Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Bluffs Need to Tell a Believable Story

I played 4 hours of $2/$3/$5 NL at the Oaks last night and my results came down to three bluffs.

In the first bluff I limped in for $5 with 76 of spades, one player raised to $20 and we took the flop 4 way. The flop came down K 9 5 with two hearts giving me a gutshot straight draw. The action checked around to the button who bet $25 and after a player in the big blind called I decided to call as well.

The turn paired the 5 and I decided to take a shot at it. The bet of $25 on the flop from the button felt really weak to me which was a big reason I called on the flop. It seemed like "well, everyone checked to me so I guess I'll bet." A real hand would have bet $50-$75 on the flop.

After a check from the big blind I bet out $100. That's about how much I'd bet if I had a 5 and since I in fact had 76 I could just as easily had 65 (or A5). To my surprise I got called by the button. At that point I figured I was up against a king or a flush draw. Happily an off suit A came on the river, I bet out $150 and won the pot. Hooray!

On the second instance I had A6 of hearts and found another spot to take a shot at winning the pot without the best hand. In this instance the flop had come down Q 8 6 with two spades and one club and the villain had bet $30 into a $75 pot. I called, the turn came out the 3 of clubs and the villain bet $40. Betting $30 into $75 is kind of weak. Betting $40 into $135 felt even weaker. The villain only had about $160 behind so I trusted my read and moved all in, figuring it made sense to risk $200 to win $175 when I read my opponent as weak.

Normally, call the flop, raise the turn is a line that screams big hand (at least two pair). But I made a big mistake here and I realized it about 5 seconds after I moved in while the villain was thinking. The mistake was this was a very draw heavy board with two flush draws and lots of potential straight draws. I could easily be on a semi bluff. Also there weren't any solid two pair combinations. The 3 was a brick. I was really trying to represent a set and it couldn't be QQ since I was not a preflop raiser. Another problem is my opponent was a thinker. He's not a great player, but he could make a read and trust it. He called me with A8! Gah! I knew he was weak! I'm sure he thought with an 8 in his hand 88 was an unlikely hand for me and I would have folded 33 on the flop. That only leaves 66 or a semi bluff in my range with the latter being much more likely.

A little later I had this last hand top of mind when I made another bluff. I've forgotten what I had, but I know it was total air. The flop came down 8 7 3 with two clubs, it got checked to me on the button and I bet out $60 into an $80 pot. I should mention that I'd bet maybe 6 or 7 flops by that point and only gotten called once. I was getting a ton of respect from a rather weak table. I got one caller and the turn was a ten of clubs completing the flush draw. It got checked to me and I wasn't really sure what to do so I stalled a bit and made it look like I was thinking about betting, but then checked. I probably should have fired again, but I talked myself out of it.

The river paired the 7. My opponent checked and I quickly fired $150 into the pot. This line told a believable story. That story was "I flopped a 7 and bet it on the flop because I was last to act, but then checked because of the over card and the flush coming in, but now I have trips so here's a big fat $150 in your face!" My opponent said nice hand, and folded.

The rest of the night was very slow. I was never up or down more than $200 and booked a $51 win on the night.

I'm back in action Friday.

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