Double Barreling in Poker — When and Why to Use It?Poker players often get so invested in creating the best hand that they forget some other game aspects, like placing bets. This is usually the case with novice players who might know only a few moves, like:
However, the game offers many other opportunities to strengthen the pot and improve your standing. One of them is double barreling — a highly strategic move that refers to raising the turn after raising the flop. If that sounds confusing, let us explain how it works.
What Is Double Barreling?
Double barreling or “firing a second barrel” is a complex trick of placing a continuation bet on the turn after already firing a c-bet on the flop. This move can mark you as an aggressive player.
If you’ve ever been in a situation where you raised with a strong hand but hit nothing on the flop, then this action provides a way out of being called on the flop and having nothing to show on the turn.
However, novice players shouldn’t take this move lightly. It requires you to invest more money than in the previous street without knowing whether it will work. On top of that, double barreling sometimes involves semi or full bluffs, so you must have solid fold and pot equity before making such a move.
Below are several instances where double barreling is an excellent option.
When You’re at an Advantage on the Turn
If you’re up against only one opponent on the turn, you should fire a second barrel. However, if you encounter calls and overcalls from multiple rivals, you’ll see that they have too much strength and can take you down later.
At that point, bluffing would be way too risky, and the right call would be to give up and fold.
When the Turn Can Boost Your RangeAfter raising in the preflop round, you’d lead your opponents to think you have a strong hand. If that’s not the case, you’ll need overcards on the turn to improve your range. However, you can pull off a double barrel without big cards like:
It just becomes easier if they appear on the turn.
When the Turn Weakens Your Opponent’s RangeBesides improving your range, the double barrel move should be bad for your opponents. By playing aggressively, even when bluffing, you’ll throw the opponent off his game and make him less confident in calling or raising.
That’s why turn overcards to the board are perfect for double barreling. Even if your opponent has a stronger hand, it will become second-best after the turn scare card. For that to work, you need to know how to read your opponent’s hand.
- A player with pocket aces on the A-Q-6 flop would never fold on the turn
- However, a player with a KQ on the same board would fold several times when someone bets out
Your opponents will often call the flop, but not many would take it further.
When You Have Passive OpponentsYou don’t want to double barrel against tight players unless you’re a poker pro. If some of your opponents call the preflop and flop, they are confident in their cards, and you don’t want to mess with that. If you do, it might be costly.
Passive players are the perfect foundation for a successful second barrel, as they usually have a wide range and hands that can’t sustain aggressive play.
Learn how to spot the different player types in this guide here.
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ConclusionDouble barreling is a highly complex move that involves many variables, and this article can’t begin to cover them all. Novice players should stay away from it until they have a deeper understanding of all the steps that build up to the double barrel.
Remember — it’s not simple bluffing; it’s so much more.
However, when done right, firing the second barrel can greatly improve your fold and pot equity and cement your position as the top player in the game.