Bluffing the Continuation Bet – Part 2
Bluffing the Continuation Bet – Part 2
In the part one, we began to look at the valuable move of playing back at a continuation bettor. We have looked at how best to bluff, at the best type of flops to choose, and will now look at the right type of bluffing hands to play with:
It is the late stages of a poker tournament, you have the biggest stack at the table, and are looking to put other players under pressure. A mid position player raises, and bets 4,000 on a flop. This leaves him with 12,000 behind, and the pot stands at 9,000. You have a marginal hand, and are planning to pull the all-in move to put your opponent to a decision. What type of marginal hand would you like to have?
Let’s have at a list of contenders, to consider what factors come into play. The hands are in ranking order of value now.
for a small pocket pair.
for bottom pair.
for a straight draw.
The crucial thinking behind the decision is that of course our two cards only matter if we are called. It would be safe to assume that all of these hands will probably be behind our opponent if our move is called.
Our opponent will probably call with a set, an overpair to the ten, a top pair hand like , and some of the time with a medium pocket pair. Therefore, it is not the hand value now that matters, rather our chance of outdrawing these made hands. I will put forward some interesting arguments:
- , the best hand now, is the worst to make the move with. , the worst hand now, is the best to make the move with.
We are assuming that our opponent will rarely make a hero call with a hand like that is actually losing to . If our opponent is calling only with a hand that can beat a pair of fours, then only has two outs to win, making it the least favorable, and is the most favorable with 8 outs.
- high is a better hand to make the move with than high.
This draws on a crucial piece of theory, namely that you want to make a move with cards that are not likely to be in your opponent’s calling range. One of the most likely hands here for our opponent to be playing and to call us with is , but with he would not be in the pot. If we are called by this top pair hand, we therefore have three more outs with than we do with .
- high is strangely a better hand than the bottom pair.
This relies on the assumption that we are not going to get called by a hand that cannot beat . If this is true, high will probably enjoy a full six outs; will have only five, or in the nasty scenario that our opponent has , will have only two.
If you look back at the hands in rank order, I would even go as far to say that the order of hands with which to make the move is the exact reverse order.
Our conclusion is that, if we are choosing a marginal hand to move with, the hand we want is two cards higher than the board which are unlikely to be in our opponent’s hand.
What is the right type of opponent to choose?
We have looked at the right type of flop, the right type of hand, and the right way to bluff, but what is the best type of opponent against whom to pull this move? Let’s build up a list of criteria:
– A player who you have seen to be aggressive, and to make a continuation bet on many flops. This means that the range of hands you are taking on is much wider, and therefore on average the hand weaker.
– A player who does not get attached to a hand, and so would for example pass middle pair to a check raise.
– A thinking player who will ‘understand’ the strength behind a check
Of course, we need our opponent to not be able to think too much. The best players, particularly in the big online poker cash games, will be able to read the check raise as being a possible bluff, and will themselves counter against this counter move. Some of the most aggressive best players will happily put in a third raise with absolutely nothing to stamp out bluffs from the check-raiser.
These type of tricky players will be aware of the move most on the driest flops. Flops like and will ring warning bells that the check-raise bluff may be looming. To get round this, make the move instead on flops of a medium texture, such as or . Now your move will be read as genuine, and it will be very difficult for your opponent to call with anything less than top pair.
See you at the tables – TrickyRock