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Old Feb 20, 2006, 6:22pm   #1
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Default Chickened out on a bluff

Here's an interesting hand from a session I played last night. I'm at a longhanded $10 NL game, the table is half tight/aggressive, half loose/retarded.

A couple of the players are filling up the chat box talking about all the poker books they've read and how fast their bankrolls are rising. One of these players opens a pot up from early position with a raise of 4x the blind, and everyone folds to me on the button. I'm holding 7,9 offsuit. I know it's a garbage hand, but I'm kinda on tilt and I want to exploit this guy's tight image. I call it.

Flop comes K,4,K with 2 spades. The PF raiser makes a bet of $1.40, roughly 2x the pot size. I know he doesn't have a king so I reraise him $3. I figure there is no way for him to call this and I should take the pot down now, but he calls.

The turn is a 9. This gives me a pair but I don't give a crap because his hand is obviously better than mine. He raises $2. I still don't believe that he has a K, but I'm not sure what he is holding. Either he's made fours full, or he thinks I'm bluffing and wants me to get off the hand. I think about it for about 30 seconds and I reluctantly fold.

After the hand, he told me that he had QQ and my raise scared him, but he didn't believe me. He said if I pushed all-in on the turn he probably would have folded. I was kinda mad at myself for not going through with the bluff. Looking back on it, I think it was obvious that he had a tenuous hand and the board scared him.

I'm not sure what lesson to take from this. But I'm sure it is NOT "don't play 7,9." I could have won this pot if I stuck to my bluff. I chickened out. Maybe if I called his bet on the flop instead of reraising him, he'd have respected my play a little more, and a $3 bet on the turn would have done it...
Why the "it will take so long"-attitude? You'll be playing poker. I suppose you enjoy that, right?
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Old Feb 20, 2006, 6:30pm   #2
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I agree that you don't want to hear "don't play 79o" and I won't say that, I think what you did was brave, but as you say, you didn't go through with the bluff fully. If you're going to start a bluff, it must be finished off. A board like that is very nice to play a bluff with against the right people.

But there's 2 kinds of people to look out for - ones which are very good at reading and don't put you on the K, and ones which don't understand the board and get married to their JJ or TT which beats you. Unfortunately I play against the latter of those two sometimes and that's the exact part of my game I'm working on at the moment - going through with bluffs fully trying to give table image to show them to look at the board and put me on the nuts. It's hard!
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Old Feb 21, 2006, 11:13am   #3
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I agree, once you start a bluff, you need to carry it through. Even if you lose on that one and everyone sees your bluff, you can use it to your advantage the next time you get a monster as people will be more willing to call your big bets thinking you are a bluffer.

It's probably better to have your bluff busted and let people see it, than to simply back down as that does nothing for your table image and people will think you folded a marginal hand.

The main point from your story is the problem with playing low stakes tables. People don't care so much about $3 as they do about $300, so are more likely to call you down to the river if they have a marginal hand.

But at the end of the day, you did the right thing - you had a good read on his tight play, you had him down for a weaker hand than the board and you took control by betting out big. Next time, trust your instincts as they seem pretty good. And if you get caught bluffing just play your monsters in exactly the same way and you'll come out on top overall.

Winning at poker is about more than winning every hand.
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Old Feb 21, 2006, 4:56pm   #4
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Unless you see his cards I wouldn't put too much credence in his claim to have QQ.
Exnay on the slow play
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Old Feb 22, 2006, 9:47pm   #5
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I think the key to successful bluffing is setting up the bluff to make it believable. I wouldn't have believed your bluff either, I don't think. I think you are right that the better play would've been to call his bet on the flop, and reraise big on the turn. Hell, on the turn you might even have the best hand, but now you are playing the hand as if you have the king. Your immediate raise on a paired board looks more like a flush draw or a pocket pair at best. SOOOOOOO many people bluff at paired boards though, it kinda makes me a skeptic. The only way you will get away with this play IMO (if you are playing with the same players for a long session) is if they have seen you bet/raise on the flop with a big hand like trips or a made straight or flush. If you are playing your monster hands aggressively too, you may get away with the bluff raise on the flop. I don't necessarily agree that you should always follow through on the bluff though, it might've worked this time, but not always. See the following:

0/0 Texas Hold'em Game Table (NL) - Wed Feb 22 14:33:18 EST 2006
Table Milagro (Real Money) -- Seat 4 is the button
Total number of players : 5
Seat 1: ME ( $25.65)
Seat 2: painterwife ( $32.43)
Seat 3: donothing111 ( $8.10)
Seat 4: tigers423 ( $15.30)
Seat 6: cagey4 ( $17.3
cagey4 posts small blind (0.10)
ME posts big blind (0.25)
** Dealing down cards **
Dealt to ME [ As, Ah ]
painterwife calls (0.25)
donothing111 folds.
tigers423 calls (0.25)
cagey4 calls (0.15)
ME raises (1.25) to 1.50
painterwife calls (1.25)
tigers423 folds.
cagey4 calls (1.25)
** Dealing Flop ** : [ 9s, Qh, Qc ]
cagey4 bets (4)
ME calls (4)
painterwife folds.
** Dealing Turn ** : [ 7h ]
cagey4 bets (11.8
cagey4 is all-In.
ME calls (11.8
** Dealing River ** : [ 8h ]
Creating Main Pot with $34.71 with cagey4
** Summary **
Main Pot: $34.71 | | Rake: $1.80
Board: [ 9s Qh Qc 7h 8h ]

ME balance $42.98, bet $17.38, collected $34.71, net +$17.33 [ As Ah ] [ two pairs, aces and queens -- As,Ah,Qh,Qc,9s ]
cagey4 balance $0, lost $17.38 [ Jh 8s ] [ two pairs, queens and eights -- Qh,Qc,Jh,8s,8h ]

Tried the big semi-bluff with only the inside straight draw!!! Not the same scenario, but following through with his bluff ended up costing him the rest of his stack. As I said, I am a skeptic when someone bets at a paired board and I have a good hand.
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