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Connectors river bluff


Multi-way pot with a few good outs -- bricked the turn and river but bluffed and took the pot anyway. What's the risk/reward on this, and should I have done it or steered clear?

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  • kgun78k

    Well, i find it interesting that TAG pro folded considering the action. He probably had a weak Ace or a missed flush draw. Bluffing the river was the only way to win that pot though, so good job.

    The basic rule of bluffing is that you want to bet the smallest amount that will get the job done and of course there are maths for this. Basic risk vs reward math: win % = risk/(risk+reward).

    Here you bet 43k into an 85k pot. So ~33% = 43/(43+85). What this means is that you have to win this bluff 1 out of 3 times to break even. So if you are winning it more than that, its a profitable move.

    If doing math at the table is not your strong suit then remember this when bet sizing:
    Half Pot = 33% Breakeven
    Full Pot = 50% Breakeven
    2/3 Pot = 40% Breakeven
    Then answer the question before you decide to bluff, will the villain fold over 1/3, 1/2, or 2/5 of the time here. If you can say yes with confidence then make the bluff.

  • think

    It's a game of limited information, so I can't say anything with confidence!

    The thing for me is that I've played your basic "family-style kitchen table poker" since an early age, but I am fairly new to learning aggressive poker. And the thing about bluffing and reacting to possible bluffs is, well, you may never know in a given instance if you made the right decision or not (not really referring to getting drawn out on, etc., but if the decision was +EV going in). Training against AI's is fine, and the live tournaments here are also helpful. And I'm not expecting a "foolproof recipe" or anything for bluffing/calling bluffs, but, outside of staring at the person across the felt from you and deciding, "this person's B.S.'ing me" (which I have done, and both done successfully and failed miserably at), I don't know how you try to get better at it. I mean, if you read Gus Hansen's "Every Hand Revealed," he'll refer to having a bit of a tell or a read on someone and MAYBE combining that with the history of the given hand and the idea that the opponent is likely to be being opportunistic at the moment. But it seems to at least originate at the level of intuition/instinct. I'm not scared to "exercise" this -- in real life, I would say that I have a decent ability to read people, but I'm not a "mind-reader." But I just don't want to blow through a bunch of buy-ins to just "maybe" figure out where I am really at (or that people are, in actuality bluffing less/more than I'd thought).

    This also gets back to Allen Blay's comment on another thread that risk/reward studies are much less relevant than the would otherwise be if nothing consequential is on the line for participants.

    "Harrington''s Law" is that even the most conservative player is bluffing 10% of the time. But that book (Harrington on Hold 'Em) was written for expert-to-pro level tournament play, and it was written ten years ago. At those 1/2 cash tables, I feel pretty certain that some people play it safe/scared and are never bluffing (or at least, never bluffing at a decent-sized pot), and some people generally just think poker is about throwing some chips in and watching people react (every now and then -- not on every hand) -- "any two will do." It is exciting to push someone out of a pot when they probably had the best of it.

    I am currently in the middle of "The Theory of Poker," and Sklansky goes into bluffing and semi-bluffing a fair bit.

    Is anyone here generally beating live 1/2 NLHE? How much bluffing/calling bluffs are you doing? Or are you playing mostly tight aggressive poker and just stealing a couple of pots here and there?

  • kgun78k

    LOL, so true re: incomplete information.

    I am averaging $13/hr at 1/2 and $24/hr at 1/3 NLHE Live - currently. Not sure how good/bad that is tbh, I am a rec player that plays 10-12 hours per week so I am not unhappy with those results. 1/3 just opened at my casino, so not sure if I can sustain that. I was sustaining an avg of $18/hr at 1/2 until variance starting getting the best of me. Getting it in with top set on the flop and having runner runner come multiple times in a night kinda thing for months. The rake is strong at my casino, $7 comes out of every from $50+ pot.

    My current style is heavily inspired from Little's, Hull's, and Miller's books. APT fixed my leaks and improved my game for sure, but to take it even further I had to use other resources. I always come back to APT when I feel that I might be playing poorly or after taking a break from Live games.

    I am not playing what I would call TAG poker to beat the 1/2 or 1/3. I describe it as Solid Aggressive. I try to establish a TAG image, when in reality I am not as my range is wider than a TAG's standard range and I 3 bet much lighter than a TAG would. This allows me to make plays post flop. Basically I play a normal range in early position, wider opening range in middle, increased calling/3 betting range in late position and 3-bet in the blinds to take control.

    I never open limp, I always open for the same amount, even if its AA UTG. (SPR matters here to understand how your holdings play post flop) I rarely call a limp, if I am going to play I will raise based on the amount of limpers, and I prefer to be the last aggressor pre-flop.

    Opening for $7 for 1/2 ($10 for 1/3) invites a lot of players into the pot with weak holdings, which I can exploit post flop. This allows me to open up my options (bluffing) post flop as I have already reduced risk relative to my stack. It also allows me to fire one or two bullets, get the same effect for a lower cost. Instead of opening for 12 and having to fold for a 36 3 bet, or having to fire 30+ into a 3-4 player flop to continue. I can also call 3 bets back at me, as those are usually for 20-21, then get creative if i wish post flop.

    I do incorporate bluffs into my game, but I tend to wait until I believe I have established my image. Some of the bluffs I use are to bet heavy on drawing boards, by betting big to make it look like I am protecting a big made hand when I do not (bluffing here) about 20% of the time. I will semi-bluff on the flop and turn when I have 8 out or more most of the time, against the right players on the flop and turn. Some would argue this is not bluffing - but correct play instead.

    I also disguise my hands - a lot. 3 betting pre-flop then continuing with aggression. I "donk" bet with a monster on a wet board, to make folks believe I am rep'ing a marginal hand to entice them to call when they are way behind.

    I mostly bet for value on the river, but I will fire at pots where the only play to win is to bet boards where my story would make sense - like the hand you posted.

    Couple of other things. Always remember how you got into a hand. Especially If you limped into a pot, paid the $1 discount, or checked your option. I can't tell you how many times I used to lose a big pot to a limped pot. I've plugged this leak, but I see a ton of other low stakes players make this mistake. Also, be careful not to make Hesp bets where you will only get called by better. Saving money is as good as making money.

    ...hopefully this helps

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