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Double Barreling in NL Hold'em

Double barrels are the best way to maintain a presence when you head to the turn after a continuation bet with nothing more than a bluff. Double barrels can only be made when you are trying to force your opponent out of the hand, because you are holding nothing of value. An aggressive player will find that double barrels can be their best friend or their worst enemy.

What is a Double Barrel?

A "double barrel" is when a player who took the lead on the flop continues by making another bet on the turn. By betting out on both the flop and the turn, the double-barreler represents a very strong hand, and oftentimes any opponents will give up on mediocre hands when facing a double barrel.

A great double barrel can earn you a sizable pot and a bit of respect at the table, but a bad double barrel will both cost you money and an opportunity to bully players around later on. You should always know why you are double barreling before you ever consider the play. Many players would think that this goes without saying, but a lot of people will just rocket a bet in on the turn with no consideration for the possibility that their opponent is going nowhere.

If you want to make successful double barrels with any amount of consistency, you will need to be able to hand read moderately well. This is the key to pushing people off their hands. If you don’t know what someone is likely holding, how can you possibly expect to get them to fold? Sure, they might fold every once in awhile, but it would be due to nothing other than complete luck.

Double barrels are a move that amateurs can pull off on occasion, advanced players should have worked into their regular repertoire, and should never be attempted by a complete novice. If you double barrel and don’t know what you are doing, be prepared to flush your money down the drain.

Why Hand Reading is Vital

Hand reading is the most critical element to any double barrel. It is 1000x easier to determine what your opponent is going to do if you have a good idea of what they have. For example, a player with pocket aces on a flop of A-6-Q will never ever be folding on the turn, save for some four flush on the board or something else out of the ordinary.

However, a player with KQ on that same board will be apt to make many folds on the turn when someone bets out into them. There are a lot of hands where players will feel that they can call the flop, but will be hesitant to go any further. If you can accurately put your opponent(s) on hands where they will give up on the turn, you are going to have an easy time making solid double barrels.

On the other hand, if you can’t seem to come up with reasonable hand ranges, don’t try to double barrel. Double barrels are a skill that is almost always learned over time along with the development of hand reading skills. You really can’t attempt double barrels and expect profitability if your hand reading skills are not at least above average.

Double Barreling Tips

There are a handful of tips and tricks that can be used to instantly improve any double barrel. The first thing you should do is determine what hand(s) you are trying to represent. If you want your opponent to think that you have a straight, play your bluff like a straight. Far too often a player will try to double barrel by making a massive bet.

This is going to not only cost you a ton of money when the other player happens to have an exceptionally strong hand, but it is also far from believable. By this same token, however, you should not be making super small double barrels. Think about what amount you would bet for value in any given situation and then make it a bit bigger.

As a general rule of thumb, you should never try to act like you are even stronger than the hand which you are trying to represent. This will make you money when it forces folds and will save you money when it does not.

More NL Hold'em Strategy
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