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failed semi-bluff

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  • failed semi-bluff

    this guy was clearly a calling station, not sure if i should have kept betting or what i could have done differently... this actually happens to me a lot at my home game. at home i have a wild image (on purpose). one time i was playing $0.50/$1.00 NLHE short handed with four players. i was on the button with AJo and the guy UTG (Jr.) called. Jr. is a gambler, frequently chasing draws and he gets a lot of two pair hands. i raised to $3.00 and the blinds folded. Jr. said "who raised? oh it was James, well in that case i call!" the flop came K Q Ragg rainbow, and Jr. checked. i raised 2/3 of the pot and Jr. smiled and flung in the call, like a bunch of Frisbee's. the turn was a 7 or something ragged like that and suited one of the boards face cards. Jr. checked and i raised 3/4 the pot. Jr. called in the same fashion as before. then the river came with an off suit 6 and Jr. came in swinging with a 1/2 pot bet! this was only the second 3h session i had played with him and thought he was a pretty good player, as his roommate who is a friend of mine warned me that he has unbelievable luck (which obviously i did not credit to luck). i figured he had been slow playing top pair, because he knew i would raise with any two cards, so i gave him credit for having a good hand that he would not lay down, so i folded my busted gut shot. well he showed his hand, and it was miserable. 6 3o. he hit bottom pair on the river and bet back into me even though i had been betting all the way. i find myself giveing up on the river alot only to find that my opponents hand was pretty misserable. but becase of my wild image, should i just quit after the flop and get a free card, or keep bareling and bet on the river... any ways heres the hand in question, and i would love a review of the one above as well if its not too much trouble...
    Sorry, this hand was deleted by its owner
    Last edited by Rock230; Thu Mar 28, 2013, 12:26 AM. Reason: add hand repayer

  • #2
    Hi Rock,

    Thanks for using the hand replayer this time.
    With 85s on the button, you're basically trying to steal the blinds here. If the blinds are nits, that's fine, but if they are very loose and call in the blinds often, I'd prefer to have a big card in my hand, as making a pair of kings or queens would be good for a couple of value bets.
    Nevertheless, you flop a flush draw, so making a c-bet when villain checks to you is fine. When he calls the bet, though, I'm going to give him credit for a pair, as the only other draws are gutshots to the wheel, and maybe 65 for the OESD. If this guy is a calling station, then he's never folding a pair, and he'll probably call down with ace high sometimes.
    When you don't improve on the turn, I like checking behind and taking a free card. At 2NL, it's perfectly fine to be "one and done" with regard to c-bets, especially when you have 8-high in a pot against a passive player, as barrelling as a bluff will cost you a lot of chips. Focus on making hands and then getting value.

    The river isn't going to scare this villain if he has a T or any pocket pair, and if he's a station then he might have even made trips with A3, so giving up there and letting him have the pot is fine. If a Broadway card had come, you could bet it in order to get villain off a ten, but the 3 is a useless brick.

    Your live home game probably plays a bit like 2NL, but with more scope for bluffs and hero calls. Playing on Pokerstars, though, you just want to play straightforwardly. Bet when you have it, and fold when you don't. Don't get suckered into making "curiosity calls". When a villain bets or raises at 2NL, he usually has you beat.
    Bracelet Winner

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    • #3
      Hi Rock,

      First I would top off your stack so you're not playing short. If your intention is to play a short stack game then ok, but I'm not keen on opening the button with garbage playing short stacked.

      The only read you've provided is that the BB is a calling station, so I really don't like opening 85s. The primary value here comes from stealing, and the BB is a terrible steal target. Just fold all your low card hands and widen your value range. Short stacking you should be playing mostly big card hands anyway, stuff that makes a lot of decent 1 pair hands that you can commit on. No problem opening light from a steal position but not vs. a station.

      C-betting the flop here is marginal into 2 players, one of whom is a known station, but at least we're giving him a chance to fold stuff like J6 which is a complete whiff and is ahead as we only have 8 high. The turn we should be checking this back like 100% of the time imo... we only have 8 high and this guy is never folding. He's a station to begin with and he's called the flop which means he has something. Ace high, a pair, a draw... he's not going to fold any of that on this turn card so just take the free card and try to hit your flush. Since we know we're behind betting is basically just charging ourselves to draw. We make money off stations by value betting them to death, and never bluffing them. And another mistake they make is being too passive and giving free cards too much, so take them. To the title of this post, this is not a good semi-bluff because there is no "bluff" component against this villain. Hope that makes sense.

      Same thing on the home game hand, when jr. calls the flop it's ok to just check behind him on the turn. And if he bets the river we can actually call some of the time with AJ high as we'll beat all busted draws. Jr. is a huge fish, calling with no pair and no draw 2 streets, then betting bottom pair on the river when he finally makes showdown value vs. an aggressive LAG opponent (much better to check-call you on the river to let you bluff, his bet won't get you off too many better hands, folds out your worse hands and only gets called by better).

      I think the key problem you're expressing is the bluffing loose stations, that will continually fail. Value bet stations, when you miss and they don't go away, just give up. It's ok to give up, really. They will pay you 8 ways to Sunday when you have the best hand. How do you exploit a frequent bluffer? By taking more passive lines (to encourage more of their favorite mistake - bluffing too much) and calling them down light. This is exactly what the station does as his normal mode of operation, so when you bluff at them you are basically taking their favorite mistake and making it a more correct play.

      The home game AJ hand isn't quite clear in this way, as you can make a solid case the turn barrel is a thin value bet since this guy will call as weak as 6 high lol. But those murky waters aside, I hope the concept is clearer.
      Head Live Trainer
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      • #4
        thanks guys, this seals a big leak in my game. i actually didn't know the 2NL villain was a calling station until i played this hand with him, but i find these guys all the time. last night i played the way you guys recommended and took my short stack of $0.80 and walked out with $4.71. as for Jr... he has lots of money and i look forward to taking it lol, my wild image should help me use this advice to maximum value. much appreciated thanks again.

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