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Double Barrelling in MTTs


Firing the second bullet in MTTs is more important than ever before.  Why?  Because MTTs and online poker in general has become a much more aggressive and difficult game.  Players have adapted to aggression and will be calling c-bets much more lightly, or even with the intent to float you on the turn.  This means that you can no longer afford to robotically c-bet every flop in position without planning ahead the rest of the hand since there is a good chance that you will get called. 

Hence, having the bottle and guts to double-barrel the turn and knowing when it is right to do so will go long way to your MTT final table rush.

Advantages of Double-Barrelling the Turn

Firstly, let’s look at some common reasons why you should bet on the turn.  If you were the pre-flop raiser let’s say with a hand like AQ and hit a non-dangerous board A-5-9-2 then you can bet the turn for value.  You’ll get calling equity from weaker hands like mid-pair or possibly 1010, so it’s only right that you want to be getting more chips into the pot.  Semi-bluffing the turn with combo-draws or mid-pair type hands is also very profitable, especially when you get can better hands to fold.  Overpairs are excellent hands to semi-bluff with particularly when you have a straight/flush draw i.e. As-Js on 7s-10d-6h-2s.  What makes semi-bluffing the turn most profitable is that it can increase your implied odds for making your hand, protects a drawing type hand from seeing any more dangerous cards on the board, and over the course of an MTT it helps balance your range (as opposed to checking) giving your opponent the impression that you could have the nuts or be betting with air. It’s much harder to narrow down an opponent’s holding when he semi-bluffs the board.

Most of the time when you double barrel the turn you’ll be folding a lot of weaker hands that opponents called lightly with on the flop.  The bet on the turn made these hands suicidal to continue with.  For example, missed Ax type hands and bottom-pairs will certainly not be looking to call a second fire on the turn, especially if it has been your 3rd street of action and you’re representing the nuts.

Best Cards to Double Barrel

The best cards to double-barrel are always any overcards to the board, e.g. A to K106. This is the same for MTTs and cash games alike because when you double-barrel an overcard on the turn it reduces your opponent’s equity in the pot. His mid-pair or top-pair will now be demoted to 3rd pair or 2nd pair.  Continuing in a pot when you only have 2nd or 3rd pair is much harder than having TPTK, especially with shallow stacks in the middle stages of MTTs.  This makes it very likely that by calling the turn you’ll be committing yourself to the pot.  An average stack of 50BBs in the middle stages for example will have spend over 50% of his stack calling to see the turn and could be forced to move all-in on the river no matter what.  Hence, players will be more willing to fold on the turn in MTTs without top pair or if they’re out of position.

Double Barrelling in Position

Double-barrelling can only be profitable in position once you have been checked to.  Out of position double barrelling becomes trickier because you don’t know how your opponent is going to react.  When you have position on an opponent you can sense when he shows weakness after checking, hence bluffing pots is far easier.  Along with this, an opponent out of position knows that he cannot afford to re-raise or flat a semi-bluff without the nuts since he will have to act first on the river. Once you double-barrel the turn out of position and get called you’re basically forced to check/fold the river and give up the hand.

Finished reading the article?  Go back to our poker tournament strategy page.


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