What Should I Do When I Miss The Flop?

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Today’s question comes from Blake C, and Blake says, “I would like to know your thought process when you miss the flop, in position and out.” So Blake, that’s a great question and it’s very important that we know how to play the flop when we miss. Even a hand like ace/queen is going to miss the flop two-thirds of the time and hands similar to that are going to miss a lot of the time as well and it’s important that we know how to play these situations, like you said, both in and out of position.

One of the big things that I do in off-table work is I work with Flopzilla in these situations and I plug in my opponent’s range, I plug in the board texture, and I start seeing how my opponent hits that board. That kind of information alone is going to be very, very helpful because I understand how often my opponent hits versus misses that board, and then I can use that information when trying to formulate a bluff plan.

In general, the big thing that I’m looking at here when I’m in versus out of position is thinking about how my position relates to the number of folds that I’m going to be getting. So in general, I assume that when I continuation bet in position, I’m going to generate a couple extra folds than when I continuation bet when I’m out of position. Reason being is thinking about my opponent’s position. I assume that an opponent, when they are out of position, are not going to want to continue as liberally. And on the contrary, I assume that when an opponent has position on me, that they’re going to be doing more floating, more peeling, and ultimately that means less folding.

Relative Positions

So when I’m bluffing in general, I like taking cheap, little pot shots, I bluff where I can just throw out a single stab, pick it up enough, it’s outright profitable, and I just go from there. But there are going to be situations where I’m not going to be able to just run an outright profitable bluff. Maybe I have to plan ahead and I have to run a multi-street double barrel or maybe triple barrel going out and I want to consider those things in advance. For instance, there are situations where maybe a one shot out of position isn’t going to be very good, but if I throw two shells when I’m out of position, that’s going to be very good. They float more on the flop, which means they continue more, they’re going to hate life when they face that term bet and all of a sudden I’m generating some extra folds. That’s going to be a great situation for us.

In order to do that, again, we have to be thinking ahead, not only about their flop range, but also how the turn texture is going to change the board and whether or not we’re going to be able to generate enough folds on that street and looking at the whole play in general to see if it’s going to be +EV, not always just looking at single street profitability.

Other than just looking at raw position and my opponent’s range from a raw hit versus miss point of view, I also want to think about my cards and the kind of equity that I have. Obviously when we miss we can miss a bunch of different ways. We can miss with over cards and have a lot more equity than if we miss with just a naked two under cards and a gut shot versus missing with two total junk cards that couldn’t catch a running straight or a running anything to save their life.

The more equity that I have, the more often I’m going to be continuation betting because if I do happen to get continuance on that street, there’s a higher probability that I can improve on a future street—that’s good for us. But the weaker and weaker that my cards are, the less and less excited I am about it because if I do get continuance on that street, I’m not going to improve very often on those future streets, there’s really not going to be enough ways for me to make money in that situation in a raw improvement point of view. Think about your own cards and how that’s going to factor in.

Now just in general when I miss, I’m really just focused on getting my opponent to fold, that’s my major, major focus. Thinking about other little things like my own cards, my own equity, is definitely going to make things a lot easier. Same thing with also thinking about the board texture that can roll off, think about future cards, how those are going to change the texture and can I use those for future bluffs or if I improve on them, will there be any implied odds and how big will those implied odds be, given the range that my opponent would’ve seen that street with and continued against my continuation bet.

So Blake, thanks for the awesome question and if you or anyone else has a poker-related question, feel free to leave them on our Google+ page. Please also make sure to like and subscribe if you’re enjoying this type of video. Same as always, if you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to let me know, otherwise good luck out there and happy grinding!

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