So, you’ve defended your big blind – because you’ve learned that you should do this a lot in poker tournaments. However, what should you do post-flop to avoid getting crushed? If you make a mistake here, you can end up getting crushed, especially once the pace picks up. Here are four tips to consider if you find yourself in this situation.

You don’t have to keep check-calling

A lot of time, the best decision comes back around to you is to fold, even more if you are playing at the cash poker tables. It’s true that you would rather keep going after you made a decision that pre-flop that looks like it might have paid off, but even if you fold post-flop, that earlier decisions was still a good one. There are times when leading on the turn may have worked for you, but it is hard to do this correctly.

Don’t overbluff when draws fill up your range

If you bet too many draws, you will end up overbluffing. Your opponent can turn this to his or her advantage by calling down light. However, every time you check-fold a draw, you are potentially wasting an opportunity to win. To avoid getting crushed, if you bet with op open-enders and combo draws, you are minimizing your exposure here.

With high straight draws, then you can check-call or check-raise. When it comes to middling hands, go 50-50, betting half the time, and check-folding the rest of the time. With lower straight draws, then it’s time to check-fold. Implementing this will keep you from over-bluffing while still making sure that you get the right fold equity at the turn. If you learn that your opponent is likely to fold against turn bets, then you can bet more middling hands, because your odds go up.

When it comes to the river, you’ll pay attention to the card that falls. Is it a club? Then keep bluffing in the event of missed straight draws that also have a club, keeping the flush blocked. Is the river board-paired? Watch out when it comes to bluffing in poker, because the other player may want to call after seeing so many missed draws. Is the river a brick? If you don’t have a club, you’re in good shape because your opponent has missed a flush draw and is likely to fold.

Slow-play strong hands now and then to protect your ranges

Players of all skill levels tend to fold too frequently in the face of river barrels. This is an error because you get your largest pots, at least on average, on the river. There are two ways to keep from making this mistake.

First, slow-play strong hands more often on the flop and turn. This will build your range for the river.

Second, call down lighter. This can help build your winning rate. However, if you call a big bet on the river with a weak hand might feel intimidating, but the rest of the online poker world is getting better, which means you will need to get used to more risks.

Third, check-raising on the flop each time there is a two pair or better, then the top of the range is top pair. This will make it hard to call down often enough against barrels when the range is capped like that.

You can also consider using a mixed strategy which involves check-raising most of the time but also check-calling for the other strong hands on the flop. This is hard to build the discipline to do, but it also builds range versatility.

Putting these steps to work can help you avoid getting crushed in situations where your big blind play puts you at risk.

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