Editor’s note: This is Lesson #11 in our weekly “Strategy with Stas” series. Each and every Sunday Stas Tishkevich, founder of the Poker Fighter Training App, brings you a new lesson in article + video format. We hope you enjoy this feature from the Poker Fighter School, and would be happy for you to share these posts — as well as your feedback — on social media.

Pre-flop

Action is folded to player in the small-blind, who open-raises the pot. Most players will open-raise a wide range from this position — at least 35% of possible starting hands — and our pocket kings are way ahead of this opening range, so we should almost always re-raise our hand in this spot. This re-raise is called a 3-bet, as it is a raise over the opponent’s open-raise (2-bet).

Just calling pocket kings from the big-blind vs. a small-blind’s open-raise will usually not maximize our hand’s potential.

So we re-raise from the big-blind and the small-blind re-raises again, meaning he makes a 4-bet, a raise over our 3-bet.

Assigning a 4-Bet Range

Different players will have different 4-bet ranges in this spot, so it’s important to understand the type of opponent you are facing in this particular situation.

The most passive players will have a nutted 4-bet range – hands like pocket kings and aces, maybe pocket queens and ace-king.

The standard player can add in this specific spot, small-blind vs. big-blind, hands like pocket tens and jacks, ace-queen, maybe even ace-jack.

Loose-aggressive players can either go wider for value (pocket nines or king-queen for example), or add semi-bluffs (low suited aces or suited connectors for example).

Reacting to a 4-Bet

We need to decide what to do with our pocket kings, and folding is obviously not an option.

There are two possible lines in this spot:

A GTO approach claims 100 big blinds deep, we shouldn’t have a re-raise (5-bet) range. This means that all the hands we will decide to play will just call vs. the opponent’s 4-bet, be it ace-queen or pocket aces. In this way our range will be balanced and the opponent will not know if we have a nutted hand or just a strong hand.

This approach should be used when playing vs. thinking players who are capable of folding good hands vs. a 5-bet.

An exploitative approach claims that you should always take the most +EV line with your hand vs. the specific opponent you are playing against.

Versus weak non-folding opponents, you should re-raise (5-bet) with the hands you think are ahead of his 4-bet range (pocket aces and kings for example), call the hands that are more or less equal to his 4-bet range (pocket queens and ace-king for example), and fold the hands that are behind your opponent’s 4-bet range (ace-queen or ace-jack for example).

Versus loose aggressive players who 4-bet too much and are capable of folding, we can 5-bet with our bluff-hands (ace-ten or king-queen for example), and just call our nutted hands (pocket aces and kings for example) inducing bluffs post-flop.

Our Decision

Normally when playing for low stakes, most of the opponents we will be facing tend to play too loose pre-flop (calling too much), but when they raise or re-raise, they usually have a strong hand. They also tend to call too much, especially when they think they have a good hand.

Versus these players, loose-passive and non-folding, we should probably use an exploitative approach and re-raise our nutted hands to extract maximum value pre-flop before action-killers come on the flop.

We can use various 5-bet sizings depending on what we want to accomplish, but the standard 5-bet sizing when playing 100 big blinds deep will usually be shoving all-in and praying that our opponent will not snap-call with pocket aces…

Summary

The main point we need to understand here pre-flop is that there isn’t only one possible move, but rather many different lines we can use based on the player type we face, and his perceived range.

The post Strategy with Stas | Lesson #11: Pocket Kings vs. a 4-Bet appeared first on Cardplayer Lifestyle Poker Blog.

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Editor’s note: This is Lesson #11 in our weekly “Strategy with Stas” series. Each and every Sunday Stas Tishkevich, founder of the Poker Fighter Training App, brings you a new lesson in article + video format. We hope you enjoy this feature from the Poker Fighter School, and would be happy for...