In an earlier Cardplayer column I discussed the merits of sometimes delayed continuation betting against tighter players. To put it simply, delayed betting involves not bluffing your opponent the first opportunity that you have but rather checking and waiting to see what his reaction is on the next street.
I also discussed in an earlier article about the strength of double barreling. When you bet twice you look very strong and your fold equity increases when you are bluffing.
Put these two ideas together and you have the concept of delayed double barreling—the act of checking back the turn with the intention of bluffing the river.
Using this move is a very powerful tool in three bet pots where the ranges usually must be fairly strong in order to get to showdown. Because pot control is also sometimes ramped in three bet pots we can also disguise our bluffs as made hands that have checked back on the turn.
Let us take a look at an actual hand that a student of mine named Geoff played at a $2-$5 game in Las Vegas several months ago. The lineup that night was pretty soft and players were telegraphing their hand strengths by varying their raise sizes preflop. When they raised larger they were usually strong and a smaller raise meant little pairs or hands like KQ. In this particular hand the under the gun limped and the next player made it $15. Four people in between called. Geoff knew none of these flatters were particularly strong and thought that it was a really good spot to squeeze so he made it $100 with 7♦ 3♦ on the button. Everyone folded except the preflop raiser who started the hand with $800. The flop came out 9♦ 4♣ 2♠. The under the gun checked and Geoff bet $120. The under the gun player paused for a moment and called. The turn came a K♣ and both players checked. The river was the Q♠ and the under the gun checked once again. Geoff now bet $275 to perfectly execute the delayed double barrel and his opponent quickly folded.
Why was it better for Geoff to check the turn here as oppose to bet? Because much like delayed continuation betting Geoff could pick up the same amount of information by the way his opponent reacted to his check on the turn rather than risk money by betting.
You see, if Geoff’s opponent had a hand like 77 or 88 he would be likely to just fold the turn. However, especially with the additional over card that came on the river he would also fold to a fifth street bet as well, after the turn went check check. Geoff actually risked less money by not betting the turn because if his opponent bet the river he could have safely folded assuming that the under the gun was extremely strong (like with AK, AA or a flopped set). The moral of the story is that sometimes when a card or board comes that hits your range hard you actually can wait to see what your opponent does on the next street by checking and risking nothing.