One of the most common leaks I see from the recreational players when I start working with them is they have no clear framework for approaching flop strategy.
This leads to them:
1) checking too much when IP vs the BB
2) c-betting way too much when OOP
Today I'm going to show you 6 things that aggregate reports can teach you about the differences between playing in position and out of position as the preflop raiser and develop a solid gameplan for OOP c-betting.
Let's dive in...
#1: Equities run a lot closer together
In single raised pots against the Big Blind, the in position player often has all the advantages:
The positional advantage forces the BB to overfold because it's a lot tougher to realise equity out of position.
But when you play postflop out of position as the preflop raiser, it's a different story...
All of your clear advantages disappear.
And you need to check much more.
#2: You should c-bet a lot less often OOP
When you open and just the big blind calls, you should c-bet very frequently, around 85% on average.
When you open and just someone who is in position calls, you need to check a lot more. This time it's more like 35% average c-betting frequency.
Not only that, there are actually some boards that are pretty much a range check when you're out of position.
Here's an example, 30bb CO vs BTN:
When IP vs the BB, it's incredibly rare to see a range check back.
#3: You can use big bets on paired boards
When playing IP as the preflop raiser against the big blind, you will see small c-bets on paired boards, with big bets used very infrequently:
This is because the IP player has an equity advantage, but the BB can have some very strong hands (like trips).
Also the BB has a lot of hands that will autofold.
You don't want to use big bets in this situation and make their life easy where they can just fold a lot and only continue with their strong hands and strong draws.
On paired boards specifically where it's very tough for the BB to have a hand, a small c-bet encourages and even forces them to continue a lot wider.
When you're out of position, you actually see big c-bets as well:
It's much tougher for the IP player to make trips because they're now not calling with hands like J2s or K2o so on a board where the pair is a low card, they very rarely have a very strong hand.
Instead they have hands like backdoor flush and straight draws which you want to either charge when you're value betting or try to make fold when you're bluffing.
#4: You must check a lot more on monotone boards
While you should check a lot more when out of position as the preflop raiser, monotone boards really stand out as high frequency checks.
There's a trend of checking more frequently the closer you are to the caller (see #5 below), but you can see just how different the strategies are on monotone boards when you're out of position versus in position:
#5: There's more c-betting the further away the caller
The closer the caller, the more you want to check.
For example, if you raise from EP and the MP player calls, you will do a lot more checking than if the BTN had called. This is because MP's calling range is a lot stronger than the BTN's calling range, even though you've raised from EP and have a strong range yourself.
Similarly there is more checking HJ vs CO or CO vs BTN than EP vs CO or MP vs BTN.
Here's a table showing the c-betting frequencies for the OOP player in the various match ups at 20bb, 30bb and 40bb:
#6: The in position caller shouldn't fold very much to a small c-bet
When you're playing in position against the big blind, a small c-bet is incredibly efficient.
If you're bluffing, it's a very cheap way to get your opponent to fold a lot of better hands.
And if you're value betting, it's a great way to ensure the BB continues with some weak hands like Ace highs, King highs or backdoor draws.
When you're out of position as the preflop raiser, a c-bet small isn't great at all as the in position player isn't supposed to fold very often, which makes checking seemingly more favourable.
While it's tough for the OOP player to realise equity when playing BB vs IP, it's a lot easier as an in position caller.
Let's say you open UTG 8-handed off 30bb and just the BTN calls. The flop is Js 5s 2d. If you c-bet 25% pot here, your opponent, if they're good, should only fold ~13% of the time (see the blue box, top right).
And yet the BB folds almost 44% of their range on the same board facing the same bet size:
The BB's range is, of course, a lot wider and has a lot of weak hands that just can't continue.
But if we compare similar hands, like ATo or KTs, even they fold more often when OOP.
If you want to understand the differences between IP and OOP c-bettings, remember these 6 things:
1: Equities run a lot closer together
2: You should c-bet a lot less often OOP
3: You can use big bets on paired boards
4: You must check a lot more on monotone boards
5: There's more c-betting the further away the caller
6: The in position caller shouldn't fold very much to a small c-bet
Today's action tip
Look at your OOP flop c-betting stat. If it's higher than 40% you're c-betting too much and you've identified a leak you need to fix. Start drilling LJ vs BTN and then CO vs BTN single raised pots.
Whenever you're ready, here's how I can help you:
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