Controlled

The “No Limit” part of No Limit Texas Hold’em means just that; there is no limit to the amount you can bet. That said, you don’t want to be blindly making moves with no boundaries. At The Poker Model, we’ll teach you those boundaries. In today’s example, we apply a boundary midway through a hand that makes the rest of the hand manageable.

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I’m sitting on The Cutoff holding 8s-8c with $32,000 chips. Blinds are $500/$1000 so I have 32 big blinds in my stack. The action folds to Under The Gun+2 (UTG+2) who makes a standard raise to $2,000. 8-8 qualifies as a call behind hand along with pocket pairs 22-QQ, KJ, KQ, and A10-AQ when I have over 20 big blinds. For this reason, I will call.

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I make the call and the rest of the table folds. The Flop comes Kd-7s-3h and my opponent checks. As always, I qualify my hand as good, bad, or mediocre. 8-8 is second pair on this board, a mediocre hand. With mediocre hands I will check in an effort to keep the pot small and see if I have the best hand by the River.

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I check and The Turn is the Six of Clubs. My opponent bets $2,200 and the action is on me. In this spot, I’ll use a Turn Blocker Bet. A Turn Blocker Bet helps me keep control of the pot without risking too many chips. It is a minimum raise that will put the pressure back on him and should slow down his action. I cannot fold here with 8-8 because there is a good chance that it is the best hand. I can call, but if I do then any River card that does not improve my hand will leave me vulnerable to a bluff from my opponent, which I cannot call. I will use a Turn Blocker Bet here, by min raising the $2,200 to $4,400, pushing the pressure back on him.

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I make The Turn Blocker Bet putting the pressure back on him. He now has three options:

  • Fold: I win the pot
  • Raise: I get the information I need that his hand is better and I exit the hand
  • Call: We move to the River and I’ve shown strength, forcing him to slow down. If he bets on The River then I’ll fold, giving credit to the bet as a hand that beats mine.  

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He chooses to call and then checks when the Ace of Spades shows on the River. I’ve accomplished my goal. I’ve stayed above the twenty big blind threshold and made it to the River with my mediocre hand. The only thing left for me to do is check and see if I’ve won.

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I check and my opponent flips over 9h-8h. I’ve won the hand without experiencing much uncertainty. Today you saw an example of how to manage the pot with a mediocre hand by using a Turn Blocker Bet. I was able to stay above the twenty big blind mark and still find out if I had the best hand or not. I was able to put a hold on my opponent and make it harder for him to bluff. Remember to use this too when you have an mediocre hand, it will help you stay controlled.

Brett

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