The Multi Barrel Bluff

This is the latest poker lesson for the Tagpoker, 6 max cash school. Myself and Alex have already noticed a huge hole in many of the new students post flop game which seems to be when to multi barrel bluff and when not to. In this article I am going to give you a better idea of when to fire one barrel, two barrels and when to unload the clip, why to bet and when to just give up and elect not to multi barrel bluff.

Life after the C-Bet

Ok so you've raised pre flop and fired the first barrel as a continuation bet. You're opponent has called so now what? A common mistake we're seeing is either players totally give up or they are firing multi barrels but in bad situations. (Both mistakes can be costly).

So what factors do we really need to think about?

1) How many other players are still in the hand?

The more opponents you're facing, the less inclined you should be to fire multi barrels as a bluff and try and get them to fold (it just wont happen that much). Against three or more players you should almost never be barreling as a complete bluff as it's just not going to work out very often.

2) What style is your opponent playing?

If your opponent is an 85% VPIP, monster drooling, call station then there is little reason to barrel the turn as a bluff. Against this kind of player you just want to be betting multi barrels for value. When I say value you have to remember that it really is a relative statement and I may be betting middle pair again vs this type of player and not always waiting for the stone cold nuts as they call with such a super wide range in lots of situations.

When to barrel the turn as a bluff?

So let's look at some good situations for us to consider firing another barrel as a bluff.

1) When the turn card is an over card to an otherwise wet flop. Most players will usually raise you on the flop if they hold a strong hand to protect themselves from you potentially drawing out on them. In 6 max not many of your opponents are going to be check/ calling when out of position with over cards (unless they are a complete drooler that is). So if we think about the average villains calling range in this situation we can narrow his range down to draws and maybe weak pairs (connected or pocket pairs perhaps less than top pair).

2) When the flop has a big gap between the top card and the middle card for example 3h,5c,Qd and the turn card is somewhere imbetween.

Imagine the flop comes down something like Ad,2s,4h. You fire and c-bet and get called then the turn brings say a ten. This is a good card to apply pressure to. If we think about the hands that he may off peeled one off on the flop, his range is made up of a lot of hands like pocket pairs and we'd be looking to get folds from everything up to 99.

Another flop may be something like Kh, 8d, 3s and perhaps the turn is a Queen. The same reasoning as before is as much as we should be looking to get folds from JJ,TT,99 some 8 combinations, any lower pairs, not to mention any other random floats that he could have.

3)You gain additional equity on the turn.

Lets imagine that you find yourself with a hand like As,5c and the flop is Jh,4s,3s. In this situation you would be happy to barrel (semi bluff) any spade, any 6 or again you can apply pressure to an over card.

Another gained equity situation may be when you're holding a hand like Qs,Ts and the flop comes down Kc,8d,5s and you think your opponents hand range could be weak enough to fold to a second or third barrel then you should be looking to fire again at cards such as any spade, any jack and any nine as a semi bluff on the turn.

When to fire the third barrel?

The ideal time to fire the third barrel is when your range looks very strong and your opponents looks rather weak. If for example you've followed the previous steps and fired the second barrel on an over card on say a wetish flop then your opponents hand looks limited to weak hands but your range isn't. It's for this very reason that your river bet should get a lot of folds.

There are some hazards with regards to barreling slightly wet flops as some villains may perceive your range as an aggressively played draw and the non believers out there may look you up. So the moral of the story as with heads up is to make sure you know your opponent and plan the hand accordingly.

It's good to know that three barrel bluffs shouldn't occur as often as you may think and so you don't want to just mindlessly go firing off your whole stack. The river bets are obviously big bets and could be an area where the biggest mistakes can be made. A safe rule may be that if you've missed all your outs and on the river you're really unsure of your opponents likely range then in some cases you may do best in just giving up.

Always remember to consider your image at the table. If for example you get caught firing multi barrels an observant opponent may be happy to call you down lighter in the future so no matter what happens, always think about who you're in a hand with and how they possibly view you as a player based on what's happened in the game so far.

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