When you are facing really good opponents, you shouldn’t look to just concede the pot. However you want to temper this with making sure you are putting yourself in the best possible situations as much as you can. There are some lines you can take against aggressive opponents who are opening fairly wide from the cut-off or button.
1. Stop and Go: Check and call a lot of flops where you have gut shots, back door outs, and then lead the turn. A majority of opponents will have difficulty adjusting to this line, and when executed properly will give up on a lot of pots. Mass multi-tabling regulars will look to move on to the next hand, except for the very few really good opponents.
- Donk Lead: Against a decent amount of opponents this is all you’ll have to do to take down the pot. You just want to look to do a donk lead in situations where you have maybe an overcard or two, almost no back door equity. Use hands that have very little equity to improve, and there are a reasonable range of better hands that you can get your opponent to fold out.
- Lead Small Over Bet: This works well on paired boards, or hands where you have a lot of backdoor outs. You get your opponent to define their hand a little more, and then make them make a difficult turn decision by slightly over betting the turn. Most people don’t have to deal with overbets often, so unless they have a big hand, usually opponents will give up.
In the above example, a weak regular open raised in the cut-off to 3 BBs with effective stacks of about 100 BBs. You decided to call in the big blind with As5s because your opponent seems pretty weak and not too aggressive post flop. The flop comes Qh4s7c. With 7.5 BBs in the pot, you bet under half the pot with a 3 BB bet. If your opponent just calls, you can assume they don’t have much of a hand, and with back door nut flush draws, a backdoor wheel draw, and likely an over card that is good you can over bet most turns and get folds from most of your opponent’s range.
If you get raised on the flop, you can 3-bet the flop and represent a monster looking to induce a raise. There’s really little reason for your opponent to raise on such a dry board, and the small bet and flop 3-bet will confuse most opponents. Depending on your stakes, and what kind of weak regular your opponent is, you can get a lot of Qx hands to fold out as well.
4. Check Min-Raise Lead: A slightly more risky line, but one that works well against a fairly wide range of opponents, except absolute fish who can’t fold hands. A decent percentage of opponents won’t fold to min-raises, but when they do it’s a cheap way to re-steal. When they do call, you have setup your hand to look like a monster, so you can fire a reasonably sized turn bet of 2/3rds to 3/4ths of the pot and expect to get folds from a lot of your opponent’s range on most board textures.
In the above example, your opponent opens on the button to 2.5 BBs, and you flat call out of the big blind with KcQd with effective stacks of 110 BBs. The flop comes Jc7c3d. You check to your opponent, and your opponent fires out a continuation bet of 4 BBs into a 6 BB pot. You check min-raise to 8 BBs and your opponent folds.
Your opponent will be getting 4.5:1 on a call, but it will be extremely difficult to call with Ax, 66–44, 22. These are hands that have very good equity against you that you can get to fold out. There are some hands you beat that you will get to fold out, but there are a good amount of drawing hands they could pick up on the turn that won’t fold if you check/call and lead the turn. But most importantly you will fold out Ax hands that will have over 70% equity against you, and some hands that will have trouble continuing like small pairs that have almost the same equity.
If your opponent calls, then you can lead the turn for 2/3rds the pot. You have possibly 1–2 over cards, a back door straight and 2nd nut flush back door as well. There are plenty of bad cards for your opponent’s range so that you can shove a lot of rivers as well if you miss hitting anything of showdown value.