WPT GTO Trainer Hands of the Week: Expert Postflop Play From The Big Blind
This week we’re focused on a typical cash game spot where you’re out of position in the Big Blind against a tough player in early position after calling their first-in preflop raise.
There are a few flops where you could construct a leading range from the Big Blind in this spot, but for a vast majority of flops you can begin by checking to the preflop raiser. Checking is preferred as a default because the preflop aggressor will typically have a significant equity advantage.
The early position player’s range is quite narrow and uncapped in this situation. Unlike a tournament scenario where there are often antes to fight for, the risk vs reward for players stealing from early position in a cash game is often quite low so ranges are quite narrow. More passive postflop play is preferred because of the overwhelming range advantage the early position typically has postflop.
Even with UTG’s range advantage, you must be careful not to give up too often on middling flops. This early position opening range skews towards bigger cards due to range advantage, meaning they will correctly be continuation betting frequently so one-pair hands on lower boards have too much equity to just give up on the flop. Exercise caution calling down too light versus triple barrels. The UTG player has the option of a free showdown in position on the river which means their river betting range is often quite polarized. On boards without significant missed draws it can be difficult for the opponent to have a lot of hands to construct a robust bluffing range from.
For the vast majority of scenarios vs a UTG open you will be focused on getting to a controlled showdown. Even your biggest hands will often fare best by slowplaying until the river to protect the rest of your range that also benefits from getting to an inexpensive showdown. Most of your pure bluffs will come on the turn and river in spots on coordinated boards where the UTG opener has checked the flop, capping their range in situations where their biggest hands would often want protection.
To see more examples and test your skills, you can play through five free solved hands from this scenario.
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Regular play on the WPT GTO Trainer will help you adjust your decisions closer and closer to GTO strategy.
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Use this series of articles to practice the strategies you learn on LearnWPT (or at the table) and test your progress by playing a five-hand sample each week