POKER STARS $5/$10 NO LIMIT HOLDEM – 9 PLAYERS
Ace-jack suited is a quality hand, but re-raising against an early position raise in a full ring game would be foolhardy. The draw-heavy flop gives Dusty a double gutshot. It’s hard to say what the early position player’s small flop bet means, and raising is a viable option. Against this unknown, however, Dusty decides to just check and call. The plan is to either improve to the best hand or hit something to bluff at (like a flush-completing heart). Dusty can also bluff the river if his opponent checks the turn.
The 6♠ on the turn presents a second flush draw, which gives Dusty more fake outs to bluff at on the river. In addition to the heart and spade bluffing outs, an ace, king, or nine would also give him a strong hand. The early position player’s three-quarters pot bet on the turn is somewhat odd after the preflop min-raise and small flop bet. If he has a big hand, then Dusty may be able to win the guy’s whole stack if a king comes on the river.
Instead, the jack gives Dusty second pair, which is all but useless. It does complete some straight draws and the backdoor flush, however, so Dusty decides to make a substantially sized bluff. His opponent may fold a hand as strong as three queens on this awful river.
In Part 1 we dispelled the myth that you never act out of turn, but most of those examples were where you should donk bet for value. As this hand illustrates, it’s also a good line to use as a bluff. The board has become so ugly that you can’t rely on your opponent to bet for you anymore. And whenever you can lead out for value, you can represent the same hand with a bluff.