To triple barrel, or not to triple barrel?

Before the introduction of the solvers, it was thought that it was a good idea to fire 3 barrels on an AKxxx board as an initial aggressor, because vi…

Before the introduction of the solvers, it was thought that it was a good idea to fire 3 barrels on an AKxxx board as an initial aggressor, because villain would not have a good distribution of equities, or simply did not have enough nutted hands like AA, KK, AK. which should significantly reduce his ability to call all 3 streets.
 
Then most of the good players tried their best in each spot to be well balanced so that they could not be exploited. In certain frequencies they only flat the top range as well, so that they could have better range to call.

The main problem was, of course, BB where a good deal of hands are called preflop, if he gets more than -100bb/100 winrate. It was known that this allowed us to overfold to some extent on the boards that hit the initial aggressor, but the holy grail was to be as close to unexploitable as possible.

What do solvers say?

The solvers brought many different solutions than the conventional wisdom before them, so let’s see if conventional thinking was good in this example.
 
We’ll put our hand in the PIO solver. We have 30 bbs on CO and BB defends. Preflop ranges are GTO 8-max with ante of 12.5%, ​​so the most common format today and the most common depth in MTT tournaments as well as the very common spot CO vs BB.

CO open 35.5% – 469 combos
BB brani 56,8% – 753 combos
 
CO open

To triple barrel, or not to triple barrel?

BB defend

To triple barrel, or not to triple barrel?

Flop Ac Kc 7s

Pot is 5.5bb big.
 
BB checks
CO bet 1/3 pot
BB calls

Pot 9.1bb
 
The flop is the expected CO cbet of any two cards, with BB calling 46% of his preflop range or 301 combos, also c/r with 59 combinations and folding the rest 45%.

We immediately notice that BB folds far more than we need to bet with any two cards. So the frequency of cbet in the population of regs on boards like this is good.
 
The Pio solver here raises 59 combos, of which there are standard 2 pair types of hands (which always !!! raises, no need to keep some very strong hands in calling range).

16 combos of top pair kind of hands as well, ATo is practically always a raise and A9o over 80% of cases, then AsX always, (nuts backdoor flush draw) except when it has 9c calls (blocks the fds it charges for). And with 10 of the 50 flush draw combos plus some more hands like QcX.

Turn 2d

BB checks
CO bet 2/3 pot
BB calls
 
Pot 21.1bb
 
On turn CO continues to bet with 61%, 140 value combos and bluff + semi bluff 94 combos. Hands that he checks with are ⅔ 2nd and 3rd pair plus QJ and QT, which are gutshots and have good equity vs. call cbet, fold turn hands in villains range.

CO almost doesn’t have any give up hands.

To triple barrel, or not to triple barrel?

BB calls 56% of hands, raises new two pair K2 and folds 40%. He is left with 165 combos and also his hands now are strictly bluff catchers .

River 2h

BB checks
BTN  21.1bb shove

On the river CO checks back two pair hands with 2nd and 3rd pair.

Bets most of his air which is not missed club draw for a couple of reasons: he doesn’t block missed FD of villains that he has in his range and has showdown value against the majority of that part of villains range.
 
That’s why you will see in the picture below higher frequency of bet as we go down from QcXc to 6cXc.

To triple barrel, or not to triple barrel?

BB calls with TP or better and folds 80% of Kx hand.

To triple barrel, or not to triple barrel?

To summarize

As original agresor:

  • Cbet flop always.
  • On turn check 2nd and 3rd pair and bet all value and air hands.
  • On river we have player dependant decision.

If the villain is most likely to fold Kx, based on info that we have, you can bet for bluff everything which is not missed FD! And value bet all your top pairs or better.

If a villain is going to call Kx more often than 20% of times then you will exploit him by checking your bluffs. Remember he is going to call you way more than he should when you have value hand, so it’s going to be even more profitable overall than if he folds Kx.

When you start throwing some bluffs in your range, make sure that you don’t hold any club hand.
 
If you are in BB’s shoes, don’t worry about balance or mantras like “I am near the top of my range i have to call”. It’s not necessary even vs. optimal opponent to call more than TP and you still won’t be exploited!
 
GL at the tables, until next time!

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