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The Mistake Poker Players Make When C-Betting

Range betting, or betting 100% of the time, can be a powerful tool. It exploits players who fold too often and don’t raise often enough — and that describes the vast majority of all poker players.

However, far too often, players who discover the power of range betting will make the mistake of doing it too often.

Range betting too often can be quite costly. You’ll find yourself in tough spots on turns and rivers with too wide of a range. And your opponents may even “accidentally” exploit you on the flop simply because you bet too often on a board that smashes their range.

With this in mind, cash game crusher Tim Jenkins created an in-depth module inside the Upswing Lab to help you understand when to range bet and how to proceed on future streets.

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Tim’s graph playing online cash games. You’re in good hands.

This article is a preview of Tim’s module. If you want to access the full lesson, join the Upswing Lab here.

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(Already a Lab member? Click here to watch the module.)

Let’s get started!

The Immediately Obvious Advantages of Range Betting

Tim starts off his module by explaining why range betting for a small size on the flop is so effective. Namely:

  1. Range betting is both an awesome exploitative strategy while still being theoretically sound in many cases
  2. It’s a strategy that is simple and easy to execute
  3. It can drastically reduce the likelihood of us making big mistakes compared to other bet sizing strategies
  4. Its simplicity frees up mental energy for us to think about other consequential things, both while playing and studying

When most intermediate poker players start experimenting with range betting, the benefits become clear quite quickly. You simply win more pots and end up in fewer tough spots when you use this strategy.

Let’s jump ahead to the big mistake players make when implementing this strategy…

You Shouldn’t Always Range Bet

According to Tim, one of the biggest mistakes players make when they find out about range betting is that they try to do it too often.

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Here are two key points from Tim:

  1. There are a lot of boards and scenarios in which range betting is not a winning strategy
  2. Even if range betting is +EV (expected value) in a given situation, it may yield significantly less EV than a different sizing strategy

For example, on low paired boards like , the preflop raiser doesn’t benefit from a high frequency, smaller sizing strategy. Because the preflop raiser has a big overpair advantage on these boards, more money can be won (on average) with a different approach (bet big or check).

Another example of a bad board to range bet is a wet, middling board (like ). Especially out of position, the preflop raiser is often at an actual equity disadvantage against the preflop caller and should often check 100% of the time to protect their range.

The Importance of Knowing How to Play the Turn

One thing I noticed from Tim’s lesson was that a huge amount of emphasis was put on how to correctly play the turn after range betting flop.

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The turn is really where the skill comes into play, and where you can really start pushing the biggest edge against the competition.  

Reading board texture is key, and it’s important to study to develop an understanding of how each potential turn card impacts the nut advantage of each player. 

By understanding which player has the advantage in the nutted-hand class on every turn, we can more appropriately tailor our bet sizing strategy to any specific situation. We’ll also know how to select the best bluffing combinations to use based on their nut blocker characteristics. 

Thinking Ahead to the River

As with the turn, going into the river we’ll need to consider how various runouts will play to each player’s nut/equity advantage.

However, before arriving at the river, we will also want to consider how each hand in our range plays as a bet or check on the turn. 

River considerations on the turn:

  1. What are the nut advantage/equity shifts for each player across various river runouts?
  2. How aggressively do we expect our opponent to play the river if we check back the turn?
  3. Which hands in our range benefit from checking back turn?
  4. Which hands benefit from being 3 street value bets, and which hands make for the best triple-barrel bluffs on the river?

These are the types of questions you should be asking yourself on the turn.

Final Thoughts

We can roughly outline the three steps to developing a fundamentally sound range betting strategy into the following:

  1. Develop an understanding of which flops are appropriate to range bet on, and which aren’t.
    In some cases, we are at an equity disadvantage and range betting is a big mistake. While in other cases it might just be significantly less +EV than a different betting strategy.
  2. Learn to read board textures…
    …especially as it applies to how each potential turn impacts each player’s nut advantage.
  3. Think ahead to the river.
    Consider what hands you might want to bet the turn with to have as a future bluff on 5th street. Also, consider how you expect your opponent to play on the river if you check back the turn. 

If you want to master range betting, join the Upswing Lab to get instant access to Tim’s in-depth module on the topic. Your bankroll will thank you.

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As always, thanks for reading, and we’ll see you next time!

P.S. If you want to keep improving your poker game for free, scroll down to related articles and pick your topic of choice below.

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