Hand reviews: Running some bluffs

I wanted to get some reviews on bluff hands, specifically, so here’s a thread specifically for reviewing bluffing hands.

Thread rules:

  1. Anyone can post a hand, and anyone can review a hand. Hands posted in this thread for review must be bluffs. Bluffs need not be limited to “high card” hand strengths. You need not have won the hand. You need not show the bluff in the live hand for it to count, but if you didn’t show you should mention what your hole cards were in the review.
  2. To help keeping track of the hand being discussed, name the hand somehow.
  3. Keep on topic, and don’t antagonize someone if you disagree with them. Disagreement is welcome, but keep it cordial and productive.
  4. Per Replay forum rules, a player can post only one hand per day.

PUG #1:

https://www.replaypoker.com/hand/replay/757804368

4-seat ring, 1k/2k. I’m on the SB with AdQc. So far the session has been a rough one for me, I can’t hit any board I play for, and have lost about a buy-in at this point, maybe more. CO opens to 6k, Button folds, I raise to 13k. BB tanks and calls, we’re 3-up to see the flop.

Flop is JsJd5s. I don’t much care for this flop at all, and check to see what everyone else does. BB checks, CO checks.

Turn is a seeming brick, 2d. I check again, this time the CO puts in a 1/2 pot bet. I consider folding, but decide instead to play this for a raise. I reason that if CO checked the flop, it’s more likely they don’t have a Jack than they would check top trips with no one behind them to act. A Jack last to act flopping top trips would have to at least bet something, probably on the small side to build the pot, hoping to get called, and they didn’t bet. So I don’t think they have a Jack.

Therefore, they might have a 5, or they might have even hit a 2, or they might just be betting with air from position, hoping that they’ll be able to take the pot down without a showdown. If he does have air, I should have a lot of equity with AQ.

In this spot, I think my range has some check-raise plays with Jacks, since I’m first to act on the hand. If V wants to call down a big raise with just a 2 or a 5, good for him, but I’m going to play this like I have a Jack here until I’m forced to show otherwise. If he does have a Jack, I’m going to give him a really big pot and feel dumb.

I raise from 19500 to 97500. I’m hoping this takes the hand down, and if he calls, I’m probably in trouble. BB folds, CO calls.

River is a 9h. V has only about 45k left behind, and I don’t think there’s much fold equity in a bet of that sizing with the pot now over 233.5k. But WWJackD? Jack would pot it again, that’s what. I don’t expect this to work, but I fire a pot-sized bet of 234k, V only is on the hook to call for up to 42k, and the pot odds for a 42k call into a pot of 275k aren’t that bad even if he did hit the two.

V folds, to my surprise. I felt for sure if they’re calling the Turn here that they’re calling anything on the River. It’s my biggest pot on the night, and brings me back from being down from earlier at this table to close to breakeven, and is the start of what ended up being a decent night.

I showed my bluff this time, and after doing so, I hit a few strong made hands in subsequent hands, and bet big on the river, get called each time, and win bigger pots. I conclude that I’m getting called wider now that I’ve shown a bluff once, and it’s paying off because they’re looking for me to be bluffing again with similar river action. This helps me turn the session into a profitable one.

What did I learn here? I don’t know. Initially, I feel like it was a stupid play on my part, but it worked out, much to my surprise. The thinking on each street isn’t unsound, but I’m still surprised I got this one through, especially after they called my raise on the Turn. Why did they call there only to fold on the River? But then it really paid off in the action following this hand, getting paid off more on rivers when I really had it. So even if I get called and lose a much bigger pot here than I otherwise might have, can I call that type of outcome a loss-leader that may pay off in future hands when they keep calling?

This is good advice. I agree that I played the hand poorly and got lucky. I don’t post hands for review to brag (usually) but because I want to learn from them (or to illustrate a point for others to learn from.)

Flush draw is a good read, in the moment I didn’t consider that they might have spades. Or perhaps two diamonds, since they bet the Turn. If they were on a draw why call the Turn raise? Surely that’s not a +EV call.

I did think on reviewing this hand that one of my mistakes was not keeping track of my opponent’s stack size. If I’d been properly mindful of that, then (with the sizings as-played) , what should I have done on the Turn? Give up? Raise bigger so that they’re all in to call? Just call so that the sizing for a river bluff is better?

Preflop, my goal was to get more chips in the pot with one of the best starting hands. I would have been happy for the third player to fold preflop so I had one opponent to beat. I thought a limper would likely fold after a raise and a 3-bet. This hand was played a few weeks ago, when I was opening and raising on the small side, before I started taking your advice to open bigger.

PUG #2

https://www.replaypoker.com/hand/replay/755923065

4-seat ring, 2k/4k.

AcTc in the SB seat. UTG/CO and Button fold to me, I open to 4BB, BB calls.

Flop 8s8dJc. I go for a half-pot continuation bet of 16k as a bluff. V calls. I feel like this is just a standard C-bet call, but quite possibly V has something here. I hope not.

Turn 6h, I fire a second barrel for half-pot. I’m screwing myself if V has an 8, and he would likely continue calling with a Jack, as well. If he has an 8 I’m not getting him to fold no matter what. V calls. D’oh.

River 8c. Three-of-a-kind 888s on the board, I feel reasonably assured that V did not have an 8 in their hand, because most of the 8s are out there on the board. I do have Ace kicker, which could conceivably be good here, but I’m really not confident in that to show it down by check-calling.

I could hope that A-high is good, but I’d rather not show down.

The only thing to do here is to either give up, or act like I had it all along, repping an 8 or a pocket pair, and lead out for a third barrel, and pray. These players have seen me miss and give up a lot of rivers though, so maybe this can be the one time when I don’t give up, and they’ll believe that I have something?

So I fire off for full-pot, and V folds. I take a pot of 127k. I don’t show.

I don’t know if he had a Jack and thought I really had quads, or if he just didn’t have anything, but called along expecting that I didn’t have anything either, and that I’d give up at some point. Maybe he had Q9 or T9, and was hoping to draw to a straight that didn’t get there. Also possible he had a sticky Ace and I got him to fold a chop.

PUG #3

I lost the link to this one, unfortunately, but on the bright side I took more detailed notes on it while I had it.

6-seat ring, 2k/4k, 1 empty chair to the dealer’s left. I’m in the HJ seat holding QdTs, and open to 9k, 2.5BB. Button calls, SB, BB call, so we’re 4-ways to see a flop.

Flop is Ks8sTd, giving me middle pair, backdoor flush possibilities. The SB leads out for pot, 36k. BB folds, and I call, Button folds.

I feel like such a big open from the SB is polarizing, but probably indicates a very strong hand, but it might also indicate a hand they want to protect and the bet could be indicating that they fear their hand is vulnerable.

Turn is the 6s, and I have a live draw to a flush. I only have the Ts, so the AQJs are all out there, potentially beating me. V puts in a smallish bet of 25k into the pot of 107k. I read this as they are less confident in their hand strength than they were a street ago, and it’s due either to the fact that I called, or due to the texture of the board starting to flush spades. This leads me to think that if I fill on the river, the Ts is probably good, and I’ll be raising if he bets again. I’ll also go for a big raise if a Ten comes on the river.

River card is the 9c. I’m looking at 2nd pair, Tens, but the board texture still has flush and now straight potential. I’m semi-blocking a little bit, in that I have one of the higher spades, and one of the Queens to block the 9-K straight, but the more obvious straight fill is 6-T. V puts in a bet of 43k into 156k. This looks like a pretty good value bet. I don’t know that a Ten is good here, but I don’t think it’s so bad that it should fold to a 1/3 pot bet on the river. But with this board, I don’t feel very secure showing down with a pair of Tens.

I decide that V’s betting action shows that they weren’t going for a draw hand that filled here, so hoping that they just have a one-pair hand, but worried it might be top pair, I decide to raise here, and see if I can get them to fold it. I throw in for 165k, I want them to think I filled a straight on the river, or maybe slow-played a flush filled on the Turn.

V doesn’t think about it too long before they fold. I show the bluff again this time, and after doing so V tells me it was a good play, I got them to fold two pair. They don’t say what two pair they had, though. I’d guess T8 or maybe K8 since they put out a pot-size bet on the flop. I think my willingness to call the big bet on the flop probably helped sell the raise on the river, and I could have filled a flush or straight draw on the turn or river with hands like QJ, 97, J7, or any random 7 by the river. Good players fold spots like that when they get raised on a board that’s this wet, but bad players seldom do. Fortunately, this opponent was a good player.

Pre-flop:
I’m generally going to raise to 3.5 big blinds here, but think 4 big blinds might be even better. 10 points

Flop: 8s8dJc
Many like bluffing on a paired flop, and firing a continuation bet here is probably a money winner, as there are fewer hands the defender will want to continue with. For that very reason, if I have value, I’ll usually bet smaller here, as I want a few more calls, and if I’m bluffing, I’ll get folds with a smaller bet. So I generally would bet smaller than your half pot bet here. But I think the half pot bet is still a profitable play. I’m also happy with checking here, as I’ll take more defensive lines OOP, and the hand is ahead of most of the opponent’s range, and this hand would usually function as a check-call. 7 points.

Turn: 8s8dJc6h
Doesn’t change much. 97 picked up some equity, but that’s not a really big part of the opponent’s range, and you are still ahead of it. 66 is in your opponent’s range, but it’s a very small part of a fairly big range still. You may still be ahead, and since your hand has quite a bit of showdown value, I’m generally checking at this point, especially with a smaller bet on the flop. But overall not much has changed, and I think aggressive lines are still viable. If I do keep firing blanks, I’m typically sizing up a little here, and betting more than half pot. 6 points

River: 8s8dJc6h8c
You’re now less like to be against an 8 with the third 8 hitting the board, though your opponent probably has a lot of 8x hands in range, and so an 8 is a real possibility. Many jacks make sense here, also. Having called the flop and the turn, with few draws other than T9, I think an 8 or a jack makes up a decent chunk of your opponent’s range. You’ll have some opponents that will be very prone to call with thin draws, and even float with nothing, hoping to fire a bluff on a later street… but you are ahead of all of these hands, and don’t need to bet to claim the pot if that is the case. So what hands are better than yours that might still be around to fold to a bluff? I’d say a few combos of AK and AQ, many jacks, and some pocket pairs. I think jacks make up a sufficiently large part of your opponent’s range that they are the natural target for a bluff here, and I’m not sure if a pot sized bet gets folds from jacks at a high enough frequency. Kickers no longer matter, so even with J9 or JT, your opponent doesn’t need to worry about being up against AJ and being out kicked. I think you can consider making an even larger bluff that you can balance with when you have quads, but mostly I just check here, and then make a tough call/fold decision if your opponent bets small. 4 points

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I doubt a Jack folds here, too, so it’s more likely I got him off an Ace or maybe one of the lower pairs. Or conceivably he had a draw like T9, 97 and the bluff wasn’t needed, as I’m winning with A-high, other than that it blocks him from trying to bluff the river on his action and putting me in a difficult spot.

PUG #4

https://www.replaypoker.com/hand/replay/761991705

4-seat ring, 2k/4k. At the table is a player ranked in the low 500s, and are two lower-ranked, but still respectably-ranked players in the 1000-2000 range. Before sitting I observe that the best-ranked player likes to open, while the other to like to limp-fold to the top-ranked players raises.

I sit in, and the 7th hand dealt to me is AQo in the SB, AcQh. It limps around to me this time, and I open to 4BB (16k). The BB and CO fold, button (the top ranked player at the table) calls.

Flop: Jd9h7h. I lead out a c-bet of a little over half-pot, and get called.

Turn: 5d. I check, V checks back.

River: Th. I bet pot, hoping to rep a draw that came in on the river; hearts flush and J-7 straight are both possible with this board, or even 8-Q. V folds. I don’t show the hand.

Wet boards can be great spots to bluff, especially when some draws come in on the river, but only of course if your opponent isn’t holding the hand you’re representing.

What hands do you think V could have held here to take this line?

I’d note that on the turn, V didn’t check back, but bet half pot. So it was check, bet, call on the turn. I think you probably have a fold on the turn.

Wet boards can be great bluffs… so your river bluff will certainly get some folds. But by the same token, that the board is wet means that there are a lot of hands with a made straight or a flush that will feel compelled to call against anyone that they feel is not value heavy with their bets.

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Correct, I don’t know why I didn’t have the Turn play correct un my write up.

Of course it’s a risk to bet into a wet board with nothing, if your opponent is holding the hand your trying to represent.

How did you read V’s line in the hand? What would you have thought he could be holding before the river card came?

Pre-flop limp as button and calls raise: mostly capped range, with reduced combos of all higher broadway and pocket pairs. Many small pairs and suited, connected cards.

Flop call of 60% pot bet on pot of Jd9h7h: KJ, QJ, JT, T9, 99, 88, 77, 87 and many flush draws. I’d think T8 would mostly raise here, but I think there are still some combos of the nut straight, also. There are probably also a few combos of hands that make no sense.

Turn of 5d bet after your check: almost every hand previously listed on flop is still in range.

River: you’re still facing the same range, as you are betting before V has taken any additional actions.

Hand #766106399 · Replay Poker I hade 6c8d …was a 4max tournament and i was in top 5. A stupid bluff or a good one? Surely not a edgy one.

Thanks for sharing :slight_smile:

I don’t know if it’s a good bluff or not, but with three spades on the board and a pair of 99s, you’d need a pretty strong hand to call an opponent who bets turn and river, especially when they have you covered and the last bet is for half your remaining chips.

https://www.replaypoker.com/hand/replay/748110725
one of the last hands i played on replay poker before moving to another platform, it was on the replay team championship and i had KJ CO(my low open range here is KTo but with a competent player in the blinds i would have folded KTo)
On what I would have liked to rectify with hindsight on the new things I learned I would have liked to check on the flop without the backdoor flush but c-bet is good too and on the queen I should have made 2/3 pot instead of 1/2.
River without developing I love my check and I like the raise but I don’t like my sizing at all I did too much

@MADHOF I like your use of the clock in that hand to make it appear that you’re trapping. Well done.

Here’s my next bluff review:

PUG #5

https://www.replaypoker.com/hand/replay/761962577

1k/2k 4-seat ring, I’m heads-up with the only other player at the table. I have some history with this player, they can be tough and unpredictable.

I’m in the off-button seat with Kh4c, and V opens the button to 3BB. I call.

Flop QhQsQd. I assume V doesn’t have a Queen, since there’s only one more left in the deck. If so, then unless V holds an Ace, or a pair, K-high could be good here. I’m more betting that V has nothing than that I have the best hand, though. I donk into him for 6k, V calls.

Turn 3s. I’m not worried about a 3 changing the hand. I lead again, for half-pot again, 12k, and V calls.

River 2c. Again, a pretty safe card for me. I’m holding a fictitious hand I’ll call “Queens full of a 3-card straight”, and bet again for half-pot. This time V folds.

wew I would not have tried this one :grinning_face_with_smiling_eyes:

Hand #767058753 · Replay Poker had not many reads about the player but expected that he would lay down top pair in this spot

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That’s normally an example of a hand you don’t want to be bluffing with. Your larger, polarizing bets should normally be strongest in range and weakest in range, and KQ feels somewhere in the middle of your range on the turn, and is still ahead of all of the natural bluffs in your range on the river. Basically, weaker hands benefit more from bluffing, while with a hand like this, you are throwing away all of the hand’s equity taking a line like this. There are spots where a bluff catcher like you had can be turned into a bluff, but if you make moves like this very often, I’d guess you’re probably a bit too bluff heavy.

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@Yorunoame if you’re referring to the K4 on a QQQ flop hand, you’ll have to explain to me what you mean by throwing away equity. Should I have check-called instead?

An unpaired King kicker to the board is vulnerable only to pairs, Aces, and the final Queen, so it does have some equity. Does that make betting K-high on a board like this a semi-bluff? I’m basically targeting value from any hand less than K-high, an hoping I can get an unpaired Ace to fold. I’m also trying to use aggression to prevent my opponent from betting me off the hand.

I trust you know much more about technical way of strategy in poker but really do not understand why my range of bluffs should be stronger or weaker than that in this spot. I cant win that hand on showdown so I didnt need to have equity at the river I just wanted to present that I have the flush by checkraise on the turn which is pretty standard of playing flushes in tournament especially I was on small blind had good pot odds so I probably have in my range many of suited hands and the way he played the hand I was pretty sure he had TP and no i dont make those moves very often because I mix my game and play my hands in different ways depending on my table image

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