Poker Coverage: Poker Legislation Poker Tournaments U.S. Poker Markets

Two Streets Of Value: Which Streets Are Best?

by Roy Cooke |  Published: Dec 19, 2018

Print-icon
 

You flop a big hand and seek to get maximum value. You bet the flop and get one call. You fire again on the turn. Your opponent’s calling range strengthened as he folds his weaker hands. To value-bet again on the river and obtain three-streets of value, you usually need a stronger hand than to bet on the turn; your opponent’s calling range has strengthened again, and any draws he missed are now going to be folded. If your hand is strong enough to obtain three-streets of value, betting is somewhat straight-forward.

But many hands aren’t strong enough to acquire three-streets of value. On the flop, you’ll need to best estimate how many streets of value your hand likely has. The key factors being your hand strength, your opponent’s calling range, and your opponent’s strategic tendencies. Keep in mind your opponent’s calling range will change based on which additional cards come and which streets you bet. You’ll also need to be flexible and adjust to any new information obtained and changes in board texture.

Hands that are only situationally strong enough to obtain two-streets of value begets the question of which streets are best to bet? Do you want to check the flop and bet the turn and river? Bet the flop, check the turn and bet the river? Or bet the flop and turn, and check the river? There are many factors to consider; your opponent’s calling range, the vulnerability of your hand, your opponent’s tendencies, your position, the board texture, etc. It’s not just randomly picking a strategy.

If you likely have a two-streets hand, betting the flop denies your opponent his equity of his folding range. So, you should tend to bet hands that are vulnerable to hands he will fold. That said, it also makes you susceptible to a raise. You may get raise-bluffed or lose the equity of your holding when you’re forced to fold. However, many opponents have a low predisposition to raise. Flop betting also can lose value in situations in which checking causes your opponent to bluff or make weak calls on future streets. You need to assess the risks of being raised and being outdrawn by hands he will likely fold and the differing values of how the hand will play on future streets in various scenarios. The lower the odds of your opponent’s raising and the greater likelihood of his drawing out with hands he would fold, the more inclined you should be to bet. Additionally, the wider your opponent’s calling range, and the larger the pot, the more you should be inclined to bet. But always take into account how the hand will likely play on future streets.

Yes, I do understand there are other factors to consider that add or lessen weight to the calculation. But you must blend those concepts into the equation. For example: You might bet pocket tens on a ASpade Suit 9Club Suit 4Heart Suit flop to deny equity to any Broadway holdings, but check pocket kings since giving a free card is less dangerous and you may get better value later in the hand by checking.

With a two-street holding, against an opponent who often bluffs the river, you’ll want to check the turn more. Checking will also tend to get an additional street of value from your opponent’s weak hands that would fold to a turn bet. Many players will call small flop bets light, thinking that their opponent (often correctly so) will continuation bet with a wide range. When you check the turn, those opponents will read you for a weak range and often expand their river calling range or bluff. Once again, you must evaluate the value of the equity you are giving your opponent’s range and contemplate if you are losing value from his drawing range. If there are a lot of draws present in your opponent’s range, checking the turn loses value if he’s not a river bluffer when he whiffs his draw.

These are mostly general concepts and the application of them is going to be situationally specific. There are many more that apply to a which street to bet analysis. What’s important is that you acknowledge they exist and think about them. Accurately defining when, where, and how you can acquire value is a huge component of No-Limit poker. Correctly analyzing two-street situations and whether to check-bet-bet, bet-bet-check or bet-check-bet is going to provide you with the value of those additional bets gained, many of which will be good sized and high expected value.

Think through each individual situation. How will your opponent(s) react with different portions of their range? How does each variant play? What value did you receive and what risks did you assume? What was the cumulative value? This WILL get complicated. But with time and effort, you’ll automatically generate a thought pattern that will mostly auto-define these situations for you. And if you analyze this correctly, you’ll be checking a range of hands, both strong and weak in a variety of situations making you much harder to read.

And that all correlates into more chips in your stack! ♠

Roy CookeRoy Cooke played poker professionally prior to becoming a successful for 16 years prior to becoming a successful Las Vegas Real Estate Broker/Salesman. Should you wish any information Real Estate matters-including purchase, sale or mortgage, his office number is 702-376-1515 or e-mail RoyCooke123@gmail.com. Their website is www.RoyCooke.com where you can visit Roy’s Poker Room for his poker writings. You can also find him on Facebook or Twitter @Real RoyCooke. Please see ad below!