5 QUICK CUES TO DEFEND YOUR FLOP
When you are not sure how to play against a c-bet on the flop, following these tips will ensure that your defense tactics are balanced. Opponents will understand that it is very difficult to play against you:
- Always continue when hitting a pair on the flop;
- Always fold a small pair in your hand, if it does not connect in any way with the flop;
- Re-raise when you have at least two pairs;
- Frequently lift with open-ended straight draws;
- Raise with gutshots, if you hold in parallel and backdoor flush draws.
Keep in mind that these are just general guidelines to follow. The presence of certain factors should make you play differently in front of a c-bet. Let’s further analyze when you have to deviate from the rules.
THE ADVANTAGE OF THE RANGE
If the board is very good for your opponent’s range, you should lift less often. In other words, you don’t have to take into account tips 3, 4, and 5. Instead, you can raise more often if the flop is, in theory, very good for your range of cards.
Some hands may be stronger or weaker depending on the board. Here are some examples:
- A small pair in your hand is a pretty good hand on an 884 flop, so you should usually ignore tip 2 and go for at least one more street call option.
- You can ignore all the advice on the monotonous boards, with no perspective for you. All hands change drastically in terms of the possibility of capitalizing on them under such conditions. The third pair below, without a draw of color, is too weak to continue. The same goes for the other hands you have if the flop offers no perspective, through its texture. Avoid staying in the hands as much as possible where the chance of the hand completing is low.
If you know your opponent’s trends, you can adjust these guidelines provided above to get the most out of them. This is especially true if the trends are extreme: either you are dealing with an extremely tight opponent, who only plays in the card, or you have a hyper-aggressive maniac in front of you.
For example, against a very aggressive player, who almost always attacks, it would be better to just call on the floor, when you have two pairs (regardless of the tip 3 above). This allows the opponent to continue the aggressive game on the turn with a wide range. If you come with a re-raise, you trigger a defense mechanism, he will realize that he is far behind and will not play his usual game, wanting to protect himself.
On the contrary, against a very tight player, you will probably want to go for the check-fold version, with a pair of midfielders (regardless of tip 1). This is because such opponents usually evolve in the book and take risks only when they consider that they have a good enough hand to bet.
THE SIZE OF THE STICK
The size of the bet matters because it dramatically influences the odds for you. It also has an impact on the range that your opponent represents. The discussion is extensive, but the explanations, in short, are:
- If your opponent makes an absurdly small bet, such as a minimum bet, then you can ignore tip 2.
- Conversely, if you bet heavily, such as a 150% pot overbet, then you can skip tips 1, 3, 4, and 5.
As you can see, it’s pretty intuitive to figure out how to adjust your game to variables. If you are in an unfriendly place, in front of a c-bet on the flop, you need to adapt. Even if you decide to continue, for various reasons, you will have to play your hand as well as possible, write down the details, and analyze everything in the smallest detail after the session, to find out what you should have done. Poker is a game where you have to adapt and learn all the time, there are no simple and generally valid recipes.