Have you ever played against a player who seems to continuation bet (c-bet) every hand?
This article will help you learn the key adjustments that will allow you to exploit such a player — including a sneaky adjustment you can make to your preflop strategy that sets you up for success on the flop.
Today, let’s move on to the flop and use it as a jumping-off point to discuss playing versus the “automatic c-bettors” you may face in your games.
You can think of this article series as a free preview of our upcoming course Elite Cash Game Exploits with Uri Peleg.
Let’s dive in.
The location: High Stakes Poker in the Aria Casino, Las Vegas
The stakes: $200/$400 with a $400 BB ante.
- Daniel Negreanu – $110k
- Kim Hultman – $79k
- Doyle Brunson – $110k
Daniel Negreanu is in the Hijack and raises to $1,600 with 6♦ 4♦. Phil Ivey folds from the Cutoff (after having posted $1,000 in dead money*). Kim Hultmancalls on the Button with Q♣ J♠. Doyle Brunson calls in the Big Blind with 9♥ 8♠.
*Uri was unaware of this when he made his part 1 video, and this additional dead money makes all preflop plays in this hand perfectly fine. The general advice in part 1 is valid, but it doesn’t apply to this specific hand.
The pot is $6,400 and the flop comes out T♠ 9♠ 6♠.
Brunson checks and Negreanu bets $1,500. Both Hultman and Brunson call.
As discussed in part 1, a key part of playing good exploitative poker is to have a strong understanding of poker game theory. By understanding the theoretically correct strategy in a given spot, you can deduce how your opponents are deviating from it so we can adjust our own strategy to exploit them.
It’s important to know, for example, that the Hijack should rarely c-bet on this type of monotone board out of position and against two opponents. Daniel’s hand, in particular, indicates that he is c-betting too wide* on this flop.
*Daniel says he c-bet on this flop based on a read, so he was actually making an exploitative adjustment himself in this hand.
By observing hands through this lens, you can quickly categorize a player as one who c-bets too frequently.
Even if you didn’t know Daniel’s hand, here, you could deduce a lot from his (small) bet size. Small bet sizes are usually accompanied by wide ranges, so it’s somewhat safe to assume — strictly by looking at his bet size — that Daniel is c-betting very frequently in this spot.
How to Adjust Your Strategy to Crush the Frequent C-Bettors
Against players who c-bet too often, the conventional wisdom is to play looser against their c-bets. You should call a bit more often when they bet and, more importantly, raise a lot more often than we normally would.
This is sound advice, but it only scratches the surface on how to counter these automatic c-bettors. As an exploitative player, you can take your counter-strategy even further, starting with preflop.
Take a second to think about the following situation and question.
Suppose your opponent raises preflop on the button and you know with 100% certainty that he will c-bet on the flop. How could you adjust your preflop range to take advantage of this player’s postflop tendency?
Ready for the answer?
You should 3-bet with fewer strong hands. This strengthens your calling range, which allows you to more effectively exploit his high-frequency c-bet strategy.
Specifically, you should take the bottom 20-40% of your usual 3-bet range and choose to call with those hands instead. For example, maybe you’d normally 3-bet with the following range from the Big Blind against a Button raise:
Let’s focus on the pocket pairs. This chart shows all pairs higher than Pocket Tens 3-bet for value. But against the automatic c-bettor, you might want to just call with Tens because you are guaranteed to face a bet on the flop. Similarly, you could just call with hands like AQo and JTs to further strengthen your calling range.
By including these strong hands in your calling range, you will naturally find yourself raising (and calling) more often versus a c-bet on the flop. This is simply because you have more strong hands with which to do so. In extreme cases, hands as strong as JJ can see huge expected value (EV) over-realizations against opponents determined to c-bet every flop.
Final Thoughts – Can Any of These Exploitative Strategies Be Proven?
In Elite Cash Game Exploits, Uri lays out some pretty wild exploitative strategies that sometimes go strongly against the grain of modern poker theory. But this does beg the question, is there any way to actually verify that these plays are higher EV?
Throughout the 25 hour course, Uri takes the time to model specific opponent mistakes in a solver and then recalculates exploitative preflop strategies that take advantage of those mistakes.
Not only will you learn many such adjustments throughout the course, but Uri will also teach you how to come up with these exploitative adjustments yourself (should you care to do so).
More on this to come in the Elite Cash Game Exploits course. Check out part 3 of this article series here.
Note: Want to get notified when the very first exploit-based poker training course comes out? Click here to add yourself to the waitlist!