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Betting to Protect ??

BigBadBug Posts: 7Member
edited November -1 in NLHE Strategy Discussion
I've always been bothered when cash players say they need to bet "to protect" their hand against draws. In fact, I was bothered enough that I actually wrote a blog post about it a month or so ago. Since then, I've gotten all manner of emails telling me either I'm a genius or I'm a moron. I'd love to get you guys' and gals' opinion on the subject. Is there such as thing in a cash game as betting to protect? I argue not; we should be betting either because we think we can get a better hand to fold (bluff) or a worse hand to call (value). Where does "protecting" our hand actually come in?

For those interested, the original post can be found here: http://pokerbug.blogspot.com/2012/10/a-controversial-opinion-on-cash-game.html


  • There is sometimes a need to bet for protection. An example would be we have 33 on a 1062 board and we are heads up with position. If we bet here we are unlikely to get called by worse but we will get lots of hands to fold that have decent equity against us where as they would fold to any bet. Betting here stops certain players with certain hands realising their equity against us.
  • Travisp33 Posts: 15Member
    Bug - I get what you are saying, but...

    I think we need to consider reverse implied odds, and the visibility of when we are beaten.

    We are in the hj with 33, and flat a random player's mp open. The flop comes t62r. We bet 1/2 pot and he calls. What is a good turn card for us? Sure, we are technically betting for value against his 6 out overcards to our hand, but it is harder to know when the turn hits him and we open our stack up, and instead if giving incorrect odds to his draw we are value owning ourselves and paying off the reverse implied odds he needed when he called the flop getting 3:1 needing 8:1.

    Contrast that to when we can put someone firmly on a str or flush draw. Pretty obvious when that comes in.

    Thus, I would contend that the more ambiguous the cards are that hurt us, the more we should label our bet 'protection'.

    In your blog post you touched on the subject of elasticity without saying it. I like to think of it as " I am going to charge this draw improper odds to call, and the maximum amount he will pay".
  • cl0r0x70 Posts: 27Member
    I don't like the phrase "betting to protect." I find it to be inaccurate.

    What we are actually doing is betting for value. We figure we have the best hand right now, but are vulnerable on subsequent streets. Thus, we bet for value.

    A key point here is that we don't have to expect to be called when we bet for value. If we have 33 on an T62 board, and we bet pot, we don't expect KQ to call us. If they do, then that's great for us. . . they've made a fundamental mistake. If they fold, that's fine too.
  • You can also bet with to protect with very strong hands to avoid giving your opponent a free card at a better hand. I always give the example of AK vs a fit or fold opponent's 33. Flop KK7. Hes not going to bluff at us on a later street so the only way he continues on is if we check and he hits a three on the turn. Most players that are checking the flop with AK are intending on raising the turn and won't raise fold to a bet three bet. If that is the exact scenario you are basically betting the flop to avoid a reverse free-roll.
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