Overbetting in 6M NLH

Aug. 22, 2011, Posted by Alex

Overbetting in 6M NLH

Overbetting in nlh is usually described as a bet bigger than pot and can be used on any of the betting street. The bet is most often used for value with huge hands by a large proportion of average midstakes players and less often as a bluff by more tricky players. In this article I would like to discuss some ideas behind the science of overbets, who to target and how to use overbets effectively in 6max.

General overbet facts

For the majority of most midstakes players, overbets are used purely for value, most often on the river. They usually use this bet when an opponents hand is quite obviously strong and they have a stronger hand, an example would be a standard TAG opening utg+1 with 88, receives 4 callers in a 6M game, flop brings 7s7h8s, TAG trawls for a 7 or big flushdraw by leading the nut full and gets raised by a loose passive fish. In this situation going all-in with an overbet is obviously fine, the fish most likely has a 7 and is almost certainly incapable of folding. Letting a spade or highcard peel off can slow down your action. Get the fish to stackoff now whilst they are happy and you are a lock. Other examples of overbetting hands for value include making nut straights on 4 straight boards or filling up when the river brings the flushdraw and you think your opponent was chasing. Generally this is a relatively unsophisticated line simply used to stack poor players quickly (before another reg felts them), these bets will have nowhere near the same rate of effectiveness against good hand-readers unless you have a maniacal image or balance these overbets somewhat. For that reason I think its important to recognise that it is suicidal to overbet fish as a bluff, but you should overbet regulars dependant on most importantly their style and also image and history.

Overbetting Fish

Overbet for value with nut-type hands. When it is obvious a fish has a big hand, if the pot is small and your fish is passive, do not rely on him making a standard value raise on a river. Example from a 400nl game. Lets say you open to $16 with 88 in ep and pickup a loose passive caller on the button. You are both $600 deep. Flop perfect A84r. Your image is insane, he is single tabling and commented on a hand you recently got “lucky” on. You bet roughly 30 into 40. He calls. Turn is an offsuit deuce. Here you recognise you really want to get 3 streets of value from him and deep he will be wary. Just make a normal betsize not to alarm him and make him realise his stack is in jeopardy. Something in the region of 70-100 is reasonable (bets like 99 really do scare the hell out of this player type) and probably 75-90 is optimal. River is another ace. At this point you have both invested 150ish and the pot is 300-350. With slightly more than a psb back and his range heavily weighted towards AX, plus your aggressive image combined with his acknowledgement of this means you should shove. You could bet 200ish and get it paid off 100% of the time or you could bet 450ish and probably get paid about 80% of the time. Given these options obviously a shove is better.

Other overbet for value good spots include preflop with a huuuuge hand (basically AA/KK) versus a loose passive fish or for that matter a total nit. Say you pickup AA open LP and the most passive fish on the button makes a giant 3bet, just shove now, don’t let a A/K/scary flop peel and let him get away cheap.

Overbetting Regulars

This was the main reason I decided to write this article. Overbets are such an incredibly powerful tool to a regular player and their use can be incredibly destructive against the right player. In the wrong hands bad application can be disastrous. When overbetting against regulars you need to have a good read on them and also a decent reason or two to overbet. Probably the next most common overbet behind the abcTAG value overbet is the “pseudo bluffshove” when the draw misses the river. This line is usually used by more tricky/decent players and is pretty effective. I think most of us still get caught out by it occasionally. So story goes, you open ep (solidTAG image) with AK, (lp goodLAG) calls. Flop As9h7s you cbet, they call, turn Qh, you bet again, they call, river 2c. You check with the intention of calling as you think his range is mainly 810,86, spades/combo draws that missed and want to get value (although obviously bet/fold is fine too) from bluffs as you think that proportion outweighs AJ/A10. Villain shoves, you hero call and get shown 99. Usually I think its fine to call the first one or two overbets from regulars in these spots. Once you have given that much action however, don’t give anymore unless you see them balancing this, the number of regulars that overbet big hands after taking very tricky lines is high, the number who balance this with big overbet bluffs is significantly lower. A lot of regs simply don’t do it.

Generally when using overbets against regulars you want to level up on them. If they don’t think you would ever overbet bluff in a spot, go ahead. Vice versa if they don’t think you would ever shove a really strong hand. If they suspect you, obviously cut back on bluff frequency and up value overbet frequency. If they are continually folding to your overbets, keep pounding them till they adjust.

Overbetting as a bluff- some opponents are made to be bluffed. It takes very good handreading skills and awareness of your image in villains eyes to be able to time good overbet bluffs. The overbet can be combined with floats in 3bet pots deep, or on some boards with 100bb. Say you open LP with 68s, weaktight regular 3bets from the blinds 150bb deep and you defend to exploit against a tight range in position deepish. Flop A4s5. He has close to 90% cbet in 3b pots. He bets 2/3, you float hoping 2/3/5 spade or heaven forbid 7 peels off, knowing his range is either AQ/AK or KK/QQ/JJ. Turn 6s, he check/calls your ½ pot bet, almost always indicative of a pot control line with this player type from some AX hand. River 3h. He checks, this is a decent spot to overbet bluff. Provided you have a loose, there is little your average weaktight player can do here but check fold. He has to be concerned that his hand is faceup and you can have A2/A3/A4/A5/A6/A7/22/33/55/44/77/67s/45s/43s/78s. You should know a lot about this guy before trying these types of bluff of course, but in general you want to target people playing too many tables and people playing a very weaktight style of play, who find it tough to make vaguely thin calldowns. People that have seen you with a wide range in 3bet pots are more inclined to giveup against you also.  

Who to Overbet bluff:- weaktight regulars, abc nutpeddling robots, big multitablers, players on networks where there is little timebank, people at the beginning of their session, people who you have valuetowned before with overbets.

Who not to overbet bluff:- loose passive true fish, they will just assume you are bluffing a lot of the time. Players playing super loose aggro, often these players will have the hands you are repping as they play such a wide range. Also overbet bluffing people you are really targeting is a bad idea if they are reaching the end of their patience, they will sometimes make sick tilt calls out of spite at being outplayed.

Overbetting for value:-

Overbetting regulars for value is an artform, usually it takes a lot of time to build up a powerfully defined image which you can then exploit. Obviously making thin overbets for value is a step after making overbet bluffs which is a step after making overbets with nearnut hands. I haven’t got further than that.

Overbets for value do not need to be made with enormous hands. Against good strong players once a serious dynamic has been established and a tonne of history, overbets can be used in levelling wars on several streets. Lets say you open LP with KQo and a LAG 3bets you from the blinds. Flop K5s6s. He leads, standard here is obviously to call, hard to get value from worse if we raise, we can re-evaluate on turn and let him bluff again etcetc. However, once a wicked dynamic has been established, we can start shoving these spots and expecting to get called by QQ-99. We are representing very little normally and this is how we would play a draw a lot of the time and air some of the time. Making thin overbets can work in other ways too, assuming you can hand-read nigh on perfectly there are a myriad of spot, in position it is normally much easier to spot good thin overbet spots against regulars, simply because you have so much “good” information by the turn and especially the river.

Who to overbet (with non-nut hands) for value:-  regulars capable of putting you on specific hands/missed draws who are also capable of making big hero calls. Making big thin overbets against regulars who are Incapable of hero calls is futile as obviously you will only get called by a better hand on the rare occasion he/she is slowplaying. Fish obviously. Players that are tired/tilting/drunk and thinking irrationally are also fair game. I should point out that by overbet with non-nut hands I mean something like AA on QJ442.

Who not to overbet for value:- habitual slowplayers, trappy players will often play a very backward style of poker, making it hard for you to get value. Indeed in the example above with AA you will oftentimes be valuecutting yourself by overbetting here against some player types, who will be incapable of calling with worse than a 4.

Nitty multitabling regs, players that are playing robotically, playing unaware of your image or theirs. They will simply view your overbet as walking into the nuts (again, always seems to happen to them blablabla) and fold anything remotely marginal (AQ).


Use overbets to maximise winnings from hands. When you make a big hand and someone else also has one, it is so ridiculously rare that you need to make the most money from the opportunity. Against regulars, expoit their tendencies at first and once you get deeper into the relationship try to get them to level themselves or think on a higher level to them. Adjust to the player specific frequencies. Use timing well, if you just bluffshoved a river against a regular yesterday, ffs don’t do it again till you have cured him of calling. Im going to finish with reiterating an old example of an overbet bluff that Doyle talked about in super system, so that at least there will be something worth taking from this piece J. Overbet shoving to force out chops is actually a pretty effective move, provided the money is deep. So the board reads AKJ10r and the pot is big and the money behind is deep, a simple abc player makes a small raise over your second barrel and you have AQ. The theory goes that given that this is 100% a chop at the moment, put in the timing dwellup, call and if the board pairs on the river, make a huge bet.

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What Others Are Saying

1 Comment about Overbetting in 6M NLH

greeno99 says:

24th of August 2011

Good read mate.

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