The choice of when to double barrel is crucial for securing big wins and mitigating heavy losses. Given that a double barrel is a risky play, it is essential that you have a good understanding of when and how it can be used most effectively.
What is a Double Barrel?
The double barrel comes after a continuation bet and is a bluff to reinforce an image of strength that you have built with a continuation bet. A double barrel is used when you don’t hit after the turn but you try to get your opponent to fold through aggressive betting.
Players in the hand
When weighing up any play, it’s important to consider how many people remain in the hand to estimate your odds of winning. However, it’s particularly important with a risky play like a double barrel. Statistically speaking, the more players that remain in a hand the lower your odds are of winning. This is very important to consider when try to pull off a bluff. With more than one other person in the hand, the likelihood of you being called or raised is much higher. Only fire a double barrel against two or more opponents if you are very confident you can get them off the hand.
Position is also an important factor, as leading in these situations is far from ideal. You’re better off using a double barrel when the action is checked to you. If the action is checked to you twice, a double barrel becomes even more likely to be effective as an opponent will very rarely trap with a double check. As with all these factors though, you do risk becoming predictable if you execute the same play in the same position each time. Keep in mind your table image and if you feel confident enough to double barrel out of position, it can make you difficult to read in the future.
In the same way your opponents will be attempting to read you, you need to read them in order to fully calculate the probability of pulling off a double barrel. If your opponent repeatedly calls, then double barrels become less effective and you might need to slightly adjust your approach. In this instance, against an opponent who is a calling station, a delayed double barrel gives you a better chance of inducing a fold. By betting after bricks on the turn and on the river, you can catch out players who are chasing flushes or straights to win sizeable pots.
Sizing up your bet
The main principles to remember when sizing up a double barrel bet is that it must be greater than your previous bet. The key here is not to show any weakness and make speculative calls seem increasingly foolish. The more you bet, the more likely you are to get your opponent to fold, but its important to find the right balance to not risk too much against a hand that could beat you.
A double barrel is an aggressive play which often allows you to pick up money from calling stations or more cautious opponents. By sticking to the principles and strategies above you’ll put yourself in a great position to build up your stack.