One of the things I've been focusing on lately is asking myself is whether it makes sense to c-bet, or if I should let my opponent do so. In other words, is the villain likely to fold better and/or call with worse? Then I look at the villain's stats and ask myself if he's likely to bluff at the pot if I don't cbet. Here's an example from a small buy-in MTT that I played this morning.
Villain is a solid, aggressive player that I had notes on. He played a good, L2 game. Only weakness I detected is his reluctance to fire multiple barrels when bluffing; his bluffing MO was usually a one-and-done approach.
BTN: 6,584 (219.5 bb)
SB: 2,240 (74.7 bb)
BB: 1,986 (66.2 bb)
UTG+1: 1,311 (43.7 bb)
UTG+2: 2,750 (91.7 bb)
MP1: 950 (31.7 bb)
MP2: 1,727 (57.6 bb)
MP3: 1,945 (64.8 bb)
Hero (CO): 1,777 (59.2 bb)
Preflop: Hero is CO with A♥ J♦
UTG+1 folds, UTG+2 calls 30, 3 folds, Hero raises to 135, BTN calls 135, 3 folds
Flop: (345) 8♣ 8♦ A♣
Hero checks, BTN bets 345, Hero raises to 862, BTN folds
Results: 1,035 pot
Final Board: 8♣ 8♦ A♣
BTN mucked and lost (-480 net)
Hero mucked A♥ J♦
and won 1,035 (555 net)
Board was very dry, and I almost certainly had the best hand, as villain would have 3bet PF with a better ace, and it's very hard to put him on any kind of 8 here. Villain is very aware of board texture here. He's not going to call with worse hands if I cbet the flop here, but he certainly was capable of firing a single barrel bluff if I let him. Further, if I check-called, he would probably shut it down unless his hand improved big. In other words:
- Read: His range on the flop is middle and small pairs and missed big cards/air.
- Estimate: My hand is far ahead of his range, with solid equity.
- Decide: I've got solid value.
- Implement: He's folding a huge fraction of his range out if I cbet, and in fact is only calling with better. I'm not going to get much out of him if he's as weak as I think, so the best way to do so is check the flop and let him bluff. I'm going to check-raise, however, as I don't want other cards to peel cheaply, and I don't think I'm getting him to fire a second barrel.
All-in for now...