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What Can Happen When You Fail to Exploit a Semi-Bluff Opportunity


I'm sharing this mainly to show an example of what can happen when you misplay a hand by failing to exploit a semi-bluff opportunity. This was in the Las Vegas Main Event MTT in APT. My read on the SB was one that folds to aggression on the streets, which is why I called his 3-bet pre-flop. In addition to that I had him on a wide range as defending a blind. Where I got in trouble was on the flop when I should've raised him out of the hand but called instead. The Steve Stokely advisor preflop advised folding to the 3-bet but I disagree based on my reads. The advisor said to raise SB out of the hand on the flop. As it turns out, that would've been good advice. Comments welcome.

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  • think
    edited July 2017

    On the turn, after your raise, he has to call 27k for a shot at 82.5k.

    We know now that it was a 12-outer (gutshot + FD, subtract 1 for Th, which is in both categories).

    He's getting 3:1 and at least some implied odds. Just the 12-outer is 3:1 (~24%). And he's got to feel that a king-high flush would be good.


    Was 2.5x a big enough preflop raise from CO to get marginal hands to fold out? On KGB's Dungeon level, I'm usually doing 3.5x. But I can't claim to have solved that level, and I am still varying bet amounts to try to find/approximate trigger points. Anyway, he didn't fold K8s (hearts) and instead reraised ~3x your bet. This could mean a blind defense by him (i.e.: he's reading YOU as having a wide range).


    His 13.2k into 35k (?) flop bet is pretty low. It's a dynamic board (9h Js 3h). But, unless he's using "reverse-psychology," the thing he DOESN'T have is an overpair. A set might be slowplayed, and a draw is worth a stab to build the pot and possibly take it down (and, considering his reraise, I guess it could be a garden variety c-bet, anyway). But wouldn't he try to "protect" AJ, QQ, KK, AA, or maybe even KJ (kind of a light hand, but it was a "blind defense?"). So it's not so much about whether you have him beat but whether he has a hand worth defending. Raise looks like a good option.


    On the turn, he bets 23k into 59k. The turn is Qd, which is working for straight draws. Why is his bet sizing so low?

    And again, like I was pointing out at first, your raise here wouldn't drive him off of anything -- it only served to bloat the pot. We know now that your queens were good up to that point, but you probably figured that already.

    Then the nightmare card (Qh): your set made vs. a FD being made (if that's what he was working on). He bets, Correct me if I'm wrong, but this is a textbook "way ahead/way behind" situation, right? The crux of the "way ahead/way behind" idea is that if he's got you beaten, he'll call all the way to the end, and if not, he'll fold (but you would have won, anyway).

    He bets 34k into a huge pot (192k?). I think that screams "value bet." Your set is good as a bluff-catcher. Is he bluffing? Or did he hit, and is he just trying to squeeze out another 17 BB out of you?

    You raise 34k more (to 68k). This one is difficult. Are you value betting figuring your set is good?

    Stack sizes are big -- even at the end, he's still got 100k behind. So you and he both did not pursue the all-in move (and it was a tournament simulation), but the option to change the game by playing for stacks did exist at every street.

    I just think when you spike that overpair on the turn on a board that's draw-heavy but with an opponent who's not exactly saying, "I hit my draw," that's your moment to put his stack (or a majority of it) on the line. He's got to REALLY pay for that next card! I mean, straight and flush draws are NOT made yet (AQ or KT or a set have you beaten -- but would he really bet <50% flop AND turn with a made straight or set or even a TPTK made on the turn?).

    So, that's my two cents. Your blind steal amount was low, in my opinion. A raise may have been better on the flop. But I think the min-raise on turn was the big error.

    I am curious what Steve thinks here.

    P.S.: The format change in the middle of the text above is unintentional. I am not trying to put emphasis on that paragraph or anything.

  • pgearan

    @think said:

    I am curious what Steve thinks here.

    I will be too, but we may have to wait a bit as Steve is on a well-earned vacation this week. But I'll make.

    My two cents is very basically an agreement with think. On turn, I think you either need to flat call or raise much, much bigger (yes, probably a shove and you may have gotten called in this case). Give that your top pair, second kicker hand on turn has decent equity but is not a monster, and this is a tournament, not cash, I'd likely opt for calling.

    On the river, it does look like you're playing the absolute strength of your hand, trips, rather than how that plays against the SB's likely holdings and how those mesh with the board.

    So the question is: what calls you on the river that you beat? Given that you have one of the two remaining Qs it is unlikely that he has a weaker Q that he three-bet with preflop, and one of those possible hands given the action is QJ which beats you (Q9 also does, so that leaves Q10s as it is unlikely he is playing Q-8 or weaker). I guess AJ may pay your small value bet off, but I think KJ likely folds. He's folding out any complete bluffs and missed straight draws, or he shoves over the top representing the flush, straight or boat and then you are in a real bad position.

    So you are only getting potentially paid I think on your value bet by Q10 (which is a very unlikely holding) and maybe AJ (and you chop with a really, really unlikely KQ so you gain nothing there on your raise). I think every other holding beats you and many reraise you all in and have you beat.

    Tough one though when it looks like you got exactly what you wanted!

  • SteveBlay

    I just did a detailed analysis of this hand in the latest episode of the Steamin' Steve Hand Review.

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