a look at merged flop raising

A Look at Merged Flop Raising

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So in this post, we are going to look at a spot where we will be defending from the Big Blind and in these pots, our Range is going to be very weak. This is going to result in our opponent stabbing at pretty much every board that comes down with a small sizing.

This is known as a merged bet. Merge betting is when players will bet with hands that aren’t clear bluffs or value bets. These bets could force out a better hand and at the same time can get looked up by worse hands.

Because our opponent in position will be betting this huge range of hands, this will allow us to play a merged range as check-raises.

Raising for Equity Denial

Blinds 100/200 Tournament with 10,000 starting stacks effective so 50BBs deep

BTN: Raises to 600
Hero, BB: A♠ 4♠ Calls

Flop: 7♣ 2♦ 4♥

Hero: Checks
BTN: Bets 400

Hero: ?

So this is a spot where the BTN will just bet a huge portion of their range as we have said, so this could include strong hands like 88+ however it’s also going to include hands like 98o, Q9o, KQ, A2, A3, A5, A6, A8AK etc which all miss this board.

So some good points about us making a raise with this type of hand are:

  • We get to deny equity against hands that are unpaired but have overs to the board.
  • We can raise for protection here because our hand is often the best on this board but it’s vulnerable against large parts of the BTN’s range.
  • We need to add some check-raises because often our opponent will bet small on this flop, check back the Turn and see all five cards for a tiny price.

Raising For Thin Value

Let’s take a very similar hand example, but one where we flop top pair instead on this same board…

Blinds 100/200 Tournament with 10,000 starting stacks effective so 50BBs deep

BTN: Raises to 600
Hero, BB: K♠ 7♠ Calls

Flop: 7♣ 2♦ 4♥

Hero: Checks
BTN: Bets 400

Hero: ?

So much in the similar way of raising with our other hand here, we mainly raise with this top pair type hand for value, rather than looking to protect our equity however with this raise does come a large chunk of equity denial much in the same way the first hand does.

However we are much further up in our range with this top pair, so we are way more confident in calling this a thin value raise because whilst we are still merging here and we could be behind a bunch of hands we are often going to be ahead of our opponents betting range so there is a tonne of value in us raising this top pair.

If we aren’t check-raising for thin value here we are just giving our opponents too much equity for such a little bet, we need to protect our equity with hands like this and not just check-call here every time!

It’s not always for thin value or protection

There are tonnes of hands that are on the scale of merged hands, everything from bluffs to slam dunk value hands are on this scale.

merged betting on a scaleSo for instance on this board, we could just be raising with a gutshot and backdoor flush draw, Ace high with a backdoor flush draw, a second pair, top pair or even a set.

This is why it’s called merging, we are choosing to raise not just as a bluff or for value but for all the hands in between too, this adds a great dynamic to our game and really keeps our opponents on their toes.

It will allow us to make strong hands further down the line in the hand that are harder to see coming, for instance, if we raise here with A8o and we hit an 8 or Ace on the Turn then our hand is pretty disguised, so we have the chance to win much bigger pots.

So that’s it! Remember to mix in some raises with these different strengths of hands and it will add a tonne of balance, value and camouflage to your gameplan.

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