How to Double Barrel Profitably in Cash Games – Top Tips by Upswing Poker
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Even if you’re not familiar with poker terms, you’ve probably heard the expression “double barrel” while watching a televised poker cash game or a tournament.
This term describes the action where the same player who bet on the flop bets again on the turn.
Double barreling can be very profitable in cash games, as it allows you to win bigger pots than the ones you win with a single c-bet on the flop. At the same time, this can be a costly strategy if you don’t know how to pick your spots correctly.
In this article, we’ll cover some important ideas around double barreling in cash games and help you create a profitable double barrel strategy.
Double Barrel With Your Bluffs & Value Hands
Much like with all poker strategies, you want to mix things up with your double barrels. You don’t want to do it with your value hands or bluffs only.
Instead, try to split it down the middle so that 50% of your double barrels are done with bluffs of some sort, and the other 50% contains the value range.
This split works very well if you’re using the sizing of around 75% of the pot, as you’ll put your opponents in a tough spot with their bluff catchers.
If your second barrel is bigger than this, you can even increase the frequency, as you’ll get more folds. Conversely, if you want to keep the bets smaller, you’ll want to have more value in your range, as you’ll get looked up more frequently.
Be Aware of the Board Texture
When you first start with poker, you’ll want to have some simple rules in place for balancing your bluffs and value bets. For this particular example, say you always wanted to double barrel with open-ended straight draws and flush draws.
But if you follow these rules without any deviations, there will be some board textures where you’ll never have bluffs in your range.
For example, on a board of K♥7♦7♣2♠, you will never have any hands that fall into your bluffing range (as there are no flush or straight draws).
At the same time, you need some bluffs to balance your bets with pocket aces, strong kings, and hands containing a 7.
This is where you’ll find opportunities to expand your strategy and add exceptions to your rules. So, on a board like this, you can also include hands that have fairly good equity or block your opponent from having a very strong hand (JQ, JT, 89, etc.).
Stay Cautious on Turn Cards Favoring Your Opponent
Building on the previous tip, you need to be aware of how the turn card interacts with your opponent’s range.
If a card is very likely to help your opponent in a significant way, it’s a good strategy to be more cautious and bet less frequently with bluffs and value hands alike.
For example, you raise from an early position, the player calls from the big blind, and the board comes J♦6♠3♦. You c-bet, and they call.
The turn comes 6♦, and they check again.
This is the type of situation where you don’t want to double barrel nearly as often. The big blind has many 6s in their range (and we have almost none), and they are also likelier to have a flush of some description.
You should still bet these turns some of the time, but you’ll want to dial down the aggression and check back quite often, controlling the size of the pot and going into a defensive mode.
If you find this topic interesting and would like to learn more about double barreling in cash games and how to adjust your strategy in different spots, make sure to check out the full Upswing article for some more ideas and examples.