You look down at your cards.
You see a nice high card hand, like KQ, QJ or even AK. Your raise picks up a caller or two.
Then, you completely whiff on the flop, which is pretty sad.
But wait, it might not be over yet!
As you will see in this article, there are some situations in which your overcard hands still have some solid value. I’ll go over three such situations today.
Let’s dive into the first spot! But first, let’s answer the question: What are overcards?
What are Overcards?
An overcard is a card of a higher rank than the community cards or those in a player’s hand. Here are a couple of situations in which you might refer to overcards:
- When you hold pocket jacks, any ace, king or queen that comes out on the board is an overcard.
- On a flop of J♠ 7♦ 3♠, you could have two overcards with a hand like A♣ K♣ or one overcard with a hand like K♣ T♦.
The spot: A heads-up, single-raised pot on a disconnected flop in which you are in position after raising preflop.
Example: You raise on the button and only the player in the big blind calls. The flop comes J♦ 6♣ 2♥.
It is important to remember that most of the time, nobody has a made hand on the flop. In fact, in a heads-up pot both players will have missed the flop roughly 50% of the time.
Take a look below at how often a default Big Blind versus Button calling range makes a made hand on average:
Some boards will connect better with certain ranges than others. Disconnected boards, however, fall squarely into the “difficult to hit” category.
To identify these types of flops they need to follow a couple of rules:
- The top two cards don’t create straight draws or gutshots
- They are all made of different suits
Disconnected boards include flops such as:
- J♦ 6♣ 2♥
- Q♥ 7♦ 3♣
- K♣ 8♥ 4♦
- T♠ 3♣ 2♥
This giveaway has ended:
Think of another disconnected flop and type it in the comment section down below. On Monday (8/2/2020), a winner will be randomly chosen to receive any shirt, hat, or hoodie they want from the Upswing shop.
Check out how often a default Big Blind versus Button calling range has a made hand on J♦ 6♣ 2♥:
That range misses roughly 3% more often. Poker is a game of small edges, and 3% is a big edge to have.
Because of this, betting on these boards with hands like A3o, KQ, Q8s is what you should be doing every single time!
Note: Want to boost your preflop game to new heights? Access high-level preflop charts that will boost your win-rate when you join the Upswing Lab training course. Learn more now!
The spot: A heads-up, 3-bet pot in which you are out of position after your preflop 3-bet was called.
Example: The player on the button raises, you 3-bet from the small blind, and the player on the button calls.
In these situations, your range will almost always overpower your opponent’s range, and thus you will be incentivized to play a very aggressive strategy. It won’t matter much how connected the board is because you will (almost) always have an equity advantage due to your superior preflop range.
Take a look at a solver’s solution for a 9♠ 8♠ 3♦ flop after the button opened and then called against a small blind 3-bet. Here’s how PioSolver thinks the small blind should play on the flop:
The solver likes to bet all overcard type hands, even though the flop is pretty connected. This is all due to your range having a whooping 56% equity on this board against a default button 3-bet calling range.
The spot: A heads-up, 3-bet pot in position after your preflop 3-bet was called.
Example: A player in the cutoff raises, you 3-bet on the button, and the player in the cutoff calls.
This spot is similar to 3-bet pots when out of position. The driving factor is the same: you will have a range advantage on almost every flop imaginable.
Your range will contain all of the overpairs, as well as some sets and two-pairs (depending on the flop), while your opponent’s range will mostly be made by bluff-catchers and missed overcards, along with a small fraction of sets and even fewer two-pairs (again, depending on the flop).
Even your hands with one or two overcards will have a lot of equity if your flop c-bet is called, and you have the power of position. This gives you the option to check back on bad turn cards for your range/hand.
All of these reasons combined make for very profitable c-bets with your overcard type hands when in position in 3-bet pots as the 3-bettor.
Let’s look at the solver solution for a 7♣ 3♦ 2♠ flop after the cutoff opened and called a 3-bet from the button. Here’s how the button should play it when checked to according to PioSolver:
Once again, the aggressor has a huge advantage on this board — close to 56% equity against a standard preflop 3-bet calling range from the cutoff. Because of these reason, the button is able to profitably bet with his entire range for a one-third pot sizing.
Overcard type hands have very low EV in some spots, but that doesn’t mean you don’t want to win as much as possible with them. Playing too passively with overcard hands in these three spots I just presented will cost you a lot of money over time.
Just be careful not to keep on barreling once you whiff the turn completely.
To learn about continuing with all types of hands on the turn, including overcards, read When Should You Continue Barreling on a Brick Turn Card?
Or, if you’d prefer something more interactive, try the quiz Are You a Double Barrelin’ Cowboy at the Poker Table?
That’s all I have for now! If you enjoyed this article or have any questions or feedback please let me know in the comment section down below and I’ll do my best to answer.
This giveaway has ended:
Comment below with an example of a disconnected flop for a chance to win a free item from the Upswing shop!
Update: The giveaway winner has been chosen and replied to below. But feel free to still comment below with a disconnected flop!
Till’ next time, good luck, grinders!
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