Double barreling is when you make a bet on the flop that gets called and then make another bet on the turn in a second attempt to take a pot away. It is called a barrel because you are firing away with nothing hoping to take the pot down with pure aggression. Double barrels are seen more frequently as you move up in limits. The reason that you don’t see many players double barreling at lower limits is the inability of other players to make a fold. Not much point in making bluffs that are only going to get called anyway.
So what is a good spot to double barrel?
The absolute first step in determining whether you are in a good spot to double barrel is deciding whether your opponents are able to locate the fold button. Many players simply despise folding, particularly at the lower limits. These players should never be double barreled. Trying to double barrel a calling station is the equivalent of burning money.
The second step is to analyze what has changed between the flop and the turn that you can now take another shot and be successful.
An example of a good spot to double barrel
- You have 10c Qc in late position and raise 3x BB, we will say you are playing .50/1, so $3.
- The big blind calls your raise and the pot is $6.50.
- The flop comes Jc 8s 7d.
- He checks, you bet $4 and are called.
- The pot is now $14.50.
- The turn comes Ac.
- He checks again.
This is a fantastic spot to double barrel. He may have called your flop bet with an 8, 9, T, or J, all of which are scared by the ace on the turn. You can represent a pair of aces, a hand that beats anything he had before. He folds some pairs and most draws.
An example of a bad spot to double barrel
Using the same example as above, pretend that the turn is 4c. Now, if you bet the turn you might fold some draws out, but if he called the flop with any pair why would he now want to fold the turn when a harmless card comes? Sure, he will fold a small pair sometimes, but we need to determine what the best choice is in the long run. The majority of the time he will realize that the 4c did not improve your hand and will stick around to at least see what the river brings. You can’t try to represent 44 there and expect many people to fall for it. This is in complete contrast to when the Ac came as you could legitimately represent a random ace after having made a pre-flop raise.
Taking the example of a good spot to double barrel, how much should we bet?
When the ace comes and allows us an opportunity to fire a double barrel we need to decide how much to bet. The pot is $14.50 and our mission is to push our opponent out. We need to make a strong bet, but we don’t want to bet more than necessary. A bet of $11 would be sufficient in this hand. It is not quite a pot bet but it is well over half the pot. He will call small bets to see another card but he will fold larger bets out of fear of being beat. The reason you don’t want to bomb the turn is in case he has improved his hand or flopped a very strong hand. If he has AJ and raises us we saved money by betting $11 instead of $17.
Summary of double barreling
It is more important to consider what the board is in relation to the action in the hand than it is to consider your hand. It is even more important to consider what types of hands your opponent likely has. Once you are able to put your opponents on ranges of hands and know what types of cards hurt that range you will be able to successfully execute double barrels.