The Mistake Poker Players Make When C-Betting

In this article, we’ll discover one of the most common errors that is made when c-betting and how you can avoid doing it. We’ll explain what the advantages are behind range-betting. and when not to do it, too. From knowing how and when to play the perfect c-bet to judging future streets of the turn or river after you’ve c-bet, we’re here to help.

These key mistakes are:

  • Not Range Betting
  • Not Mixing Up Your Betting Tendencies
  • Lacking Confidence at the Turn
  • Not Planning for the River

Why Range Betting Leads to Gains

Not bulking up enough at the poker felt? Chip stack looking limp in the late stages? Range betting needs to come into your game and pump up that profit margin. When you’re c-betting small on the flop, range betting can prove highly profitable. This is down to a number of reasons. Firstly, and most importantly, you can exploit weaker players by range-betting and the move is not only going with momentum and aggression but should be based on sound game theory too.

Range-betting – i.e. putting a player on a range of hands and knowing when to c-bet or not following the flop – is easy and can be applied to your game with immediate effect. There are plenty of ways to exploit players and not only that, but it frees up vital time in your head to compute more complicated situations.

Range betting helps the most inexperienced players improve their game, maximize their winnings and reap the benefits immediately. Winning more pots, you’ll also avoid tougher situations where others can exploit you. As they say, money saved is money earned.

You Shouldn’t Always Range Bet

Range betting has a big place in poker, but it shouldn’t always be used. Just like you shouldn’t c-bet everything, disguising yourself by mixing up your play, range betting shouldn’t happen if you’ve missed offsuit pairs of your opponent’s range. Likewise, you might want to mix up the amount that you c-bet. On low-paired board, such as 5-4-4, your pre-flop raiser opponent may well have a big overpair advantage, massively affecting how you should react, and in particular, whether you should range-bet.

If the flop comes 8-7-6 with two hearts, then you might also want to protect your stack by reducing the amount you’re c-betting or simply not doing so altogether. In this sort of position, the pre-flop raiser is actually at a distinct disadvantage, so if this is you, you’ll want to check virtually 100% of the time in order to avoid your own range of cards being exposed.

Becoming a Boss on the Turn

So much of modern poker focuses on the pre-flop action, the post-flop betting or the river, where a dramatic all-in puts poker fans into the heart of the action and both big bluffs and huge hero calls occur. The turn, or 4th street, is a vastly underestimated part of poker and where a lot of the crucial decisions that dictate the direction of the pot take place.

In general, you want to be extremely knowledgeable about your opponent’s ranges if you’re betting a second barrel on the turn. Understanding the texture of the board – a little like we demonstrated above – is vital and you can really push your edge if you know what to do at this point of the betting.

Ask yourself how you should approach your betting strategy and how you can understand that turn card. Did it improve your hand or actually impact your opponent’s likely range advantageously? Making sure that you know how different turn cards will affect your opponents and how likely they will be to call or fold to a bet of yours is really important.

Planning for the River

When you bet (or not) on the turn, you always want to be considering what you’ll do on the river. How often have you seen players bet or call on the turn then give up on the river and thought ‘so why did you bet/call on the turn?’. Don’t be that player who should have saved themselves some money.

Ask yourself some tough questions when thinking of the river, such as how does the equity shift for each player should a variety of different river cards fall? How much aggro are we likely to get back from each player if we check the turn then bet the river? Which hands do we have that benefit from betting on the turn or checking, and if they don’t benefit from a certain river action, should we check for showdown value or bet for value instead?

Some hands benefit from playing as three-street (triple barrel) bluffs. Others don’t. Ask yourself not only which of your own hands you should c-bet on the flop, turn and river (or combinations of those streets) but also what your opponent has to have to fold or call on those depending on what you want them to do.

In Conclusion

C-betting is a crucial part of poker and as with many things in poker, knowing when to play and when not to is crucial and will impact on your bottom line in time. Understanding your opponent’s true ranges are crucial if you are range-betting and while this is a brilliant tool to add to your skillset, overuse is going to punish you instead of your enemy at the felt.

Learning how to read board textures is pivotal to your understanding of when to c-bet and when to avoid doing so. Always consider what you’re planning to do across all three post-flop streets but then adjust to circumstances as things will change on each street too.

Mastering the c-bet – and when to hold off that trigger – can be extremely lucrative in the game of poker.

10 Tips for Poker Players to Overcome Bad Beats

If there’s a poker play we haven’t learned, then up-skilling to a better strategy can feel great. Improving our luck, however, is impossible. Luck doesn’t care about how hard you’ve been working on your game, whether you’re having a good day or a bad one, or whether you’ve lost your last ten coin flips.

Luck is an unfeeling acquaintance we cannot escape and must be treated as such. Dealing with a ‘bad beat’ can be difficult, but with our helpful hints below, you’ll be in the best possible place to get over that slice of bad luck and play your A-Game in the next hand:

  • Keep Some Perspective
  • Understand the Odds
  • Put Bad Beats to Work
  • Find Your Focus
  • Post-Match Analysis
  • Perform a Ritual
  • Focus on the Next Hand
  • Know When to Fold ‘Em
  • Stay Calm and Walk Away
  • Check Your Account(ability)

1. Keep Some Perspective

While all the following tips and hints apply and can help, it’s important to remember your place in the world. If you’ve lost a hand of cards, you’re already lucky. The chances are pretty high that you’re reading this on a $400 smartphone, laptop, or tablet. Given that 50% of the world’s population lives on less than $7 a day, you’re already in an immensely privileged position. Understanding that in the game of life, you’ve basically been dealt a premium pair can go some way to reducing the magnitude of your feelings about any given bad beat.

Before you play poker, think of the worst situation that could happen. Let’s say it’s a $5 entry tournament, and at the final table, you’re all-in with pocket aces for a chip-leading pot with 6 people left. If you win, it’s very likely that you’ll go on to win $1,000. If you lose, you’re going out for just under $100. That’s a $900 swing, or to put it another way, 180 buy-ins.

I’ve been in this position. I was playing someone with pocket tens, and they hit a ten on the river. Then another player showed their hand with a ten in it. They hit a one-outer to effectively cost me the best part of a thousand dollars in equity. So, what was my takeaway here? Did I stay calm? Not at the time. Do I still recall how it felt? Absolutely, it stung like a wasp on a hot summer’s day.

But taking a look around me helped. I was sitting at a laptop I owned, in a house I could afford to rent, with food and comforts all around me. Getting some perspective isn’t easy when you’re in the moment, but it can help you immediately focus on the game as just that – a game. You’ll still have whatever you had before you set aside the buy-in. Losing at cards will happen, losing at life is, for some, inescapable. Gratitude is the pathway to bad beats hurting less.

2. Understand the Odds

What is a bad beat in poker terms? For such a popular expression, the actual boundaries of qualification for the phrase to be justified are blurry, to say the least. If you qualify a bad beat as a committed pot where you are the favorite with all your chips in the middle, and then the other player overtakes your hand to win, then you’re going to experience bad beats a lot of times, possibly over and over in the same tournament or cash game session.

If you get your chips into the middle with aces against kings pre-flop, then getting beaten is an outrageous piece of bad luck, right? Well, not really. You’re a 4:1 favorite before the five community cards, which means one time out of five, you’re meant to lose. That’s not the case in every hand, of course, but to truly appreciate the odds, you’ve got to look at the long-term picture.

If you can understand the odds for situations you’ll frequently find yourself in, then the individual bad beats won’t feel so impactful. They should start to become more of a consistent pattern and part of a larger truth, that poker is essentially one long game. Over time, luck will even out.

That’s the certainty of probability added to time, or rather the sample size of your situation getting bigger over time. If you can find peace in bad beats through understanding the chances of it happening again over time, things can really improve. Before you thought of it in those terms, what were the chances of that happening?

3. Put Bad Beats to Work

One of the biggest gifts we can give you about bad beats is almost not looking at them as bad beats. If you’ve just been one-outed, we can appreciate that sounds pretty crazy. But it’s not. If you never get a bad beat, you never check the odds, look at the perspective you have on the game of poker, or appreciate a bad beat.

That’s right, we said A-P-P-R-E-C-I-A-T-E. Here’s the twist: if you don’t get it in good, then you can’t be bad beaten. If you’re the outside chance, then you’re the one doing the dirty. That should feel better, right? Wrong. It only feels better when you win a bad beat, and since you got it in bad, you’re going to lose most of the time. You got a bad beat? That means you got it in good, meaning you’ll be winning most of the time.

That feels better already, doesn’t it? Phil Hellmuth once said, “If there weren’t luck involved, I would win every time.” While The Poker Brat might have been stretching the truth a little, he has a point. The bad beats hurt the 17-time WSOP bracelet winner because he tries to put himself in positions where he’s the favorite. Without fortune, poker would be like chess, a game based entirely on skill.

While this would still be interesting, it would hardly make it one of the most popular and entertaining games on Earth. As Rick Bennt once said, “In the long run there’s no luck in poker, but the short run is longer than most people know.”

4. Find Your Focus

This is one piece of advice that you may well have heard before, but definitely need to hear again. Regaining your focus after a bad beat can be a difficult, sometimes dizzying experience. So many emotions flood your senses when you face a bad beat that processing them can be very tough.

Someone else is raking in your chips, for a start. They’re overjoyed at having won a big stack of chips through luck alone. Their feeling is euphoria. Despondency is a natural opposite that you must welcome into your system, process, then overcome as quickly as possible. In order to do so, you may well struggle to find a mental foothold, but the image of trying to place your feet on solid ground after falling is an apt one.

A bad beat can feel exactly like that. You’ve climbed the mountain, gone your opponent all-in and at risk with the worst hand, then they make a set with their underpair, and you ask yourself why you worked so hard to put yourself on that pedestal.

Picture yourself up a literal mountain. You’re about to reach the peak when someone comes up behind you and trips you up. Hey, maybe it’s even the wind or uneven ground. But it’s not like you tumbled all the way to the ground. You’re still up the mountain, you’re still climbing.

Even if you busted a tournament or lost a cash game session’s buy-in, you haven’t lost everything. Pick yourself up, stand your ground, learn what you can do better, and accept that you fell, but now you’re back on your feet and going to keep moving forward.

5. Post-Match Analysis

All the other ways you can get over bad beats deal primarily with the physical or mental senses that are knocked off balance after you are dealt a dose of bad luck. Rebalancing focus, leveling your emotions, appreciating your privilege. Each of those deals with improving your overall mood. That’s very important. It will aid you in the long term in dealing with bad beats. But there’s something else you need to hear, and you’re not going to like it.

You might have made a mistake. Even in a hand where you were bad beaten, there are ways you could have changed the course of the hand. Let’s use an example here and adjust where the chips go into the middle. Let’s imagine that you have 25 big blinds and are holding pocket jacks. The chip leader – your enemy in the hand – has pocket tens. In the first scenario, you shove pre-flop, they call and hit a ten on the river to knock you out of the tournament.

Bad beat, huh? Awful luck, and you need to go into all those recovery scenarios you’ve already read about. Now imagine that instead of shoving pre-flop, you plan a ‘stop and go.’ You know that the chip leader likes to flat call with middle-ranking pairs a lot of the time and almost never plays ace-high. When the flop lands A-4-2, having three-bet rather than shoved pre-flop, getting a call, you then shove the flop.

Pocket tens now don’t look so good for the chip leader, and he folds, never getting to the river, never hitting the ten, and losing a substantial pot to you instead. You just rewrote a bad beat. The good news is that in almost any scenario at the poker table, there’s a different way to play it.

Maybe you don’t know the chip leader’s ranges as well as we just described. Maybe it’s aces against kings. Not every bad beat can be avoided. But some can. Admitting that to yourself and considering different ways to play out the scenario you just endured is elite-level thinking. So why not do it?

6. Perform a Ritual

“If you’ve come this far, maybe you’re willing to come a little further.” Do you know who said that? It wasn’t a poker player, but a character in a movie. Still need another clue? It’s perhaps the most popular movie of all time. Well done at the back with your hand up; it’s the line that Andy Dufresne writes to his friend Red when he is guiding him from prison parole to the mystical Zihuatanejo on Mexico’s Pacific coast.

We say the same thing to you now. If you’re prepared to take our advice, then we’d encourage you in the direction of a ‘recovery ritual.’ Many athletes practice this. Think of the tennis player who bounces the ball seventeen times before he serves. Or the footballer who taps his helmet three times before waiting for the snap. Elite athletes have rituals, so why not poker players? It turns out they do.

Often these will center around breathing, cognitive tricks, and positive affirmations. Mindfulness, yoga, and other breathing exercises can assist you in doing this too. Whatever your ritual, it’s worth remembering that this needs to be something you can call on wherever you are. If you’re at home playing online poker, then performing ten star-jumps and reciting the words to Viva La Vida might work for you.

At the live felt in a casino, this same ritual could lead to you being escorted from the premises, especially if they’re not a Coldplay fan. Maybe it’s to breathe deeply three times, consult a few words of encouragement on your cell phone, and clench and unclench your toes. That’s what Bruce Willis does in Die Hard when the plane is coming in to land. If it’s good enough for Bruce, it’s good enough for us.

QUICK TIPS:

7. Focus on the Next Hand

If you want to overcome a bad beat quickly in poker, then playing the next hand well as quickly as possible can sometimes be the answer. Investing the chips might be painful, but that immediate switch of focus on new cards and possibly new opponents is a naturally cleansing thing for a poker player. Right back on the horse, you could win the next hand, of course, but you might also distract yourself successfully enough to process the bad beat’s emotional hit without realizing it.

8. Know When to Fold ‘Em

Kenny Rogers once sat on the set of a mocked-up train carriage surrounded by antiques and with a straight face, told us that we needed to know when to fold them. This is simplistic advice in the music video for The Gambler, but while the slightly Wild West-tinged guidance should come with a heavy dose of salt, there is some truth in it. If there’s the potential for a bad beat and you’re not sure how to play a hand other than to put yourself in the firing line of it, it might be worth folding the cards and walking away. Just don’t hit the whiskey bottle like the old man in the Kenny Rogers song.

9. Stay Calm and Walk Away

If you’ve tried everything else in our guide to overcoming bad beats and still need a solution, there is only one that remains, and that is to walk away. Pick up your remaining chips if you have any, keep your dignity, act polite and friendly, and leave the table. The renowned poker writer Tommy Angelo once said, ‘Quitting is the easy part. The hard part is standing up.’ You have to leave the felt and commit to pressing the quit button to do so. Sometimes it really is the only sane choice.

10. Check Your Account(ability)

Do you have a special poker-playing friend in your life who you can unload a bad beat on and get great advice delivered in a sympathetic manner? If not, then you should try to find one, but we’ll spin this on its head and suggest that you should be the friend you’re after. Then whoever you help is more likely to be there for you when you’ve just bubbled a poker tournament, lost a cash-game buy-in, or lost with aces against pocket deuces again to the same guy who did it one orbit ago!!!! It always helps to share a problem, and it can be so much easier to dissect it with someone next to you.

Conclusion

Dealing with bad beats in poker is a challenge that every player faces at some point in their journey. However, by keeping perspective, understanding the odds, putting bad beats to work, finding your focus, and following a recovery ritual, you can not only weather these storms but also use them to your advantage.

Post-match analysis and seeking accountability from fellow players can further enhance your skills and resilience. And, remember, it’s crucial to stay calm and know when to walk away when the going gets tough. These strategies not only improve your poker game but can also have a positive impact on your overall outlook on life.

So, the next time you face a bad beat, take a deep breath, regroup, and get back in the game – because the journey is often more rewarding than the destination.

Sunday Recap: Players hit it out of the park

With baseball’s ACLS getting underway yesterday and plenty of gridiron action too, there was tons of excitement to go around on Sunday.  Yet if you’re more than just a spectator, ACR Poker was the place to be.

Read all about it in our October 15th Sunday Recap.

$150,000 GTD Euro Special
European players and early risers didn’t waste any time yesterday.  Our $150K GTD tourney featured 764 players and a final prize pool of $152,800.  In all, 97 players got paid.  The top three:

  1. rollingdrone -> $30,786
  2. WherelsMyJuice -> $22,407
  3. OleJohn -> $16,357

$300,000 GTD Warm Up
Our $300K Warm Up was warmer than expected with 3,061 entries.  The final prize pool in this popular $109 buy-in tournament was a fiery $306,100.  Props to the 383 players who took home cash, especially the top three:

  1. chickenpastry -> $43,094
  2. 1JokeSicker -> $39,544
  3. PLotential -> $25,378

$200,000 GTD Sunday Special 
With 1,069 total entries, Sunday’s $200K unlimited re-entry tourney was about as special as you might expect. 136 players got paid in this $215 buy-in event, which had a final prize pool of $213,800.  The top three:

  1. germanclown -> $41,501
  2. cayaoAJU -> $30,233
  3. Kaumzutaken77-> $22,070

$500,000 Sunday High Roller
1,009 entrants played in Sunday’s $500K GTD tourney. When it was all said and done, the final prize pool hit an impressive $605,400 in this $630 buy-in tourney, which had 123 paid places. The top three:

  1. RainerTheRoh-> $117,132
  2. LelijkeHond -> $85,847
  3. bbernardinho-> $62,668

$200,000 GTD PKO
Our $200K progressive knockout tourney had a total of 1,085 entries playing for $217,000, including $108,500 in bounties. This $215 buy-in tournament had 136 paid places, but even more players earned cash bounties.  Your top three:

  1. skioni -> $15,703 + $13,524 bounty
  2. Mittri -> $15,702 + $4,181 bounty
  3. Nitustery -> $11,400 + $1,182 bounty