Poker: Points of Honesty
Every poker player has spots in his game where he tends to become honest. This honesty is often a result of the reactions of the other players at the table but it can also be a result of his natural style.
A point of honesty is a situation where a player will only continue to put money into the pot with a strong hand.
Preflop most players tend to become honest when they are 4-bet. In other words they are not 5-bet bluffing or defending light often enough that we need to be taking it into account. The situation we create when we 4-bet is an example of a point of honesty for the villain.
The better our perceived strength is in a given situation the more likely it is that the same situation is a point of honesty for our opponent.
Postflop most players have points of honesty deeply integrated into their style.
When we are making a plan for our hand it can be a great help if we can define when we expect villain to become honest. In other words we can ask ourselves, "Where is villain's point of honesty on this board texture?" Our answer will depend on:
- The villain in the hand.
- What our hand looks like if we call, bet or raise.
A simple illustration is a double barrel on a dry flop. When we c-bet it looks like we have top pair or better, but everybody c-bets dry flops so we get called by a lot of second pair type hands. When we fire again on the turn it really looks like we have top pair or better. Our perceived strength increased when we bet the turn and it is very likely that our opponent will fold most of his second pairs on the turn. Unless he thinks that it is very likely that we are bluffing there is no reason for him to bluff catch again.
When we are the preflop caller we should adjust our calling ranges both preflop and postflop to villain's expected points of honesty.
In general it is better to have outs than marginal showdown value against an aggressive player. The reason is that, on a lot of turns, we will find ourselves in a spot where both folding and calling are potential big mistakes - we would play the hand in a very different way could we see villain's cards.