Hand No. 17 with Dusty Schmidt

POKER STARS $3/$6 NO LIMIT HOLDEM $1.20 ANTE – 4 PLAYERS

Playing with 250 blind stacks, Dusty has a lot of options for making the 3-bettor’s life difficult. With such deep stacks, he could 4-bet often and still not give the small blind good odds to shove over the top. With position, he can call, raise a lot of flops, float others, and exert a lot of pressure on his opponent. Everything but the nuts tend to shrink up when you’re playing big pots deep stacked and out of position, particularly against good, aggressive players.

With hands like ace-five offsuit, Dusty would be inclined to 4-bet before the flop. Holding an ace makes his opponent half as likely to hold pocket aces and 25% less likely to hold ace-king or ace-queen, meaning Dusty’s that much more likely to win immediately. It also plays terribly for a call, so it’s in raise or fold territory. QT♠ , on the other hand, is a good hand to see a flop in position. Dusty calls.

After flopping a flush draw, raising is an option. The drawback is that hands like pocket aces through queens can happily commit on this flop since there are so many flush and straight draws that they can get it in against. Big overpairs only lose to sets, and sets are hard to flop. Calling the flop and raising the turn will often look stronger than raising right away, so that’s what Dusty does.

The turn K♣ is a mixed bag. It hits the small blind’s range – especially ace-king, which may or may not fold to pressure with these deep stacks. On the other hand, it’s such a good bluffing card that the small blind will likely bet all of his weak hands. Dusty’s flop call looks a lot like a medium pair, so the small blind will bet his strong hands as well. Overall, raising this turn will show a huge profit, since all of the bluffs and many of the weaker value hands will fold. The draw in spades subsidizes the bluff, meaning it doesn’t even have to work that often. Dusty’s not thrilled that the small blind calls the turn, but there’s another chance to bluff on the river.

Let’s look at the small blind’s turn call. If he held a very strong hand, it’s likely that he would have just re-raised all in on the turn. When he calls, it’s much more likely that he has some hand like tens through queens, or ace-king. He’s probably thinking, “What the hell is this stupid little raise? Folding ace-king here is too weak. Hopefully he’ll give up on the river.”

What the small blind is not thinking here is, “I hope he bets the river. I can’t wait to snap off a bluff!” It doesn’t appear that his plan is to call down. It doesn’t seem likely that he wants Dusty to bet. This brings up an important point.

When your opponent doesn’t want you to do something, it’s usually a good idea to go ahead and do it. So think about what you’d hate to see if you were in your opponent’s shoes, then show it to him. Odds are you’re going to have them clicking the time bank. Sometimes they’ll call and sometimes they’ll fold. But once they click the time bank, you’ve done your job. Most of your bluffs only have to work somewhere between 33% and 50% of the time. From experience, we’ve seen that people fold more often than not once they really start to think about things. Hero calls happen, but they’re called “hero” calls for a reason. How many people try to be a hero in real life? It’s not so much more common at the poker table.

A half pot river bluff needs to work 33% of the time

A full pot river bluff needs to work 50% of the time

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