POKER TIPS & STRATEGY

Bread & Butter Poker – More Fun and Profits

By Sky Matsuhashi
September 15, 2022

Have you ever heard of Bread & Butter Poker?

This is the #1 strategy for profitable poker and it’s one of the best things I learned from Tommy Angelo’s book, Elements of Poker. Get it and read it today if you haven’t yet. He gives loads of great tactical strategy advice and a lot of useful poker mindset strategies, too.

As Tommy Angelo explains it, there are three parts to Bread & Butter Poker:

  1. You were the preflop raiser. This means you have the strongest preflop range of hands, plus you have flop initiative to make a c-bet.
  2. You are in position (IP) on the flop. Position is the ultimate advantage in poker, and this makes it easier to go for value, bluff ‘em off their hand, pot control and it makes poker more fun for you (and less fun for them as everyone hates being OOP).
  3. You face only 1 or 2 opponents. The less opponents in the hand, the easier it is to make reads and get value or bluff ‘em off their hand.

I’m sure you can see why Bread & Butter is more profitable for the three aspects above.

bread and butter

3 Strategies for Getting More Bread & Butter

Let’s go on the hunt for Bread & Butter. These are the 3 strategies you must incorporate into your game and your mindset to get maximum B&B.

#1: Play with a Bread & Butter Mindset

I’ve shared in the past about playing focus sessions where you work on one specific strategy at a time. This week, every session you play will be focused on getting as much Bread & Butter as possible.

This means you’ll strive to be the preflop raiser, IP against just one or two players as often as possible. If you’re actively hunting for B&B, you’ll naturally get more of it.

With this B&B mindset in place, you’ll also work to avoid non-B&B spots:

  • You’ll make less preflop calls.
  • You’ll avoid OOP situations.
  • You’ll avoid multi-way pots.

Another lovely aspect of playing with a B&B mindset is that when you choose to enter a non-B&B spot, it’s going to be a more profitable situation to be in. This is because you’ll realize it’s NOT B&B, but the spot is just too good to pass up. Which means you will pass up on all the marginal non-B&B opportunities.

#2: Be an Aggressive Raiser, NOT a Passive Caller

You can’t get more Bread & Butter (nor can you even stumble into it) if you’re calling.

You MUST leave your passive calling ways behind and skip the limps, over-limps, 2bet calls and 3bet calls.

Have the attitude of:

“If it’s not worth raising, it’s not worth playing.”

That doesn’t mean a hand is never worth calling preflop, but it does mean you’re always on the lookout for opportunities to raise:

  • It’s folded to you? Great! Open-raise and hope to get one of the blinds HU.
  • Somebody limped? Great! Don’t over-limp if you want to play the hand, but make the isolation raise instead.
  • Somebody open-raised? Great! If you want to play your hand, go for B&B and 3-bet ‘em! (if they can fold or give your superior hand value)
  • You raised and faced a 3-bet? Bummer! (or maybe great with your AA) Be sure to look out for 3bet bluffers before open-raising as calling the 3-bet is non-B&B.

For a lot of players, defending their blinds and giving their opponents B&B is a huge money-losing play (OOP, with a weak hand and possibly a multi-way pot). Striving for B&B means you’re much more willing to fold those marginal hands in the blinds.

#3: Bigger Bet Sizes Avoid 3-bets and Isolate the Weak

You can’t control your opponent’s actions, but you can influence them with good bet sizing that pushes them toward the action you want them to take.

Aggressive 3-bettors make more 3-bets versus 2BB open-raises than against 4BB open-raises. So, if you want to avoid 3-bets and see more flops as the preflop raiser, size your open-raise closer to 3-4BBs. Most of the time with open-raises, you want to either get everyone to fold or one of the OOP blinds to call, so size it large enough to achieve this.

Even if you have AA, if everyone folds, you win the pot. If only one or both blinds call, you’ve found B&B. The problem comes when a LP player calls, taking away your position and making it more likely the pot goes multi-way to the flop. Sure, you’ve got AA, but against 3+ players, you’ve got tons of landmines to dodge.

This same rationale holds true when you’re raising limpers. They limped, which makes them a weak player. If you’ve got a hand you want to play HU against them, raise to a size that will get everyone else to fold and avoid 3-bet bluffs. I recommend 5BB+1 per limper to accomplish this.

When it comes to 3-bet sizing, always go 9bb at a minimum when IP and 10-12BB+ when OOP. You need to make it enough to get everyone to fold or just one player to call. If you make it 6BBs over a min-open-raise, you’ve just made it very tempting for flop-loving Fish to call. Your 3-betting hand just built a huge multi-way pot, and that’s not B&B especially if somebody called you with position.

Take Action!

Use the three strategies above as you strive for as much Bread & Butter this week as possible.

Go on the hunt for 100x Bread & Butter spots this week and don’t stop until you get there.

Track this in your poker journal. Select a fresh page and at the top, write these words, “I will get Bread & Butter 100 times this week” along with the dates. Then, make a tick mark for each B&B spot you get.

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Sky Matsuhashi poker author
Written By.

Sky Matsuhashi

Sky Matsuhashi is the creator of the Smart Poker Study Podcast. He has authored 4 poker books including ‘How to Study Poker Volumes 1 & 2’, ‘Preflop Online Poker’ and ‘Post-flop Online Poker’. As a poker coach, Sky is dedicated to helping his students play more effectively, earn more money and be 1% better every […]

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