Trick Plays that Work

5 Trick Plays that Work

Try these five proven trick plays at the poker table to boost your win-rate. These plays can work at all levels against most opponents. I still use them all the time. While seemingly simple, getting good at these trick plays can lay the foundation for more advanced poker strategy.

Raise/Jam your Small Pairs

This is a good pre-flop move for when you’re dealt pocket twos through pocket fives. It works best when you’re in the SB so that the BB is likely to be 3-betting you with a wide range.

After you raise and he 3-bets, jam it in! It’s a no brainer for shorter stacks, but this can even work for 100bb stacks. Think about it. Your opponent will have a hard time calling with slightly better pairs, and even if he calls with AK or AQ you’re in great shape!

Donk out on AXX Flops

This works well when a villain in position tries to steal, and you call from the blinds. Then the flop comes down with Ace high and two other cards (ideally not broadways). You lead out with any two cards, and he folds (often enough for you to show a good profit).

Think about it. How often has a fish done this to you. You sit there with your air. You don’t believe his lead bet, but you know if you raise he’ll just call with his weak Ace. So you have to fold. Turn the tables! Mine those fish for ideas!

The One-Two Punch

This works the same as in boxing where you jab with the left then smash with your right. Make a smallish continuation bet on a wet board. We’re talking in the 50% of pot neighborhood. The standard advice is too usually bet bigger on wet boards, but we’re going to deviate for this one.

Once your opponent calls, SLAM the turn. Make a pot sized bet. Or even overbet! Think about it. If he really had something good like a set or two pair, he probably would have raised you on the flop to protect his hand. Even a draw is often raising a weak looking bet since he might have fold equity. When our opponent only calls on the flop, then it is very likely he has only a single pair that doesn’t mind the pot control. He won’t be able to take the heat on the turn.

Check-Raise Low Flops as PFR

You raise preflop, a villain calls in position, and the board is all low cards. It’s especially good if the board is paired. You check to your opponent. He bets and you raise!

Think about it. If he had something really good like a big overpair, he would have raised that preflop. If has something like a medium to small pair, there’s a good chance he’ll check it back and try to take his average hand to showdown. (Even if he does bet a small pair, he might chicken out and fold.) So his most likely hand is simply overcards.

The Flop 3-way Squeeze

This one takes balls, but when executed well it works like a hot damn. Villain 1 raises preflop, villain 2 calls, and you over-call in position. Player one bets, player two calls and you make a small raise for the win! A simple way to size this is to match all the money now in the pot (including the 2 bets).

Think about it. You’re risking X dollars to win X dollars. You only have to win half the time. Also since you’re raising two players that have shown interest in this board, you look super strong. Villain 1 is going to have a hard time calling you now since he has two guys to contend with. And unless villain 2 was slow playing, his hand is likely weaker since he just called.

Here are a few more ways to make sure this one works:

  • Look for dry flops. You’re telling them you have a set. If the board is wet, the draws may just jam over top of you.
  • Works best against two regs, but could also work if the middle player is a fish.
  • Give yourself at least a tiny bit of equity by having a gut-shot for example.
  • Punish the guys with high continuation bet frequencies or the guys that make really weak looking c-bet sizes.
  • Punish players on wide ranges.

Show Me Yours

Those are mine. How about yours? Do you have some cool trick plays that often work for you? Please share in the comments below.

Or if you try these out, tell me how it goes.

  • brian

    I quite like 3Betting then bluff check-raising especially Jxx or Txx or below flops that are relatively dry. we have more big pairs in our range and people are often betting weak made hands or just two cards hoping to take it down on the flop.

    • Mike "fooz" Gano

      I like it. I suppose we could use bet vs missed cbet to identify prime targets.
      What kind of sizing do you use?

      • brian

        I think because it is a very strong play on generally dry boards we accomplish the same if it’s a huge or relatively small check-raise. Let’s say It’s a 20bb pot, often villain will bet in the 10-12bb range on a check, we can make it about same same amount as what’s in the pot so 30-35bb

        • Mike "fooz" Gano

          I assume you’re sometimes balancing with strong hands, or is this a purely exploitative play for you?

          • brian

            Sometimes, although rarely because it works exploitatively. Against some super-non-believers of course it’s great to do it with a set/AA etc though.

      • brian

        didnt see this til now. i think sizing can be small. it looks strong to most people and if they’re “betting for information” with hands like under pairs or weak top pairs they’ll generally fold no matter how huge we make it.

  • Bryan Bpc

    When ppl have capped ranges I like to overbet river. I get over 80% folds.

  • Bryan Bpc

    I don’t agree with raise/jam. Villain can 3b/f a ton but our equity is so poor when called that I don’t think it makes up for the folds. Also villain has a simple adjustment which is to 3b less. All the other tips seem great though. Do you have a sample of 100 or more with this raise/jam strategy? I could be wrong since I don’t do this.

    • Mike "fooz" Gano

      Hi Bryan. This is a highly exploitative play that will work versus many reg types in a vacuum (i.e. once or twice). Yes, the villain will likely adjust over time, but then you stop using it! For this reason it works well for those trying a new game or up against a reg that they know doesn’t know them. If you’re playing every day in the same player pool (as you and I probably are), then you have to be far more selective with the play.

      To put some numbers behind why it works, I’ve created a publicly viewable spreadsheet. This demonstrates how this is a +EV play whenever we have at least 70% fold equity. You can confirm whether this would work on you by asking yourself 2 questions very honestly:
      1) what would your 3-bet be versus a relatively unkown reg opening in the SB, and
      2) what would be your calling range if he jams?

      here’s the spreadsheet:

      • Bryan Bpc

        Yes I went over some of this when you coached me and I would probably fall into the 3rd column my self but there are a number of regs that would be in that 20+ 3b% so it would make sense to do it at times vs them.

  • Yves

    Triple float explode :

    Takes balls to but is VERRY efective imo.
    Ok, we flatted pre in BTN or BB, flop comes low card coordinated/ paired, like a 2 6 2 board ( even better if there is a FD like 2h 6h 2d and you hold the Ah).
    Now, villain c bets with a wide range, given his pos. UTG – CO that miss this flop allot!
    We float with something like the Nut FD blocker, or a 6, Turn comes a broadway, let’s say a K for this example, again we expext villain again to bet this card at a high freq.
    So we float again with our Nut FD blocker or our 6 for exampling But allready plannig on check raising or raising the river bet IP. Given the turn card is a blank or any heart.

    Cause when villain 3ple barrel here, he only has 6-8 legitimate combos he can 3ple/call river for value 2 of A2s, 1 of 66(if we have a 6)otherwise 3, and 3 of KK, granted he also can have ak here if he bets the flop with it and don’t check behind for showdown value, so he is more going to have KQ here the. AK.

    But even with a K like this he s gonna have a hard time calling cause he must know that we know he got here a lot of Kx in his perceived range, and we show no fear for this at all when we pull of this move.

    • Mike "fooz" Gano

      Ha. Love the name “Triple float explode”
      I think you’re hitting on some good ideas here: nut flush blocker, set blockers, high c-bets and wide ranges…all add up to good opportunities for sure.

  • Chris N

    One I like to use against non-thinking players when they are in a steal raise position, on a paired rag card flop like 722, 844 etc. and I have defended in the blinds in a heads up pot , is to check call a c-bet particularly if they c-bet a lot, then donk out on the turn if it bricks. It gets a lot of instant folds for a small bet and I can fold if I meet any resistance.

    • Nice Chris. I like that we’re building up a library of cool exploitative lines like this with this blog post/thread.

  • Stu

    Donk out on AXX Flops! what would be the preferred bet sizing her Mike?

  • Donald St. Jean

    Check min raising a paired board. Looks super strong especially on a 2 card straight and flush board. If neither hands completes bet pot on next street.

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