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Developing a Feel for Equities in No-Limit Hold’em Part 4: The Basics of the Turn

This is the fourth part in a series dealing with the key ideas that can be used to accelerate the process of gaining a feel for equities in different spots. In this week’s edition, we’re going to discuss some major cases for when the turn comes and how you can use these cases to make it easier to understand what your equity looks like on the turn.

The Factors to Consider

In an effort to make equities on the turn easier to deal with, we’re going to look at a few different pieces of information:

  1. Was your range wide on the flop?
  2. Does the turn help your range?
  3. Did any draws complete?
  4. What draws missed?

We’re going to want to focus on these three basic pieces of information for this week’s article. Obviously, you should consider these things from the perspective of your opponent’s range as well (eg: Was your opponent’s range wide on the flop). What using this information will allow you to do is make adjustments to what you think your equity is like on the flop to compensate for the turn card coming.

We’re going to look at some examples here that will show some context for how these situations work. However, it’s important to note that by the turn, there are a lot of moving parts when it comes to establishing your equity and what your opponent’s range looks like. While we are going to look at some concepts that will help to speed up how you learn this stuff, there’s no substitute for putting the work in and analyzing situations yourself. With that out of the way, let’s look at some hands.

How Betting Changes Flop Equity

Let’s continue from an example we looked at last week:

Suppose that a tight Villain in early position opens with {66+, AT+, KQ-QJ}, and Hero calls with {QQ-55, AQ, KQs-76s} on the button. The flop comes Qh9s6s.

From that example, we found that the equity difference was pretty close with Hero having 47 percent equity. However, with position and future implied odds with Hero having more drawing hands than Villain, we decided that Hero probably had an overall advantage in the hand. We want to look at what certain turns would be like if Hero calls on this flop. To establish what those equities will be like, we have to decide on Villain’s range and our own range for the turn.

Let’s assume that our opponent will only bet with second pair or better and flush draws in this scenario (there are no open-ended straight draws available for Villain). That would make his flop range {99+, 66, AQ, KQ, QJ}. As Hero, let’s suppose that we would raise with sets, AsQs, KsQs, JsTs and 8s7s, so those aren’t in our turn calling range. Otherwise, we would call with any other flush draw, top pair and JJ-TT. As it turns out, we don’t have any flush draws left in our range because of the flop blockers, so that would make our range {JJ-TT, AQ(non-ss), KQs(non-ss)}.

What you’ll notice is that unlike on the flop, it’s our opponent who now holds all of the draws when we call. The way the spade blockers worked out on this flop kind of hurt our range since we don’t want to just be calling with bare straight draws. Now we have a situation where we have top-pair and strong second pairs against a stronger range that some sets and top pairs. We have obviously taken the worst of it with this particular line of betting, and we can see that reflected in the differences in equity. Before any turns come, Hero has about 34 percent equity on the flop after Villain bets and Hero calls.

Various Turns

Remember our four questions listed above. What we can see is that neither our range or our opponent’s range was particularly wide on the flop. This is because our opponent wasn’t betting with a range that included a lot of bluffs, and we weren’t really calling with a wide range at all. For each of the possible turns, we have to look at which range it was more likely to help (perhaps neither), which draws completed (if any), and which draws missed (if any).

So suppose the turn comes the Kh. This card will tend to work in Villain’s favor a bit because it doesn’t help Hero as often as it helps Villain, and it doesn’t hurt Villain as often as it hurts Hero. The spades draws missed, and though that’s not really a huge factor, it does help Hero a little since Villain was the one with the most spade-spade hands at this point. Neither player really has straight draws going into the turn, so the king coming doesn’t really change much in terms of that. Along these lines, we can probably conclude that our equity didn’t change much going into the turn, and that turns out to be the case.

An interesting turn card to look at is the Th. This is one of the best cards that can come for Hero since it bumps his equity up to about 43 percent. Figuring out why, however, is a little tricky. This card helps Hero’s range when he has JJ by giving him an open-ended straight draw, and it helps his range when he has TT by giving him a set. While these things are also true for Villain, because Hero’s range is smaller in terms of the number of combinations, it affects him a higher percentage of the time. Since JJ and TT were two of Hero’s worst hands as well, it’s even more significant.

Moving Forward

The turn creates a lot of complicated scenarios that rely on being able to put your opponent on a range and have a feel for what your own range is like. Next week, we’re going to look at things in a little less detail to look at how different aspects of the turn can affect our ranges in a more general sense.

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