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One of the players in my home live game isn't exactly restrained when it comes to bet sizing, often betting whole pot or higher whenever they touch the flop (and often donk betting in order to do so, when that's relevant). This isn't good play, of course: they only get called by hands that crush them and lose extra when that happens, and they don't manage to extract any extra value from their opponents' drawing hands.

But it's not enough to sneer that you'd have made more money with someone else's cards. You have have to maximise the EV of your own hand when playing against them.

What adjustments should I make, knowing my opponent's tendencies? I've decided so far to remove the lower end of suited connectors from my ranges, on the basis that those hands get a lot of their equity from draws, which I won't get to realise in these circumstances. (Is that correct?) But what other changes should I make? Would it make a difference if I was up against an entire table of over-betters, as opposed to just one person?

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    In addition to betting larger than normal, do they also bet more often? E.g. will they bet compulsively if checked to on the flop, or are they capable of checking behind? What is their range in your estimation when they donk bet? Strong value, medium to weak value, strong draws, weak draws, complete air? What are their tendencies on later streets when called? Do they keep up the pressure, or do they slow down? Aug 23, 2022 at 8:30
  • In my case: they're betting with middle-pair top kicker and up for value (so medium-weak and up, I'd call that?) both in-position and donk betting. Definitely not compulsively betting when checked to, and probably not bluffing enough? Not sure how to judge on later streets, since their overbets are forcing out all the opponents with any difficult decisions to make. Aug 23, 2022 at 20:41
  • But I'd also like to see what the strategy is against this characteristic in general, in case of other opponents like this. Aug 23, 2022 at 20:43

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Over-betting with the correct range is a valid part of a winning poker strategy. On boards where you have a strong "nut-advantage" (ie. have way more very strong hands in your range than your opponent), it allows you to extract more value with the top of your range, and to bluff more often with the bottom of range.

But against an opponent who over-bets too often with a merged value range (ie. one that consists of medium strong to very strong hands, and few to no bluffs), here's what I would do:

First of all, realize that my opponent is making some potentially difficult situations very easy for me. E.g. when they are incorrectly betting big on a paired rainbow board, I don't have think about letting my unpaired over-cards go. Likewise, I can mostly just fold my second and third pairs, and low equity draws (e.g. backdoor draws, inside straight draws).

Secondly, I would not raise them when they bet. I can count on them to bloat the pot. Also, I don't want them to fold their medium strength hands when I have a very strong hand. This in a way also makes my life easier, because the means I don't have to make risky check-raise bluffs to balance my value check-raises.

Thirdly, I would only continue with high equity draws on the flop, ie. open-ended straight draws and 4-card flush draws. But continue I would with these hands, especially when I'm in position. It's important to be able to have the goods when obvious draws complete. And, if your opponent tends to slow down on the turn when they are in the weaker part of their range, you want to have some draws with which you can semi-bluff your opponent off their equity.

Fourthly, I would not worry about kickers, and be prepared to call down with any top-pair. This will increase your variance, as you will sometimes value cut yourself when they are at the top of their range, but you just have to grit your teeth and do it, because otherwise you risk getting run over. As you do this, you should pay attention to villain's tendencies on later streets, so you can hand read them and make better decisions in the future. Things to look for: Do they slow down with the weaker part of their range? How do they react to scare cards?

Fifthly, when they do check the flop, their turn range is going to be extremely weak! Take advantage by betting every time you see a free turn card.

Finally, I would be hesitant to adjust my preflop ranges too much, unless this opponent is also involved in too many hands. Otherwise, I leave myself vulnerable to being exploited by the rest of the table.

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I will get very patient knowing it is likely I can bust a player like this with one hand

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    Sure, I'm doing that. But what other strategic adjustments should I make? Am I at least correct in thinking that lower suited connectors are less valuable preflop than they'd otherwise be? Are there any similar adjustments I should make to maximise my gains from this player compared to the rest of the table? Aug 26, 2022 at 21:48
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    the other good thing to keep in mind whith a guy like this that even after he leaves busted and disgusted, he leaves behind a residual tilt to the whole table, the game will remain lively and fast for a while. adjust accordingly
    – Jon
    Aug 27, 2022 at 0:42

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