Jan 6 2010

When Bluffing Makes No Sense

written by: John under Poker Strategy Comments: 2

Bluffs are a major part of poker, but there are plenty of situations where a bluff makes absolutely no sense. Some players get overwhelmed with a hand and make desperate bluffs in an attempt to escape a hand they probably wish they were never involved in.

A lot of times a poor bluff post flop is set up by a bad play pre flop. Pre flop play is the foundation for anything that happens post flop. If you play well pre flop there is an increased chance that you will be able to avoid making a weak post flop bluff at all. If you aren’t put in a tough spot you won’t have the opportunity to make a bad decision. The reality is, however, that you will inevitably end up in some tough spots one way or another. It is usually pretty easy to identify a bad move after the fact, but it only matters if you are able to put the brakes on a bad bluff before it happens.

No-Limit Hold’em, $0.50 BB (6-Max) @ Poker Stars

Hero (Button) ($42.29)

SB ($65.35)

BB ($49.75)

UTG ($69.70)

MP ($49.09)

CO ($52.87)

Preflop: Hero is Button with 9d, 6c

UTG calls $0.50, MP calls $0.50, CO calls $0.50, Hero bets $4, SB calls $3.75, 3 folds, CO calls $3.50

Pre flop we are dealt trash, 9 6 off suit. This hand has no value in almost any situation, let alone a spot where three players limp ahead of us. The play here should definitely be to fold. Instead we elect to make an 8x big blind raise and get called by a few players. The pot is now about 27 big blinds in size as we go to the flop.

Flop: ($13.50) 4s, Qs, 3c (3 players)

SB bets $6.75, CO calls $6.75, Hero raises to $38.29 (All-In), SB calls $31.54, CO calls $31.54

The flop misses us, as it almost always will when we have a hand like 9 6 off suit. The small blind leads out for half pot, and the cutoff calls. Now we really need to fold, our hand has no legitimate potential and we are in no position to try and bluff our way to victory. Instead we go for a shove over the lead bet and call. Both players make the call of our shove and we are really stuck. This play was bad because we had no fold equity and there was no way we were ahead. You need to have one of these two things in order for this type of play to make sense. Maybe, and it’s a big maybe, but maybe if all three players had a $100 stack it would be OK to make a big raise on the flop. As it is, however, the stacks are too small for our raise to be effective.

Turn: ($128.37) 2h (3 players, 1 all-in)

SB checks, CO raises to $10.58 (All-In), SB calls $10.58

River: ($149.53) As (3 players, 2 all-in)

Total pot: $149.53 | Rake: $3.50


Hero had 9d, 6c (high card, Ace).

SB had 7h, 7d (one pair, sevens).

CO had Qc, Ac (two pair, Aces and Queens).

Outcome: CO won $292.06

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