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Good try, or stupid and bluffy?

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  • Good try, or stupid and bluffy?

    OK, so a failed bluff here, so let's try not to be too results orientated.

    What I really want to know is was it a decent effort and played well or a spewy weak punt?

    Day 1 of a £110 2 day competition. Blinds are 600/1200/100. Both V and I have the same size stack of around 40k.

    Blinds 400/800/100
    Pos BB
    Stack 40k (50BB)
    Hand 33

    There is a MP raise to 2k and 2 callers. I call in the BB hoping to flop a set, obviously. Pot is 8k

    Flop 677r

    I missed my set, so I check.

    It checks round to the V who is last to act (think he was on the button). V bets 3k, and I am next to act.

    Villain seems very competent to me. He has not exposed anything way out of line, but has made lots of chips by taking well timed stabs at pots. He is reasonably aggressive. I saw one hand similar to this where he raised an A high flop on the button with Q-9 which ended up getting to show down, so I know he will take a stab with air on the flop at least. I also know he thinks I am very tight- basically because I have been playing very tight after a horrendous run of cards! He open folded K-J to me when I made a pot sized shove on a king high flop with 2 connected diamonds (I had K-Q so he was right!). So I knew he was also capable of making a big lay down.

    With all this information I decided to throw away plan a) of flopping a set, and try plan b)check raise- repping something big on a board he would have trouble hitting hard. I could easily have a 7 in the BB. So I check raised him to 7k. It folded round to him- he thought about it and made the call. This was a surprise to me, and again, I was basically done with the hand once again. Pot 22k

    The turn was an ace, making the board 6-7-7-A rainbow

    I decided that the ace was a good card if he had called me with an overpair, so I decided another barrel was justified. I fired out a bet of 8.5k, which was deliberately smallish to look enticing- I figured I had shown a lot of strength by C/R and then betting that I didn't need to use many chips in the bluff.

    He shoved on me for about 22k. I really hadn't expected that.

    I tanked for a good while. I thought it was possible that he might have 8-9 or 4-5- especially if they were suited. That would make sense, and I was in front of those hands. However my actual hand was basically miles behind any made hand. Any pocket pair, and A,6 or 7 had me crushed.

    In the end I decided to fold and keep a 25k playable stack, but I was also very aware that I was looking at 22k to win a pot of about 85k. I didn't need to be right very often (about 25%).


    1) Ignoring the Villains all in, where things went wrong, was it a decent spot to bluff, and were the decisions reasonable?
    2) Difficult to answer not knowing the player, but is the laydown too weak, or prudent?

  • #2
    There is quite a but wrong with this so i'll focus on 2 things and save the rest for others.

    1) "Repping" on paired boards doesn't work Heads Up. The trips is a small piece of the range and when the other card is low, better players will float and overpairs will continue. When the A comes on the turn, that's better for the MP opener.

    1a) "Repping" in the BB when it clicks back preflop isn't repping anything on the flop.

    2) Your betting line shows a complete lack of awareness of the pot geometry of the hand. Your check raise build a 1 SPR pot villain which was committing the villain. His flop call was telling you that he wasn't afraid of getting stacks in. There was no choice but to shut down on the flop.

    This hand was not a good spot.


    • #3
      Cheers Bob,

      Thanks for the time you took to reply.

      The initial C/R was more of a "it's difficult for you to be strong, so I will look strong" bet than anything. I didn't expect him to fold an overpair, but with the way he had stabbed at pots before I felt he had a much wider range than overpairs that he would bet with, and a much narrower range he would call my bet with. In this respect I like the C/R bluff in this spot. Having said that, on further reflection, I am also check/raising (I'm avoiding the use of the word "repping" here- I don't think you liked it! ) a very narrow range. Any sizeable overpair would have been raised preflop to thin the field. A 6 might for protection, having checked to the preflop raiser to play in flow. If I had a 7 I would probably check/call in the hope of him barrelling again. 66 or 77, probably both the same- check/call pattern from OOP- but maybe I would barrel away and hope he had something he liked. In fact the only hands I would C/R here would be straight draws (or flush draws if they had been available) as suggested by JL for playing draws OOP.

      The 2nd barrel was fired with the thought process that if he did call my raise with an overpair, he would now be behind to any A-X hand. I was trying to apply the idea of "if the board changes significantly on a card, keep bluffing" that JL often advocates. Now I'm not too sure how many of my regular opponents (or often myself) track ranges through the streets and narrow them, but I can't think of many hands that I would play this way at all, since the board changed for me too (it would be different if I had led the flop instead of check raising). I think by this point I am only really saying I have a 7 or exactly A-6 or maybe some strong A-X hands that I bluffed on the flop but then hit with, which is a very narrow range- and some of those don't really make much sense anyway.

      Your point 2 is the one that was really bothering me- but in reality from the other side. I quite liked the spot to C/R bluff for the player dynamics as in the OP- and you see very few at the levels I play so they are always given lots of respect. Looking at the maths (now- I can't claim to have done this at the table......) I am betting 7k to win a pot of 18k. It needs to win about 40% of the time. I think that's "fair" for my fold equity. However I'm not sure now whether it needed to be bigger since he only needed to call 4k in a pot of 22k, but that then obviously means my fold equity needs to increase with the size of the bet.

      I also think I lost more chips than I needed to, and I should have spotted it coming (ref. the clear thinking thread I started!), but ended up driving myself into a horrible spot. I think he might well have played any straight draw (hands I am beating) in the same way on the flop given my bet sizing, then decided to semi-bluff shove with lots of equity against almost everything and lots of fold equity. Or he already had a hand he was happy to play for stacks with. In both cases I made it easy for him by setting the stacks and pot up optimally. I didn't consider this at all at the time.


      • #4
        I understand what was in play here but on the point you don't like, i'll rephrase my comment. No one should ever be folding anything in a 1 SPR pot. So in the future, deep in most small stakes games, after the fish have been eaten, don't take a betting line that includes building a 1 SPR pot and bluffing/repping/pushing players off marginal made hands.


        • #5
          I am fine with the check-raise if you think your opponent will assume you have the obvious hand you are representing. I would probably make it 8k on the flop though to give a bit more fold equity, although small is also fine if you plan to fire the turn and then push the river. As played, I would bet as you did on the turn with the intention of jamming the river. Luckily he let you off the hook. Bluffs like this are often successful but I am not sure they have a large place in overall tournament strategy, especially as you approach the money, because one failed attempt costs your stack. Early, when you are effective playing a cash game, they may have more merit.