Friday, May 30, 2014

Checking Top Pair

I've been reading and studying alot of player strategy and I saw an interesting trend that MTT PROs are checking TP on the FLOP so that the pot doesnt get big enough that they might have to release the best hand. I think its very interesting and a huge counter to what how everyone played a decade ago. This also means that when someone DOES bet the flop, they are often getting called and big draws still try for a check raise. As I think about this, and I think about how betting on turn/river are often value targeting, it seems that this all adds up to something. The current "wisdom" is that the flop bet is now based on Equity in the hand, vs. protection... I believe this stems from online play, where players could take advantage of small edges over a large number of tables and hands. Just exploiting the math.

But if this is all true, and at the WSOP tables I'll see a majority of regs playing this way, then shouldn't I also have some "against the grain" plays in my playbook?

I am spending time playing trying to get a feel for how I am viewed as I play hands. I was at the local charity room playing deep cash and despite not having showed down a bluff and not being spewy, when I did try to pretend my JT was TT and bet flop and turn, I could not get players off of TP (which was 8) or MP! On the river I made a gutshot and increased my 3rd barrel size so that if I got called and had to show how I got there bluffing, at least it paid off. And I did get called...

So now I have to spend time watching myself so to speak... trying to get on line on how my bets look and how they are being digested.


Hammer Player a.k.a Hoyazo said...

I am pretty confident that checking a middling top pair (say, A8 on a 8-high board) is a losing strategy over time in nlh tournaments, as is failing to c-bet when you were the preflop aggressor generally.

There might be some value to checking an Ace- or King-high top pair on the flop against certain opponents, when preflop circumstances might indicate some reason not to automatically c-bet the flop.

columbo (at eifco dot org) said...

I think you on to something here... I am much less in need of "Protection" when I pair the A or K, then when I pair the 8

Jordan said...

I assume the TP check is a tournament strategy, right? I can't see it as being particularly effective in cash games.