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BARREL

Barrel - Following up a flop continuation bet with a turn and river bet.

Barrelling is a very effective way of accumulating chips without going to showdown. It is often the case that players will call a flop continuation bet with an optimistic draw or a second or third pair type hand with the hope that the aggressor will shut down and look for a showdown on the turn and river. But if faced with a second or third bet they will often give up and fold earning you a ton of dead money.

GOOD BARRELLING SITUATIONS

The best type of players to barrel against are usually the loose pre-flop players. With their range being very wide, the odds are they haven’t connected with the flop too well. This type of player will usually give up their medium/weak hand to some aggression somewhere down the line. For example…

We raise AK pre-flop and are called by one player. The flop comes 9-4-2 giving us just a high card. This is a good flop to continuation bet so we bet around half the pot. Our opponent calls us and we see a J on the turn. This is a great card to barrel as our opponent’s hand is highly likely to have decreased in value with the over card to the flop. This over card also increases our fold equity when we bet the turn. A suitable range for our opponent includes

While we do beat some of those hands anyway, the small pairs and the 4-x hands will likely fold to a turn bet and if not then evaluating the river and possibly firing a third barrel will likely do the job. In this situation pretty much any over card to the flop that doesn’t create a draw is a perfect card to barrel. In the above example we are happy to see a A,K,Q,J,T on the turn and can often barrel these cards profitably.

Another good barrelling situation is if the turn card gives us a straight or flush draw. This likely increases our equity in the pot with the added outs when we are behind to our opponents hand. If we change our hand to J-T in the above example then we can barrel all of the broad way cards and also a 7 or 8 as we would now have a straight draw as well as increased fold equity against small pocket pairs and 4-x type hands. Our opponent wouldn’t need to fold as much to make a bet profitable due to our increased equity.


BAD BARRELLING SITUATIONS

For this example we will slightly change the situation. We are still holding A-K but this time we see a flop of 9-7-2. A lot of the time we will still be continuation betting this flop as it is relatively dry but again we assume our opponent calls our bet. We then see an 8 on the turn and we are first to act. This is a bad situation to barrel because the board hasn’t changed anything with regards to our hand but could have changed everything with regards to our opponents hand. Our opponent has no reason to fold top pair now and with the board showing three running cards a pair + straight draws are so much more likely. Our opponent will very rarely fold a hand like that to another bet on the turn which only bloats the pot in a situation that’s not great for us.

Another bad turn card to barrel would be a card that pairs the board. It’s likely our opponent will be calling a flop bet with any flopped pair so a turn card that pairs a flop card could put us up against three of a kind which we have no chance of getting  a fold out of.

THE RIVER

You can deal with the river in a very similar way to the turn. Over cards on the river are good cards to barrel as what was second pair on the flop could end up as 4th pair by the river, which maked a river call very hard to make. Also river cards that complete draws are good to barrel, especially if you have bet the turn as calling a big river bet with completed draws on board is risky and many players would rather fold and wait for a better spot.


CLIFFS

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