1.00, 2 folds

Flop: ($2.75) 3, 4, 5 (2 players)
Hero bets $2.25, SB calls $2.25

Turn: ($5.75) 9 (2 players)

We are playing against an aggressive player out of position on the turn. We have two over cards. Whether these are clean outs is not certain. Furthermore we have a gutshot draw.

Villain knows that we have to give up the turn quite often, which is why we assume that he will float us often. Should we therefore 2nd barrel? No we shouldn't!

By looking at his stats we can see that villain rarely cold calls preflop. He probably just cold calls small pocket pairs or suited connectors. He doesn't hit the flop very often with these hands, but he will try to bluff us out of the hand. These calls in position can be very profitable for the player.

The problem with that board is that hands like 22-66 as well as small suited connectors that hit two pair or something better, are within his range. His call preflop is also very suspicious. In contrary to example two I am assuming a made hand here. Villain would have probably raised weaker hands like an over pair or a sraight draw.

If such an aggressive player only calls, you should be warned. This board doesn't look to draw heavy for villain as well and unless we are holding 66, we only have a gutshot with an ace at max. He would probably just call a set in this situation.

Furthermore, hands which didn't hit much at all like 22/66/56 and so on, have to fold here as well. It is definitely possible that villain would raise the turn with these hands.

Villain could also be holding a very weak hand that he wants to float us with. But I think that he will have a strong hand too many times. I can't think of a plausible hand which villain calls on the flop with but folds on the turn. Furthermore we basically can't represent anything. We should check/fold here.


You can't generally say when to fire a 2nd barrel. There are lots of possible discussions about the two described examples since these decisions are always borderline. You have to determine whether your opponents' line makes sense. Which hands would he fold that he called on the flop with?

It is very important that you do think these situations through to avoid an automatic check/fold or too many 2nd barrels. It helps to ask yourself why you 2nd barrel at all and what you expect from it.

As soon as you think about one turn bet as much as above, you will have a great advantage over your opponents.

That's not the entire article...

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Comments (2)

#1 mouse89, 14 Oct 08 15:51


#2 EdmFlyer72, 03 Nov 09 11:47

Nice article ... getting into the nuts and bolts of this subject. TY.