It’s been awhile since my last no limit strategy posts Playing the Player and Exploiting a Regular and people seem to enjoy them so I thought I’d give another one a go. I’ve been grinding some 2/4 NL lately so I’ve noticed that pretty much all the regs mass table with a tight, straightforward and predictable style. I’m a firm believer that people play worse when they see something they’re not used to seeing and haven’t dealt with 1000s of times already.

I’m not saying you should do things differently just for the sake of doing them differently, especially if it loses you EV in the hand, but I am saying it’s important not to play like EVERYONE else. Just look at Phil Ivey, in headsup no limit hold’em, he defends his big blind at least 70% of the time and has success doing it. These other online pros are simply not used to having to play so many marginal hands, even in position and Ivey just owns them because it’s something he’s very used to and comfortable with. Look at Isildur1, have you ever seen someone overbet the river so frequently?

Some people may view some of these hands as just fancy play syndrome, but I tend to disagree and think they are pretty good “standard” lines, they require more thought than your standard cbet 90% of the time 2/3 pot strategy so most people will not adopt them however. One more caveat and this is VERY IMPORTANT, I am not suggesting every hand you play you need to be making a move, or making a nonstandard bet size or something. It’s fine to play standard like everyone else in most hands, because for the most part it’s the optimal line. It is important to have some wrinkles in your game from time to time that makes you different and difficult to play against however. These were maybe 8 hands out of 1800 hands or so that I played that were nonstandard.

If you haven’t watched Phil Galfond’s “Philosophy” videos on, do it. Those videos along with Nutedawg’s first concept video on have taught me more about poker than all other poker videos combined. The reason I bring this up is because I recently watched “Philosophy 3” which talks about floats and the triple deke which inspired some of these lines.

9Ts float
Any time you flop a backdoor straight flush draw, and you know your opponent is cbetting close to 100% on this board texture, it’s not a bad time to float. You have 9 flush cards, 6 pair cards, and between 4 and 8 open ended straight draw cards that can improve you on the turn for a total of 19-23 “outs”. On the turn once he bets again, you may be thinking it’s an easy fold since you don’t have odds to hit your flush (you need 52/172=30% equity), but you have to consider implied odds, as well as bluff equity. On a blank river, I think 90% of people will be betting trip aces or better again to get called by worse, instead of checking to induce a bluff, which means when he checks a blank river to you, you will have a bluff that will work 90% of the time since he almost never has a hand as strong as trip aces that he can call with.

KQs float
This hand is very similar to the above 9Ts hand where I have 10 outs to improve my hand on the turn, which may or may not make me the best hand, but the river bricks off and I get a chance to realize my bluff equity that I talked about above.

Q high call
Most people would not defend their BB here, and it’s certainly marginal, but the button was stealing very light and as a result I’m going to be defending my BB light. The flop is all bricks and I think my Q high is the best hand a lot of the time here.

Board: 4s 4c 2s

equity win tie pots won pots tied
Hand 0: 45.317% 42.49% 02.83% 331875 22104.00 { QsTc }
Hand 1: 54.683% 51.85% 02.83% 405027 22104.00 { 22+, A2s+, K2s+, Q2s+, J2s+, T2s+, 93s+, 84s+, 74s+, 63s+, 53s+, 43s, A2o+, K2o+, Q3o+, J5o+, T6o+, 96o+, 86o+, 76o }

I have 45% equity vs 70% of hands on the flop which is certainly worth a call considering I only need (18/62=29% equity).

I also have some implied odds of hitting my Q or T and a backdoor Q high flushdraw so I call. As you can see he barrels the turn, and on the river I thought I had the best hand, but wasn’t 100% sure about it, or whether he would call a checkraise with a pair of nines so I just called, but it’s certainly something to consider. This is also good for your range here, because most of the time you will have something like 66 which you will have to fold either the turn or river and this will prevent people from being able to mercilessly barrel you in the future.

Kings checkback
This flop check back is pretty standard, though I imagine a lot of 2/4 regs probably cbet this anyways, it leaves you open to being bluff check raised on the flop and hating life. Anyways, the interesting part is the turn check back. I believe he would lead most aces into me on the turn so once he checks it to me, I think most of his range is a weak pair like 99-JJ. These hands only have 2-6 outs against me and I don’t think I can get two streets of value vs them. It’s much easier for villain to call my single river bet, knowing he gets to see my hand, as opposed to calling the turn bet when he has to be worried I will be betting the river too, making him much more likely to fold the turn now. This is definitely one of those spots where just because you have a good hand doesn’t mean betting is the best play IMO.

T8s triple deke
This play is from “Philosophy 3” Basically by betting the turn small I get value from really weak hands and find out if my hand is good. Since I think he would raise this small bet with a King, I am free to bet big on the river knowing I have the best hand. Most people check or bet 2/3 pot on this turn, when 1/5 pot may be optimal here.

KTs check back
It’s okay to not cbet in 3 bet pots. Here I have some equity and check it back, once he checks the turn to me, like I said in the Kings hand, I think he almost never has a pair of aces and I have a much more profitable turn bet than a flop cbet.

T8s check raise as pfr
This play is fairly standard in plo, where you checkraise as the preflop raiser with a draw, hoping the villain incorrectly bet/folds some marginal made hand. A cbet never folds out a jack or nine but a checkraise can get these hands to fold, plus get value from bluffs or low pairs that decide to bet/fold. If he takes a free card on the flop, great, we just got to realize some free equity with our draw.

Q9o turn overbet
Villains range is capped here with something like AT or AJ which he chops with all aces. My range here is can be anything. I may make this same play with any ace, any five or a bluff like I did.

I hope you enjoyed and learned something! Leave a comment if there’s something you’d like me discuss in more depth or have a question about. For more poker tips check out or if you’ve never deposited on pokerstars before, check out for a 20% deposit bonus.

7 Responses to “No Limit Hold’em: Some Unconventional Lines”

  1. Juha says:

    When you float with a backdoor straight flush draw and you have 8+ outs on the turn, how often you consider raising if villain likes barrelling or is calling more +EV?

  2. Great article Andrew.

    Whilst I don’t play the stakes you do, I have been trying to identify the mass multitabling regs at my tables and throwing the odd curve ball in to throw them off guard and it seems to be working.

    Also, I’ve started defending my blinds a lot more against habitual stealers who c-bet 100% of the time then give up on the turn

  3. andr3w321 says:

    Great question. In position we have the advantage of seeing what the villain will do on the river, so I usually prefer just calling and utilizing our position. Vs someone who barrels a ton you have to realize their turn betting range is just not that strong and figure out what they are doing with their middling range like a King on the 9Ts hand or 88 in the KQs hand to know what the optimal play is.

    When bluffing you’re never really trying to fold out the top of someone’s range, so ignore that, you just want optimize fold equity vs their middling range. If you think they will bet/call these hands on the turn, then I’d suggest raising the turn lighter for value (like A2 in the 9Ts hand, or KT in the KQs hand) and hope to get their stack that way, if you think they will bet/fold these hands I’d rather raise bluff them with my airy type hands like a low pair I called with on the flop which I now turn into a bluff instead of a flushdraw.

    The scenario is very similar to playing headsup preflop in position, vs someone who 3 bet a lot. I would rather call with my good suited hands like JTs, QJs, KJs etc and 4 bet lighter for value with AJ or 99 planning to call it off or as a complete bluff with 97o type hands depending on what I think my opponent will do with his middling range (77, KQo which he’s 3 betting me with).

    I hope this makes sense and I did a good enough job explaining the analogy. Out of position vs someone who barrels a lot, a great play is to check/call the flop and check/raise or check/jam the turn with your draws since you pick up all that extra money when they bet/fold their air or midpair type hands on the turn. The Dang bros LOVE this play.

  4. Sedeete says:


    Good article, as usual.

    Two questions tho: how do you come to consider that vilain’s range is capped in the last hand, where you overbet ? And, in general, when can you consider that someone’s range is capped ?

    Thanks ! Keep the good articles coming =D


  5. andr3w321 says:

    Well, just think about what hands he’s flatting out of the small blind vs my button open. I mean sure he’ll have quads with 55 every now and then, or MAYBE he’ll have slowplayed AA, but these are so rare I just completely discount them and assume the majority of the time he has a pocket pair that didn’t hit or a KQ, KJ, A8-AJ type hand.

  6. Julle says:

    How often and when you use this (T8s check raise as pfr) line? I almost always cbet and double barrel with my draws.

  7. Julle says:

    AND does the board matter much if it is not paired?

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