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What to do when you miss everything?

Please correct me when I'm wrong, but you only make your hand roughly 1/3 of the time. So, your opponent makes his hand 1/3 of the time too. So, not making my hand is not necessarily cause to give up on the hand because my opponent might have missed too. C-betting doesn't seem to be working for me. Cbetting should be the cure for getting people out of the pot when they have air, right? But I'm finding that plenty of people will call a Cbet with nothing, I even do it in the interest of not just giving up and being a folder. If you have an Ace or a pocket pair, you can try to go to showdown as cheaply as possible.

It feels way too expensive to bluff multiple streets, especially because your opponent might want you to continue betting. I know that I will fold to a Cbet on the turn. But, I don't know that my opponent is this way, and it's also very expensive whether it works or not.

But, I don't want to simply roll over to aggression either. I guess maybe these types of situations are what the fold button is for. It's easy to know what to do when you hit a draw or a strong made hand, but a lot of times I feel like you are in a situation that is not ideal. Like, having the top pair on the board but a weak kicker. Or having a set with a flush present. Or having a two pair when there is a straight on the board. How do you handle a hand when the villain might have a monster hand, might not, but you have a fairly nice hand?

Maybe you just keep pushing when you have something that beats top pair, because you have fold equity and because in most cases if you could see the villain's hand you would want to value bet anyway. Do you have a rule for yourself, that if your opponent is aggressive on three straight streets, do you respect it? Or, do you simply only play when the hand is severely in your favor, and let it go otherwise?

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Good question,

This depends on a lot of things, in some situations it is correct to just give up, in others it is correct to triple barrel bluff.

I would say, among other factors like stack size and the type of game, the two most important things are your opponent and how much strength you showed preflop.

If you are playing in a cash game live at a casino, players at lower stakes especially tend to have a hard time folding. If you have been playing in a session for a few hours and can pick out players that seem to call way too much, it would be much better to relentlessly value bet them when you have it rather than try to bluff when you miss. On the other hand, if you notice a player that rarely plays hands because they are waiting for premiums, you should be more inclined to try and bluff them if you showed strength in the preflop action. Blockers will also help against this type of player, if you have AsTs and the flop comes KsQh2d you can eliminate some combinations of AKs and JTs from their range and be more confident with a bluff.

Also be aware of preflop action, if you limped in with 5s5h and you dont hit a set on the flop of overcards, you should probably give up unless you are getting a good enough price to call a bet. If you 3-bet AKs and get one caller and the flop comes J94r, you showed a lot of strength and you may be able to represent an overpair or a set.

In general though, especially against players who you do not have very much information on, when you miss the flop you should do your best to keep the pot small. Take into account the information at your disposal, what kind of outs you have (or could have if you get a good turn), whether you think the other players will have hit the board based on their action, and whether or not you can get value if you do make a hand on later streets.

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    Thank you for the answer Clarko. As usual the answer is of course, it depends. And I think it's a really good comment to play post flop in light of what happened preflop. If the villain 3-bet, I can't just forget that that happened. I'm reading Modern Poker Theory by Michael Acevedo to try to learn to play more intelligently.
    – Evan Welch
    Jan 22 at 23:31

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