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Triple Barreling in NL Hold'em

Pulling off a successful triple barrel is one of the toughest plays in all of poker. A triple barrel is when you fire a bluff on the river after betting the flop and the turn with nothing. This play is the more advanced version of a double barrel. For the most part, triple barrels should be reserved for advanced players who really know what they are doing. If you are trying triple barrels and don’t have a firm grasp on the game, the odds are that you will unnecessarily end up losing a lot of money.

Actual spots for a triple barrel are far and few between. There are no shortage of hands where they can be attempted, but there are not all that many opportunities where they will be ideal. This is the difference between a good player and a weaker player trying a triple barrel.

The good player will be able to identify those select few situations where a triple barrel might work, while the weaker player will be taking shots in the dark. Unless you plan on losing lots of money, you should first have a perfect understanding of continuation bets and double barrels before you ever dive into making triple barrels.

Reasons to Triple Barrel

The primary and most obvious reason for a triple barrel is to push your opponent off their hand. You know that the only way you can win is to make a bet and hope for a fold, so you put one last bet in one the river and hope for the best. This is the basic foundation for triple barrels, but it is hardly the only reason why you should ever be attempting them. You should always accept the realistic possibility that you will get called with your bluff.

Remember, if a player has called your flop and turn bluff bets, there is an increased likelihood that they will also call your bluff on the river. This is a simple fact that many players seem to disregard. If you have made it to the river, the chances of your opponent folding, for the most part, are much less than they were on either the flop or the turn.

Trying to get a fold from your opponent is the more obvious reason why you would try a triple barrel, but there are also some secondary reasons. If you are unable to immediately recognize the benefits of triple barreling even when you are caught, you probably aren’t ready to be trying triple barrels at all.

You will get caught, it is only a matter of whether you are able to capitalize on the unseen benefits. Imagine that someone else has fired a third bet into your big hand on the river. You go ahead and make the call and it turns out that they were bluffing all along. What is your opinion going to be on that player’s particular approach to the game?

While you won’t be able to paint an accurate portrait of exactly how this player operates in any given situation, it should tell you that they are capable of betting like and making moves without big hands. As a result, you will be more inclined to call them down in the future with weaker hands.

Now, you see how you will look at other players who you have previously caught bluffing, but are you able to put yourself in the shoes of the unsuccessful triple barreler? If you were the player who lost a big pot when their bluff was called on the river, you should know how to react and adjust in the future. You lost money in that particular hand, but your losses can still pay dividends in the long run.

Balancing Ranges

The beauty in a failed triple barrel is hardly apparent at the surface. You will probably be frustrated when your bluff fails, but you can exploit your opponents by later using that failure to your advantage. Since the other players now know that you are capable of attempting a big bluff, you should be trying to really cash in when you have a big hand.

The players who saw your failed bluff will remember that you might have nothing at all. When you attempt a triple barrel and it fails, you are doing what is commonly referred to as “balancing your range.” The range you are balancing is between the times where you have a big hand when you make a big bet and the times where you have a small hand when you make a big bet. There is always money to be made with triple barrels for strong players, so long as they know how to use both positive and negative outcomes to their advantage.

More NL Hold'em Strategy
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