Monday, November 05, 2007

To Bluff or Not To Bluff

I had one hand over the weekend that would be alot of fun to simulate over and over again just to see all the possible outcomes based on the size of my river bet.

It was pretty simple. I was on the button and had the ace of hearts. There were 3 hearts on the board before the river. One guy bet. Three people called in front of me. I called too knowing that if a 4th heart comes out I could win a nice pot.

A 4th heart did not come out and I was done with the hand.

However when it came time for the river betting, the guy in the blinds was confused and turned over his hand to reveal the 4 and 7 of hearts for a 7 high flush.

The dealer went around the table to see if anyone still desired to bet.

Everyone saw the flush and folded until the action got around to me.

Now here's the big moment. I can clearly see he has a 7 high flush.

If I bet here I am saying that a 7 high flush doesn't worry me.

Or I am bluffing and can only win this hand by betting and getting him to fold.

Either way....What is the correct amount to bet?

Lets say we each have 500 in front of us and there is 100 in the middle.

This is the scenario I'd love to run over and over.

If I push all in does that make this an easy fold? Probably. Then again it also smells like a bluff. After all if I could beat a 7 high flush wouldn't I bet smaller to get him to call?

So how much would I really bet if I did have a higher flush and I wanted him to call?

A pot sized bet like 100?

Perhaps something smaller like 60 or 75 if I really want to get paid?

And if he is a good player perhaps he recognizes that the smaller bet is begging to be called.

Like against some players a 60 dollar bet might get them to fold their 7 high flush more often than a 100 dollar bet. The larger bet often looks like a bluff.

I am usually able to take down pots with smallish bets. It's the big bets that make people suspicious.

There is no right or wrong answer. As usual it depends on who you are playing against. And in reality I didn't know this other player well enough to bluff here. I wasn't sure what he would lay down to.

Some guys refuse to fold their 7 high flush. Other guys will muck a picture high flush to a reraise.

In this case since he didn't lead out with a bet on the river there was a decent chance he folds if I make the big bet. Obviously he didn't feel too strongly about his holdings.


KajaPoker said...

This may be one of the coolest hands I have ever read/heard about. What was your bet in the end?

WillyR said...

Why didn't you finish telling us what happened with the hand? What are you on strike too?

Tim Cobb said...

Do you guys not read?

"And in reality I didn't know this other player well enough to bluff here. I wasn't sure what he would lay down to."

He clearly folded.

ckbluffer said...

Interesting hand Robert.

Did he look incredibly embarrassed when he exposed his cards?

You mentioned that you didn't know him well enough to know if he would lay down the hand.

But if the guy looked embarrassed or uneasy, my guess is that he might be even more embarrassed to make a river call, knowing that you know what he has and are still willing to make that bet. (I have flashbacks of Hellmuth on HSP saying something along the lines of, "This is either going to be a monster call, or I am going to look like a complete idiot." Same with Kenny Tran during WSOP coverage.) Nobody wants to look like an idiot. And if the guy already felt foolish . . . he might not want to compound that.

I would probably go for a bet around 2/3 the size of the pot. It's not too big to make him think that you are just pushing him off (particularly assuming that you both have about $500 behind), but it's enough that it's not an insta-call with a 7-high flush. And your prior actions wouldn't necessarily lead him to believe that you had nothing going into the river. A higher made flush would probably smooth call the turn bet with all of the other players coming along for the ride, so it's not an inconsistent story that you'd be telling.

PJS JR. said...

I miss the days of this blog that talk more about hands that happen over the course of a night. Now, we hear about 1. I loved reading about your minute-by-minute discussion of hands, a lot like the discussion of the WSOP qualifier tourney. Still love your blog though. Good luck at the tables. Ryan

Check Raise Chin said...

Tough one Rob.

I would think he would call a small bet. I think a nice strong value bet would be the best choice. Maybe at least a pot sized bet if you wanted to bluff at it. Say you bet $150 bucks. That's a nice strong bet. He'd have to think about it. A 50-75 bet I'd think he'd have to call just to see. That's my's hard to if you don't know the tendencies of the other player.