I think we can all agree there isn’t anything sexier in poker than a big overbet. (If there is, let me know what in the comments below.)
The strategy behind overbetting was pretty crude back when it first started gaining popularity. But as time progressed, talented players have helped refine overbetting into a more exact science.
Now in the modern era of solvers, Upswing is taking the strategy behind optimal overbetting to an even higher level with coach Daniel “dougiedan678” McAulay’s new “Turn C-bet: Overbetting” learning module.
This module goes into amazing detail on everything you need to know about how to master turn overbetting, but in this preview I wanted to give you some of the basic concepts taken from the course.
In the following sections, I’ll go over 3 basic questions about overbetting on turns:
- Why do we overbet?
- When do we overbet?
- How much do we overbet?
Remember, this article is only scratching the surface. If you’re serious about mastering the turn overbet, check out the full 3-hour learning module in the Upswing Lab.
Let’s get started!
We’ve already established that overbetting is really cool, so let’s go over why you might want to overbet in a given situation.
Here are the primary upsides to overbetting on the turn:
- We get more value with our strong hands.
- We get to bluff with a higher proportion of our range (see: Minimum Defense Frequency).
- We force our opponent to fold more, and this means they realize less equity.
- Most of the time our opponents will be reluctant to raise vs an overbet (which is correct on their part). This allows us to realize more equity by always getting to see the river while also being in position. It also allows us to control the size of the pot going into the river.
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Some of the reasons for why to overbet are pretty intuitive. But many players struggle with is knowing when to overbet and how much to overbet.
There are three main scenarios where overbetting is appropriate:
- When have the nut advantage (more very strong hands than our opponent).
- When our opponents range is capped (in other words, he has no/few very strong hands).
- When the turn (or river) card is a brick.
Scenario 1 example:
We are on the Button facing the Big Blind in a single raised pot. The flop comes A♣ K♥ 6♦ and our c-bet gets called. The turn comes the 2♣.
In this case, both players can have hands like A6, K6, 66, and A2. However, because the big blind did not 3-bet us preflop, we know he cannot have the very best hands (AA, AK, and KK). Meanwhile, we can have all of these hands in our range, along with 3 combinations of 22 for a turned set.
This all gives a significant nut advantage over our opponent and makes for a great overbet spot.
Scenario 2 example:
The hand from scenario 1 can also be used to describe scenario 2, but let’s elaborate a little further.
Oftentimes on flops, players will check-raise with the very top of their range, which sometimes can leave them exposed to having a capped range on some turns.
Let’s consider A♣ K♥ 6♦ 2♣, again. We already know that we have the nut advantage. But on top of that, we can assume that some of the strongest hands in our opponent’s range (like 66) are often going to be check-raised on the flop.
Suppose that we know our opponent will check-raise 66 and most of his two-pair hands on the flop. If that’s the case, his turn range after check-calling is largely capped to the odd number of A2 combos he might have.
Given this, we can go to town with a very aggressive selection of turn overbets with our value hands and bluffs. This allows us to apply maximum pressure to our opponent.
Scenario 3 example:
When it comes to overbetting brick turns, let’s mix things up and change the board to 7♥ 4♦ 2♠ with the Q♣ falling on the turn.
The brick turn concept will most often apply to situations like this, where the flop is all low cards and the turn peels off a random high card that doesn’t make many two-pair combos for our opponent.
Since our opponent is likely folding hands like Q2o, Q4o, and Q7o preflop, the Q♣ is a brick for his range. Granted, he can have some combos of suited hands like Q♠ 4♠, but those make up a very small part of his range.
You could also look at this spot from the perspective that the Q♣ mostly improves our range. This is because we have a large number of Qx overcard hands that bet flop (like QJ/QT), in addition to a number of other value hands that aren’t phased by this turn (like KK or 22).
Whatever way you choose to look at it, this is another great overbet spot.
It’s not uncommon among great players to see overbets ranging in size from anywhere between 125%-300% pot. Sometimes even more.
Given that there are so many sizing options, the question of “how much to overbet?” is in large part why this new overbetting module in the Upswing Lab is so valuable.
Getting into all the nuances of overbet sizings is outside the scope of this article, but here are some basic tips for choosing how much to overbet:
- The bigger our nut advantage, the bigger we can overbet
- On boards where we are the only player that can have the nuts, we can theoretically bet all-in regardless of stack depth (even if it’s 10 times the pot).
- Optimal turn overbet sizes will largely come down to board textures.
These quick tips are sure to make you print money with your overbet sizings.
I want to re-emphasize one last time that we’ve only scratched the surface of overbetting in this article. There are so many more interesting principles to discuss on this topic like range-construction, blockers, betting rivers after overbetting the turn etc.
With all this in mind, I again encourage you to check out the full module yourselves in the Upswing Lab.
In the meantime, we’d love to hear from you. What has been your experience with overbetting, and what kinds of factors are you considering when you’re setting up a big turn overbet?
As always I’ll be happy to respond to any questions in the comments section below. Until next time, good luck at the tables!
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