Editor’s note: This is Lesson #10 in our weekly “Strategy with Stas” series. Each and every Sunday Stas Tishkevich, founder of the Poker Fighter Training App, brings you a new lesson in article + video format. We hope you enjoy this feature from the Poker Fighter School, and would be happy for you to share these posts — as well as your feedback — on social media.
Action is folded to the player in dealer position, who open-raises the pot. Most players will open-raise a wide range from this position, at least 35% of possible starting hands, and our king-queen suited is ahead of this opening range, so we should almost always re-raise (3-bet) our hand in this spot.
Just calling from the big-blind with ace-jack suited is possible if we play vs. a tight small-blind, or vs. a very aggressive small-blind that 4-bets too much.
So we re-raise from the big-blind and the small-blind calls, which usually means a capped range.
A Capped Range in this case means that the opponent doesn’t have the best possible hands pre-flop, such as pocket aces, pocket kings, pocket queens, pocket jacks, or ace-king, while we do have these hands because we would re-raise them pre-flop.
Our Flop Decision
The flop comes 6h-4s-3h, which is a very wet flop, as it allows for a made straight, flush draws, and also straight draws.
We are out of position and have a medium drawing hand – two over-cards and a backdoor to the flush.
So, we need to make a decision. Our possible lines here are to give-up or bet as a bluff.
Betting as a Bluff is a good idea if we think that the opponent is going to fold quite often. He can fold stronger hands than ours such as an ace-high, and fold hands that have equity vs. us such as broadways. A smart bluff will be a bluff in which we have decent amount of cards that can improve our hand in the following streets.
Giving up is a good idea if we think there is a very small chance that the opponent will fold his hand to our bet, either because he calls too much or because the flop hits well his perceived calling range pre-flop.
So, given all of this information, our line here on the flop would be to bet our hand as a bluff.
What’s Our Plan for the Hand?
If the dealer calls, we can semi-bluff any spade on the turn, or maybe bet again as a bluff on high turn cards such as an ace, jack or ten. If a king or a queen comes, we can bet for thin value or check to bluff-catch depending on the tendencies and weaknesses of our opponent.
If the dealer raises our flop bet, it’s a super-easy decision as we have only a king-high, thus folding would be the correct move. Most players would raise this flop with very strong hands such as two-pair (64s, 43s), sets and made straights (75s). Even if he bluff-raises with a flush draw or straight draw, his hands have a lot of equity vs. our holding.
The main point we need to understand here on the flop is that on when we have medium drawing hands, our bluff on the flop is usually less likely to lose than just giving up on the hand, especially if we can carry on with semi-bluff on later streets when the next card adds equity to our hand.