Triple-Barrel Bluff


#1

Not the most elegant hand, but I’d like to share the following hand. We’re playing very deep at 500-1K - both the primary villain and I have over 300BB to start. I built a pot through aggression, and took it down with a triple-barrel bluff. This wasn’t my most profitable hand of the night - ended up walking off the table with over 700BB after buying in for 125BB - but I think it was my most fun one.

Facing a call from UTG+1 8-handed, I open Q :diamonds: T :diamonds: to 4.5K. The CO and BTN called behind, as did the SB and UTG players. We’re going five ways to the flop, with a pot of 23.5K.

The flop, K :spades: J :clubs: 5 :clubs:, gave me an OESD to the nuts on both sides. It checked to me, and I bet 16K, about 2/3 pot. CU folds, BTN calls, and SB and UTG both fold.

3 :spades: falls on the turn, bringing backdoor flush potential. We’re now heads up with a pot of 55.5K. I fire 35.3K, again around 2/3 pot. Villain on the button calls.

The river brings 4 :spades:. This is a great river to bluff. I hold one of the worst hands I could have in this spot, with no showdown value. The club flush missed, but I don’t block that at all. A backdoor spade flush could have come in, I don’t block the villain from having spade blockers himself, and he probably would have folded a naked (no pairs or decent straight draws) backdoor flush draw on the flop. I check my huevos, take a deep breath, and throw another 85K into the middle. venotrain folds, the bluff gets through, and I collect a very healthy, 126K pot - showing the bluff, of course. If you’re reading this, venotrain, I would love to know what you had.

It’s rare on this site to see a triple-barrel bluff, and even rarer to have it actually work. Interested to see what you guys think of this hand. Thoughts on my hand selection? Should I have used different sizing on any of the streets?


#2

… I mean, you won a very good pot with a bluff. What more do you want? More value? I think this was the best you could expect for here. Likely, your opponent was also on a draw, and missed too.


#3

Very nice hand and a great spot for the triple-barrel. I liked the line from start to finish and thought the best sizing’s were fine. Looked like value start to finish to me. Once you got past the flop and narrowed the field to get HU, you were in a nice spot. Not blocking any flush draws helped on that river.

Never quite sure what people are floating here. Wouldn’t surprise me if he had AQ something in that range. Does he call 2 streets with AJ? No idea but that is about the strongest hand that calls 2 streets and folds river, I think. Not even sure that calls the turn on this board so may have been just a draw. Its so hard for me to range people when they are this passive.

Again, well executed and thought out. I like the even application of pressure start to finish. Looks very credible.

ADDED: The only issue I can take with this hand is that QTs is a bit weak to isolate-raise with from UTG+1. Just so many people left to act that can wake up with a real hand and blow you out of the pot. I’d prefer that type of play be made from later position, with a chance of at least stealing the button. Still, hard to argue with a +575BB session :wink:


#4

What, if any, was your read on the main Villain in this hand?

Preflop

If you’re at a passive table where nobody 3bets without say QQ+, I like your preflop raise even from early position. You will have to be cautious if you flop a single pair hand because you can potentially have kicker issues. But other than that QTs is going to have good playability given its potential to make a monster hand.

In terms of bet size preflop, given that you got 4 callers you could think about going bigger next time because clearly you’re not getting isolation with that sizing.

Flop

I honestly don’t know whether I like the cbet out of position on a 5-way flop. In a less multiway setting, I fully agree with betting the OESD. But how much fold equity do you really have here? Plus, you have to discount your draw’s equity a bit because two of your outs could complete someone’s flush draw.

Given that you decided to cbet, I like the sizing of your bet.

Once you get called by a single player, I think his range looks like Kx, Jx, club draws, various straight draws including gutshots, plus some sets and 2 pairs. I would think that the very strong holdings are less likely because those sometimes are raising preflop or on the flop. We can’t rule them out completely though.

Turn

With this range in mind, the turn is a virtual blank - it doesn’t complete any draws and helps very few of his potentially holdings (mostly just hands picking up the backdoor flush draw plus random K3s may have got here).

Now that you’re heads up, I like your decision to continue bluffing on the turn and I like the sizing. There’s a lot of his range that should fold. You’re going to have to prepare to fire again on most river cards though.

Once your turn bet gets called, I think his range is Kx, club draws, straight draws plus a few random sets / 2 pairs that still decided not to raise.

River

The river is essentially another blank. No draws completed except backdoor flushes, no help for his plausible single pair hands. I like your decision to fire the third barrel. I think your sizing could go a bit bigger. A big chunk of his range should be giving up, but making this a profitable bluff is going to depend on getting enough of the weaker Kx hands to fold.


#5

I agree with @love2eattacos that it’s good to open QTs because it can flop monsters and big draws, and you can get away easily when you miss completely, though you do need to be careful when flopping a single pair. I actually like your open size (it’s the same one I use) because while you will often go multiway to the flop 1) opening bigger potentially narrows your opponent’s ranges to more hands that dominate yours (AQ/KQ/QJ), 2) you have a hand that flops well multiway, 3) you have a standard open size that works for a wide range, while if you open to 7x you would need to be more selective about what hands you open (not that anybody is paying enough attention to the balance of your open sizing or range).

On the flop, I don’t love cbetting into 4 opponents for the reason @love2eattacos gave, that you lose 2 outs to the club draw and it’s hard to expect to get folds, especially when KJ/55 are very plausibly in their ranges and we can’t rule out KK/JJ, plus you could get raised by a flush draw. Based on the call on this scary board, I would put your opponent on a one-pair hand because they should be raising sets and 2-pair, so I think you did well to barrel him off of it.

By the river, it looks to me like he has exactly Kx (though there are some players who never raise who can have sets). If you were going for balance, I would ask the question, exactly what are you repping on this river? It seems like only AA/KK/JJ can fire into 4 players and then fire 3 barrels. You do a credible job of repping those hands, but it can be important to think whether you are repping too narrow of a range to make a bluff credible. If I were him and holding say KT, it does look like you have AA/JJ because he blocks KK/KJ and AK/KQ are pretty thin value bets this point. AA is also a pretty thin value bet at this point, though many players would play it this way. You can have a few spade flushes, but there are not many that you bet on the flop (AT/QT/Q9/T9 maybe). So realistically, he is probably only worried about 10 combos of value (AA/KK/JJ), if we assume he is holding a king. On the other hand, the club flush and broadway draws missed, so you can be bluffing with clubs or AT/QT/Q9/T9.

In this case, I still like your line and decision to keep barreling. It’s just important to think about what value you are repping versus potential bluffs when you are playing really good opponents. Some of the best players on Replay are extremely aggressive, and when I have to choose whether or not to call them on the river, I think about how many combos of value versus bluff candidates they have, and they are often unbalanced because there are like 9 combos of value and 40 different combos of gutshuts, open-enders, or flush draws they would have turned into a bluff, so I just cross my fingers and call.


#6

I think both @JoeDirk and @love2eattacos make good points about betting the flop into the field. However, if you aren’t going to do this with your stronger draws, then there is no point opening QTs there in the first place. At these stakes you are going to get multiple calls. Raise to 7x that early and you’ll still have 4+ seeing the flop. So, if you are going to open that weak of a hand, knowing you are going to get multiple callers, the bet on the flop to narrow the field is critical, IMO. You must get to HU as soon as humanly possible. Plus, with fit or fold players, the rest of them dumped their equity and left their chips - how nice of them.

I wouldn’t run this play with any frequency whatsoever but I like it to set up the session early or to loosen up a game if they are being too nitty. If you’re doing this with every mediocre suited gapper you see, then I think its going to backfire. If this was your baseline strategy, I’d be singing a different tune and telling you to tighten up and protect the ball. Running 1 pretty play once in a while (for the right reasons) is great. I absolutely loved the comments in the box “next time I’ll have the goods”. I’m just hoping you used this to full advantage.

There’s 1 other reason I like this play - I love the game of poker and a good triple barrel bluff always makes me smile. It is one of the best feelings in the game to pull off.


#7

I pretty much agree. After opening, I cbet almost all open-enders almost all of the time. In this particular case, I would be somewhat hesitant just because there are so many opponents, the K/J hits their flatting range pretty hard, there’s a flush draw on board that also won’t fold and can raise or beat you at showdown with ace-high, and I would much rather c-bet QT on a J9x or even 98x board than on a KJx board where you have no overcards. If you hit a Q or T then it’s hard to continue barreling and you still usually lose.


#8

I think a lot of the reason I’m ok with it as a once in a while play is that @WannabeCoder had a plan and went for it. I would hate to see this move be followed by a check on the flop. If you have a plan, have thought it out, then execute it, that’s playing poker to me. If it works or doesn’t work isn’t as important to me as the plan and execution.

I will also freely admit that I like the balls to fire 3 barrels. Its one thing to fire mindlessly and pray but to do it rationally is nice to watch. We just had a player come through here and rocket up to 500M+ in a very short period of time by firing 3 shells at almost every pot with garbage. It was terrible play by what I call a “barrel monkey”. In this hand, I liked the thought process and the creativity along with the nerve to follow through. I don’t get to see a lot of creativity here so this was fun.


#9

Elsewhere in that same session, I was in the UTG+1 position, and opened AA to 6.5K facing an UTG flat and two committed players behind. Everyone folded and I scooped. Not that I’m complaining, just wanted to provide a bit of context to the bet sizing.

As far as the decision to play this hand, QT is probably the weakest suited one-gapper I’d open on this table. I might even send 89s into the muck. Generally I’m going to be very value-heavy, since people at these stakes are (still) passive stations.

I was thinking through what hands I could be betting for value, and what missed draws I could have in this spot. For value, I could have the ace-high flush with a 5, T, J, Q, or K. All would open, continue on the flop, and have the backdoor flush come in on the turn & river. Q :spades: T :spades: would be a value bet as well. I could also have a set of 5’s, J’s, or K’s. That’s 15 combos for value.

As a bluff on the river, I’d want to choose my OESDs that don’t block club flushes. I wouldn’t open QT offsuit, and QT spades, so we’ll add QT diamonds and QT hearts to the list. I don’t think I have any club flush draws that don’t block straight draws - A :clubs: K :clubs: is too high in my value range to use as a bluff. If I add in broadway draws with A :spades: and no clubs, that gives me four more combos - the tens and queens of diamonds and hearts. That’s a total of 6 combinations as bluffs.

Since 15/21 (67%) of my bets here are for value, I’d need to bet 2/3 pot for my opponent to be indifferent between calling and folding. If I bet larger, I need to work more hands into my bluff range.

Granted, I didn’t do all of this analysis until well after the fact, but it’s nice when the numbers work out. :slight_smile:


#10

If you can consistently get multiple callers while going bigger, you’re going to want to do it with your premium hands so that you can go for max value. The value you get from your monsters like AA-QQ is going to dwarf your winrate from everything else.

With QTs specifically, it plays great multiway as long as you don’t get too excited when you make a single pair. So I can get behind going with a smaller raise size with that and similar hands.

Should we fork our range when playing against this kind of table? Raise big with premium hands, smaller with everything else? It’s really unbalanced and exploitable, but if most of the opposition is not paying enough attention to what we’re doing I can see how this would be effective.


#11

Loving this thinking.

I would come at this the other way around. What’s the bet size that I need to get folds from the hands that I’m targeting? Based on that, what proportion of bluffs do I need?

If you have 67% value hands on the river, you need to bet pot to make your opponent indifferent. If you bet 2/3 pot you’ll have a few too many bluffs.


#12

Tacos, you’re absolutely right that if I had 67% of my bets for value, I should have bet pot. However, my percentage was off - 15/21 is actually 71%, not 67%. 2/3 pot was the right size.


#13

Spot on :+1:


#14

I generally try to titrate my open size to get one or two callers. If everyone is folding, I’ll reduce my size and widen my range; when too many players call my opens, I tighten up and open larger. Hence, the 6.5x open with AA, and the 4.5x open with QTs in the same position, same session. Trying to figure out what works best on the table.


#15

So, you cbet into 4 opponents with A5/AT/AJ/AQ of spades? I get that you have some extra equity with the pair/gutshot/backdoor flush, but I think that’s pretty optimistic. A lot of professional players turn hands with some showdown value into semi-bluffs, like A5/AJ of spades would be, but I just don’t like it multiway and against the stickiness of Replay callers, especially… and this is the big thing we have not mentioned… out of position against two opponents.

@love2eattacos and @1Warlock have talked about sizing and opening suited gappers, but I think the big problem with the sizing and hand selection is that you are UTG+1 8-handed. I would probably limp-behind here if the table is super-passive because flopping a 1-pair hand isn’t great and flopping a draw forces you to turn your hand into a semi-bluff or to play passively and draw. At a 4.5x size we pretty much always go multiway to the flop out of position to at least one opponent and the hand is just not good enough to size up. I love this open over limpers if you are in the CO/BTN (although limping behind is also ok). But from UTG+1, it just seems like you are setting chips on fire, especially if you are going to continue as wide as bottom pair and a backdoor flush draw. How often do you have the best hand by the river? And how often does at least 1 opponent flop 2-pair+ that they never fold?

As played, this is a pretty good flop for your hand, and the fact that nobody raises means that maybe nobody is super strong. But semi-bluffing out of position in a multi-way pot when your draw is not the nuts seems like a dicey proposition.


#16

Just have to say that this is a great thread, IMO. Lot’s of solid thoughts and evaluations without anyone going negative. People giving their opinions and how they arrived at them rather than telling someone they were right or wrong. These past 2 threads on poker hands make me optimistic about there being a place on this Forum for honest strategy debates and analysis.

One more thing - if you aren’t going to experiment with these types of plays here, where are you supposed to learn? I’d much rather see people experimenting with different lines than playing the passive flop-and-see thing just to accumulate chips. Not saying every hand should be an adventure but why not let the creative side out once in a while? If you can find spots to execute certain plays here and get comfortable with them, I’d think that can only help when playing for money.


#17

I can see going either way with this. My preference when playing on tables where I’m not being 3-bet frequently enough (or 4-bet) is to find a size that gets me 1 caller. I play mostly 6-max so for full-ring, I’d want 1 or 2 callers. Once that size is established, that’s what I’ll use for my entire range. I do get odd looks and some comments live because my sizes may be different than the rest of the table’s but who really cares? I see tables where everyone settles on 1 size, seemingly by unspoken consent. I think its a matter of people wanting to fit in so they do what the last guy did. Anyway, I’m not interested in what everyone else is doing because I want to beat them, not play nice and gain their acceptance into the herd. :slight_smile:

IMO, if people are paying so little attention that they don’t notice you changing open sizes based on hand-strength, then you are in such a soft game that you should just value-own them. If such tables exist, then great. I’d be really hesitant to do this if even 1 or 2 players were observant though. It might also create bad habits for playing against better players? So, I’m torn between wanting to exploit the hell out of people who will let you and not wanting to create a strategy that is so open to being counter-exploited.


#18

It is really hard to pull off a total bluff with nothing, but here is one I did tonight in a tournament that caused quite an uproar on the table. The Big Blind had a noticeable tendency to call raises in the Big Blind with nonpremium hands, but I did not think he was willing to put all his chips at stake on this flop, even if he got a piece of it, so…

https://www.replaypoker.com/hand/replay/452745819


#19

I would have loved to be a fly on the wall at that table after you showed off your pockets. I imagine at least one player wasn’t amused.


#20

A good response to the non-amused player:

It’s only game. Why you heff to be mad?