C8C #28 – Big Bluffin’

Good Evening! Welcome to the Cre8ive Coaching Newsletter. We are back after a short break. Enjoy today’s poker knowledge!

In this edition, I pinpoint my opponent’s range and attack it with a triple barrel bluff. Read about it below.

Today’s Topic:

This hand comes from a 2/5 No-Limit Holdem game in the Encore at the Wynn. I run a bluff against a wide range that becomes narrower as the hand goes on.

Action folds to me on the cutoff (next to the button) and I raise to 20 with Jc-9c and 2000 chips. The button calls with 600 chips behind, and the big blind calls with 1400 chips.

The dealer spreads the flop of 8c 2d 2h. No flush draws present. There is ~60 in the pot and the big blind bets out 30. I decide to raise to 100. The button folds and the big blind calls.

The turn is the Qs, which adds some equity to my complete flop bluff. There is 260 in the pot now and my opponent checks to me. I bet 220. The big blind calls once again.

We get to a river of Qc, for the final board reading 8c 2d 2h Qs Qc. The big blind studies the river card, then checks for the final time. I count what is in the pot, which sits at about 700. I think about what my opponent could have, what it looks like I have, and how the board has changed to affect those things. I decide to bet half the pot, 350. After some spoken thoughts and a couple minutes, my opponent makes the call and turns over Ah8s to win the hand.

This is an example of running a credible bluff against a capped range. The best hand my opponent can have is 2-x, such as A2, K2s, Q2s, etc. They have more 2’s in their range than the button and me do. But I doubt the big blind would rarely be betting first if their hand was that strong. Therefore, I think a lot of the time the big blind has 8-x, 33-77, or some random/backdoor over-cards deciding to take a stab at the pot.

Since all I have is jack high, but I have over-cards that connect with one of the cards on the board to increase my potential equity (when I bluff raise the flop, I can hit a 9/T/J/Q/7), I can credibly represent a strong range like an over-pair (99+) or one of the suited deuces I might raise with on the cutoff (A2s, K2s, Q2s, possibly 23s or worse if I’m feelin’ frisky!) When the big blind leads for 30, I decide to pounce. This forces the shorter-stacked button out of the way and puts the big blind on the defensive.

When the queen lands on the turn, it’s a great card for me to continue bluffing. I’ve turned a gutshot straight draw, and the queen will be in my range of bluffs, more than the value range of the big blind. The only hands the big blind has that improves from this turn is Q-8 or Q2s. I will have some K-Q, Q-J, Q-T type hands that could raise the flop as a bluff.

The river doesn’t change things too much. The second queen appearing makes it less likely I have a queen. That doesn’t matter though because I have represented a strong range up until this point, and my opponent doesn’t have many queens either. I can still represent pocket pairs, 99-TT-JJ-KK-AA, the deuce, or the random queen that I have now made a full house with. On the river I can bet anywhere from 300-1000+ and exert the final blow of pressure on my adversary.

I went with a bet that I could see myself making a lot of times with 99, TT, or JJ, and even AA/KK. Half pot. This wasn’t enough to scare my opponent away, but he sure thought it over. This play didn’t work this time, but I believe my story was convincing. My opponent guessed right, and I happened to be bluffing this time!

“I visited many places,
Some of them quite
Exotic and far away,
But I always returned to myself.”
Dejan Stojanovic