So when we say we want to raise the flop with a polarized range, what does this even mean?
Well, we will want to have polar opposites of our ranges when we do this, we will either want to have bluffs and look for our opponent to fold or we have a strong value hand and we are looking to win a bigger pot and deny equity from our opponent’s hand.
These are the two extremes of our hand strengths, you will often see poor players that will raise with mediocre hands that they could then be building a big pot where they don’t really know where they are in the hand, we don’t want to be doing this.
A look at a Polarized Range
So as our hands progress in value we will want to make different moves on this board, with our weakest hands as shown as A3o on this board we will just Fold.
We will want to add in some bluff raises with hands like T9 here, because we have no showdown value but we have 8 clean outs to win the pot and we can use this as a good bluff candidate.
With a hand like QJo on this board, we will want to call, there aren’t many cards that we will be scared of when facing a bet here if our opponent has JJ, 88, 22, KJ, AJ, QQ, KK, AA we will only be bloating the pot to lose a bigger pot.
What we want to do instead is to allow our opponent to carry on betting if they have any worse holdings than us, so raising with our top pair here would allow all the worse hands to just easily fold, we want these low equity holdings remaining in the pot trying to take us off our hand.
Then we will just have our easy Value Raises, displayed here as bottom set, we will want to ram and jam on this board as we have a tonne of hands that can call a raise and we want to build a big pot whilst protecting our equity, so the raise serves a few purposes.
When will we want to Bet Polarized
Wet boards are perfect for this and that’s because we will want to get our value in the hand sooner before scare cards come out on the board.
When we are out of position our opponent can check back on a tonne of Turn cards and pot control against us with their positional advantage.
Other good times are when we think our opponent is betting a polarized range themselves, so if our opponent is more prone to checking back with marginal hands because then we will want to raise with our draws and hopefully get them to fold out some of their bluffs and then on the other end of the scale we are creating really big pots with our strong hands versus their strong hands, which is what we want.
Let’s look at a Hand in More Detail
So in this pot we defend the Big Blind against a Button raise with A5o and we flop the nut flush draw, let’s look at how we should continue…
Check-Raising here is great, for a few reasons. We get to deny equity from a hand that might just fold to some aggression but has more showdown value that us, let’s say our opponent has a hand like 55 with no heart or AJo with the Jack of hearts, then these hands are going to have a tough time continuing here against a check-raise from us.
We will need to have some bluffs on this board and this one is perfect, we have a hand that can make the nuts but isn’t strong at the moment.
We can also end up winning big pots for the times we are called here and we hit a heart when our opponent chooses to continue with a hand with a worse heart in it.
In order to be balanced here, we would also be raising with hands like flopped flushes and maybe some hands like 86s for top two pair and sets too.
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