by Ashley Adams
In the first part of this article we explained how “betting on the come” was a useful tool in making profitable the tougher no limit games that we are facing today. Let’s look at the sample hand we started to examine.
You raised to $12 with Ac Jc and the flop was Kc 9c 2d. You got two callers, and then came out betting $25 on the flop. Your sole loose opponent called you on the button. Maybe he had a 9 or a weak King and figured you were just making a continuation bet with nothing—and that he was probably ahead. Or maybe he had a flush draw (but a lower one than yours) and figured he’d see if he could connect on the turn.
Sure enough, the turn is the Tc, giving you the nut flush. If you’re lucky, your sole opponent had T-9 or K-T and hit two pair or had a flush draw and just connected. Unless he’s particularly sophisticated, he’s unlikely to put you on the flush—since he figures you wouldn’t have raised pre-flop and then come out betting on the flop with just two suited cards. If he hit two pair he may well raise you; and if he just made his flush he will almost surely end up with all of his chips in the pot.
Of course I painted the most favorable outcome to betting on the flop. More often than not (in fact about four times more often than not) you will not hit that flush on the turn. Most of the time you’ll hit nothing—and you’ll have to decide whether to fire again as a semi-bluff (hoping he’ll fold, but with a back up plan of hitting a winning hand on the river). But even with nothing, your betting on the come pays some dividends, as your less sophisticated opponents may not bet into your apparent weakness, just sighing in relief and checking after you check, giving you a free shot at hitting your hand by checking after you.
Betting on the come is a way of mixing up your play, to make you less predictable. By being less predictable you give your opponent or opponents opportunity of mistakenly putting you on hands you don’t have—causing them to make incorrect plays against you. These incorrect plays can be to give you a free card when they should be betting into you or, even better, of underestimating the true strength of your hand when you hit, mistakenly paying you off.
You need to be selective with this play. If you make this move too frequently, your more observant opponents will recognize it and play back at you aggressively. And you don’t want to make this move against weak players who don’t have the depth of chips that are necessary for this play to show a profit in the long run. Short stacked weak players who call you when you bet on the come, will not lose enough when you hit to justify all of the times when they will win in a showdown when you don’t hit. But betting on the come selectively, and against relatively deep opponents, will help you extract profit in the increasingly tough low limit no limit games.
Ashley Adams is the author of Winning No Limit Hold’em and Winning 7-card Stud, both available at Amazon.com. He is also the host of the popular poker radio show, House of Cards. For listening times and stations, to get a podcast of the show, or to check out the blog, go to www.houseofcardsradio.com. You can email Ashley at email@example.com.