Double Barrelling the Turn
Poker is constantly becoming an increasingly aggressive game and the average player even at the micro-stakes games is playing more optimally. The problem here is that your continuation bets are becoming far too weak and are going to get called down or even re-raised more often in today’s games.
The typical opponent at the moment will be able to spot your c-bets from position and adapt to how you’re playing. That’s why double-barrelling the turn and bluffing on a second consecutive street becomes far more necessary for folding opponents.
You can’t rely on a cheap shot 50% pot sized continuation bet to fold pre-flop callers. But by betting on the turn you now fold a high proportion of opponents who called on the flop, especially at soft US poker sites such as Sportsbook Poker which has lots of new poker players in the low stakes games.
Double barrelling the turn is going to win you far more pots than a c-bet. The reason double barrelling is so successful is because players who were once willing to call the flop will now be much less likely to continue playing missed draws or marginal hands on the turn.
Hands such as Ax/Kx or bottom pairs on the flop might have been willing to call a small raise and see an extra card on the turn, but they are indeed most likely to let these hands go at this point. The size and risk of calling a double-barrel on the turn is also a lot bigger than the flop. A typical c-bet will only be around 8BBs for example whilst a turn bet will be more like 20BBs. Hence, the range of holdings that your opponent can profitably call you with will be much tighter. Even the looser player and regulars in the game will be folding to your double barrels. A surprising amount of the time your average opponents will be calling the flop with overcards like JQ/KQ too in the hope of hitting something on the turn. Once they miss the turn however they’re extremely unlikely to continue these through, especially if they’re out of position.
Like most bluffs, you need to pick the right sorts of cards on the turn to double barrel. After all, there are some types of hands that are extremely profitable to double barrel and then there are ones which you shouldn’t barrel under any circumstances.
The best situation to double barrel is when the turn brings and higher card to the board such as an A to 5-Q-10 or Q to J-7-3. This is because when you bluff a higher card to the board it dramatically reduces your opponents equity in the pot whilst improving your own perceived hand strength. For example, top pair on the flop is now reduced to 2nd pair, and mid-pair turns into 3rd pair etc..This makes these types of hands very unplayable especially when your opponent has been showing strength on 3 consecutive streets. At this point in the hand most mid-pair opponents will be forced to fold along with missed draws and Ax/Kx type hands.
The worst types of cards to double barrel are the ones that bring a pair to the board. These will tend to hit your opponent’s range of hands more than you, and the danger is that you could be building a pot that you’re already well behind in. For example, when a 9 comes to the board 9-4-J it’s going to hit a lot of opponents with K9/A9 type hands.
Noticeably, these are the types of hands that you might call a pre-flop raise with but you wouldn’t raise yourself. Hence, you have to be more careful with these and be able to spot when your opponent is slow-playing or trapping you. A good read on any opponent’s pre-flop positional hand range is a great thing to have when double barrelling just in case you think your opponent might have picked up some extra equity.
Finally you must remember that double-barrelling is much more profitably and effective from position. Out of position, this moves becomes practically suicidal. The problem is that if you do get called you’re most likely going to have to check/fold the river, plus when your opponent has position on you his semi-bluffing and calling range widens. For example, he might start re-raising you in position with mid-pairs or drawing hands with overcards especially if he thinks you are bluffing with air.