May 20 2010

Small Time Bluff Catchers (That Work)

written by: John under Poker Strategy Comments: Comments Off

Generally speaking, a bluff catcher references a hand that can only beat a complete bluff. Beyond this, bluff catchers are typically mentioned in reference to a situation where a call is seldom going to find a bluff. Sometimes, however, bluff catchers make perfect sense. Making huge calls with bluff catchers, on a regular basis, is not a winning strategy. If, however, you can find occasional spots where you can pick up a small pot with a bluff catcher, your options should be considered. Picking off a bluff comes down to a player’s ability to put their opponent on a defined range. Now, this is much easier said than done. If you have someone on a certain hand or range of hands, you should also know why.

The logic behind a decision is often more important than the decision itself. You can make a sound decision and be completely incorrect, it is going to happen. You can also make poor decisions and win a pot, but it doesn’t mean you played a hand correctly. Results oriented players have both positive and negative side effects. One on hand, a results oriented player is able to determine which plays are winning and which plays are losing. On the other hand, however, they are also likely to incorrectly determine why they won, or even if they should have won. In the end, there is no substitute for lucid thinking in poker.

PokerStars No-Limit Hold’em, $0.50 BB (5 handed) – Poker-Stars Hand Converter from

UTG ($76.90)

MP ($47.10)

Button ($52.30)

Hero (SB) ($52.35)

BB ($50)

Preflop: Hero is SB with 6s, Ad

3 folds, Hero bets $1.50, BB calls $1

Pre flop we are dealt A6 off suit. This is not a phenomenal hand by any means, but it is worth a raise in the small blind. After a 3x big blind raise, the big blind decides to make the call and see a flop. We are going to be out of position for the remainder of the hand.

Flop: ($3) 3s, 3h, 2c (2 players)

Hero checks, BB checks

The flop is monotonous and is likely to have missed our opponent’s hand as it did ours. A check/fold here is fine, as many small pocket pairs, draws, or even bigger aces are going to bet on this board. We check, but the BB also checks behind. At this point, the pot is still very small.

Turn: ($3) 4s (2 players)

Hero checks, BB bets $1.50, Hero calls $1.50

The turn is a 4, which gives us a gut shot straight draw. Aside from this, we are still working with two over cards. After our check, the big blind places a tiny 3x bb bet. This is a safe call, considering that we have plenty of outs if we happen to be behind. If the big blind made a bigger bet, this would be a clear fold.

River: ($6) 7h (2 players)

Hero checks, BB bets $3.50, Hero calls $3.50

The river puts one over to our hand on the board. We check again, and the big blind places yet another bet. At this point, the big blind is representing some type of pair. However, few pairs make sense in this spot. We elect to call knowing that a ton of bluffs are in the big blind’s range, and aren’t too surprised when we win with ace high.

Total pot: $13 | Rake: $0.60


Hero had 6s, Ad (one pair, threes).

BB had Kd, 9d (one pair, threes).

Outcome: Hero won $12.40

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