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I was playing heads-up 2NL against a massive fish. He played relatively straight forward and called correctly in most spots, but he never raised to a bet. My strategy was therefore to continuation bet almost 100%, since he could never deny my equity by raising. I would only check back really bad hands with no equity whatsoever or a very weak hand like bottom pair no kicker or a good ace high. I think that is important to keep in mind throughout this hand that my range on the turn is very wide.

Click here for an overview of the hand

As you can see I flopped a straight and bet turn and river. I think my sizing is reasonable. The flop isn't super draw-heavy and half-pot is standard. On the turn there are a lot of draws, so I decided to bet 2/3 pot, which I would also do with my straight draws or flush draws as well as sets to balance out my range.

On the river however I am not so sure how to play my range. At this point the pot is $0.56 and the effective stacks $0.88. I decided to over-bet-shove on the river with the intention to do this with almost my entire turn range. Again, this would include 76, sets, missed flush and straight draws. Perhaps also hands like Ad2d, or Ac2c etc. I am not sure whether this is the right play or not. I could bet less, or check to induce a bluff from a missed straight- or flush draw. Any thoughts?

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If the player is truly a fish, they often aren't thinking about hand ranges and what you could be playing. Often their logic is something like this, "I have this in my hand, it matches this on the board, I am willing to call x amount". It's often a flat, analysis of what is going on, solely focused on what they 100% know.

So for example say the villain fish here has a 9, there is no way she's/he's going to risk his/her whole stack to call on only one pair. They're pretty much assigning their value of worth to their hand and sticking to it. For example a thinking player here would realise that the flush missed, a top pair, maybe with a good kicker is good enough most of the time that it is worth the risk of their stack for a potential double up, etc.

So the reason I mentioned the above paragraph is to highlight why your end betting amount is wrong, well in my opinion, because ultimately you had the nuts and failed to be paid off. As you said the pot was close to $.60~ and the effective stack was about $.80~, your logic here is perfectly correct to notice an effective bet is an all-in, against a good thinking player. A fish is not a good thinking player. Against a fish you always want to be betting for value.

From how you described the fish they seem to like to call, but not large amounts, why not lower your betting amount, to say $.20 to $.30 and get a call. I think you'll be much more likely to get a call out of the fish this way.

Have a look, especially against fishy low skilled players, at the style of poker called small ball poker. I think it would benefit you against these types of players.

  • Your logic makes sense and I do now agree with you that betting small seems like the best option against this opponent. What do you think is the best GTO play? I think betting small is still the best option, since I think the villain has a weak range in this spot. Because of this I think it makes sense to bet small with your bluffs and therefore also bet small with value. What do you think? – Raymond Timmermans Mar 16 '17 at 14:25

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