The time is nearly come. Preordering for my brand new book How To Read Hands At No-Limit Hold’em begins tomorrow!
Today I wanted to share with you an excerpt from the book. It’s the first bit of the chapter Hand Reading On The Turn. Enjoy.
Hand Reading On The Turn
an excerpt from How To Read Hands At No-Limit Hold’em by Ed Miller
Once you have a flop hand range in mind for your opponent, hand reading on the turn is fairly simple. The turn card will either have improved your opponents’ hands, or it won’t have. Hands can improve on the turn in a few ways:
- Complete a draw
- Become two pair or trips (for a flopped pair)
- Catch a pair (e.g., a turn 6 holding 76 on a 982 flop)
- Catch a second draw (e.g., a turn K♣ holding 7♣ 6♣ on a 9♦8♣ 2♠ flop)
- Catch a brick (for a made hand on a coordinated board, e.g., a turn 2 holding KK on a T98 flop)
There are some other ways to improve on the turn, but that covers the main scenarios.
Tip No. 14. A player who called the flop and improved on the turn will rarely fold.
It’s simple, intuitive, and fairly reliable. Anyone who calls the flop and improves on the turn will usually call again (or raise). There are a few exceptions. If you make a massive overbet, you can get people to fold hands that they would have called a more typically-sized bet with. Nits also sometimes find folds on the turn when the improvement is marginal (e.g., a turn 6 holding 76 on a 982 flop).
In general, however, it’s a good rule of thumb. People call or raise when they improve. When they don’t improve, they generally continue with their flopped strong fits and fold their flopped weak fits. When the turn card hits, count how many hands in your opponents’ ranges have improved. This will give you a sense of how they’ll react if you bet.
It’s a $1-$2 game with $300 stacks. Two regulars limp in, and you raise to $12 on the button. The big blind calls, as does one of the limpers. There’s $39 in the pot with $288 behind.
The flop comes K♠T♥6♠ . Both players check to you. You bet $30, the big blind folds, and the regular calls. There’s $99 in the pot with $258 behind.
What does your opponent’s range look like?
Here’s the regular’s reference preflop open-limping range
A7s-A2s, KTs-K9s, JTs-54s, QTs-75s, Q9s-96s
A9o-A2o, KJo-K9o, QJo-98o, QTo]
Let’s add the fringe hands 77-55 to this range to allow for the possibility that this player flopped a set of sixes. Remember, the hand ranges we’ve been using in this book are just approximate reference ranges. In practice, you will have to add and subtract hands from these ranges to account for how specific opponents play.
Which of these hands fit a K♠T♥6♠ flop?
A6s, KTs-K9s, JTs-65s, QTs-86s, Q9s, T7s-96s, As7s, As5s-As2s, 5s4s, 7s5s, Js8s
A6o, KJo-K9o, QJo-98o, QTo]
On this reasonably coordinated flop, a big chunk of your opponent’s limping range will fit the flop. Notice how nearly all of the connected hands made either a pair or a gutshot on this flop. Let’s divide this range into strong and weak fits. For strong fits, we have
KTs-K9s, As7s, As5s-As2s, JsTs-8s7s, QsTs-9s7s, Qs9s, Ts7s
and for weak fits
[A6s, JTs-65s, QTs-86s, Q9s, T7s-96s (excluding the strong fits), 5s4s, 7s5s, Js8s
A6o, JTo-98o, QTo]
The weak fits on this flop are mainly three types of hands: flopped pairs lower than top pair, gutshots, and small flush draws. The strong fits are top pair or better, nut flush draws, and combo draws (straight and flush draws and pair plus flush draws).
As you can see, the strong fits and weak fits are fairly evenly split. Because there are so many weak fits, the turn card will strongly influence how often your opponent calls the turn.
Say the turn card comes 2♣. How many of the weak fit hands does this card improve? None of them. If you were to bet $70 (into $99) on this turn, I’d expect your opponent to fold a good percentage of the time.
How about a K♣ on the turn? Same story. None of the weak fits have improved, and I’d expect a good number of folds.
How about the 5♠? Now we have some improvement. Specifically, the following weak fit hands have improved: 65s and J♠8♠. You could also consider 87s (not spades) having improved, since it picked up an open-ended straight draw, but this is an example where the improvement might not be enough to get a turn call. And 5♠4♠ and 7♠5♠ disappeared from the range since the 5♠ appeared on the board.
But wait, you say, didn’t every flush draw just improve?
Sure. But because of the connected nature of the flop, nearly every flush draw in our opponent’s range qualified as a strong fit. They were either nut flush draws, straight and flush combo draws, or pair plus flush draw combos.
While the flush card improved the overall strength of your opponent’s range, most of the weak fit hands didn’t improve. Thus, the 5♠ might be a decent card to bluff, especially if you held a hand with outs such as A♠J♣ .
How about the 9♦ on the turn? That would make the board K♠T♥6♠9♦. This card improves most of the weak fit hands. 87s improves to a straight. T9 (offsuit and suited) and 96s improve to two pair. JT, 98, 76s, QT, J9s-86s, Q9s, and T7s all improve to a pair plus a gutshot. J♠8♠ and 7♠5♠ improve to combo draws. Only a few of the weak fits didn’t improve: A6, 65s, and 5♠4♠. Since this card improves so many hands, if you bet the turn you should expect at least a call.
Tip No. 15. Turn cards that are lower than the lowest board card and turn cards that pair the board improve relatively few hands. Turn cards that put three cards to a straight on board (e.g., a 9 on a KT6 flop) improve many more hand combos.
In the above example, the 9 improved so many hands becuase it connects with both the KT on the flop and the T6 on the flop to make three to a straight. Thus, both JT and 76 improve to a pair plus gutshot. Cards like a Q or a 7 would also improve a number of hands, but not quite as many as the 9.
Exercise No. 10. Write out which of the weak fit hands improve on a Q♥ turn. Do the same for a 7♥ turn.
Tags: Hand Reading, how to read hands at no-limit hold'em, no-limit-holdem, poker, turn play