A Sick Bluff With Ace-King High

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Today we are going to review a hand from $1/$2 where Tony ran a huge bluff with Ace-King high. What began as an innocent 3bet preflop, turns into a ton of aggression when hero misses the flop and decides to get it all-in with just Ace-high. Concepts include hand reading, floating vs 3betting, and fold equity (or rather, when there is very little fold equity!). Enjoy.

Seat 3 decides to open up under the gun, raise by seat 4, fold, fold, fold, fold. Hero decides to 3bet. Totally good so far. Fold, fold, call. So remember that. Seat 3 decided to just limp call for $40 under the gun, and seat 4 folds. So here we are.

Now, Tony left a very long write-up, but I’m just going to share two little snippets from it talking about seat 3 and their tendencies. Here’s the first bit, the over-arching idea about seat 3 Tony says:

Seat 3 is very loose, passive preflop. He would check and call his straight and flush draws postflop, and he overvalues rag top pair with rag kickers postflop. He’s been running pretty well and up several hundred on the session, and hero has played against him in the past and gotten him to fold some hands that he wouldn’t have folded against other players in small/medium sized pots.

Okay, cool. All is well and good there. But Tony also goes on in a different part of the write-up to say this:

Seat 3 is obviously extremely loose, but hero had previously in this session shown a huge lay down of a set against seat 3’s made straight and has been playing extremely tight for the last six or so hours. And hero knows that seat 3 knows that he’s been playing really nitty this session, and that hero over the session has largely shown up with overpairs and nutty hands at show downs.

So all really good information to help us figure out a precise line in this spot. So with all that being said, we can obviously assume that seat 3 is not just going to show up here with the nuts and we keep that in mind as we go through.

Going to the flop, we have a 10, 9, 3 rainbow board, check. Hero decided to continuation bet. And in this situation, I would just simply ask, “What’s your plan here? What do you think is going to happen?” The more you think seat 3 is going to check/raise you, the less I’m in love with this. But if you think there’s folding by things like 44s or A6 suited or anything weird and junky like that, I can totally be on board with it. It just totally depends on your assumptions and also how aggressively they play things like straight draws, pairs, gut shots with overs, that sort of thing.

In this situation, we end up getting checked/min raised, and hero decides to say, “No, thank you. Here’s the 3bet right back in your face.

Let’s start here. What do we think seat 3 is going to min check/raise with? Well, I don’t think it’s going to be a tremendous amount of air, right? Given the fact that this person is pretty loose and pretty passive, that’s what makes me think that this could easily be someone that’s not very bluffy. So the question would be: if hero decides to 3bet, is seat 3 really going to be relinquishing 10x, 9x, draws, any of that kind of stuff? I don’t think so. I think all you’re really doing here is bloating the pot against hands that are going to get sticky.

Remember, once they call here the pot is ginormous going into the turn, and you’re probably not going to have a tremendous amount of fold equity. However, if you just decide to call the check/raise, you’re getting almost 5:1 immediate right this moment. You have position, you have backdoor draws, you have backdoor potential. This check/raise size here shows me a bet sizing error, so I wouldn’t be shocked if on the turn, you face a bet of, like, $75 or $100 and you’re able to get good odds there as well, then you can really make some better decisions.

I love the fact that we’re trying to be aggressive, but I don’t think this is the spot where you can expect seat three is just going to say, “Yeah, I’d love to fold my pair.

I’d much rather just call the check/min-raise than 3bet here. But, again, I think there’s very, very little fold equity and very, very little playability going forward. So, again, just call the check/raise and go forward. As played, hero does 3bet. Seat 3 does call. So we will review the hand as played. Turn is a Queen, there’s a check by seat 3, and hero decides to rip it in.

In the write-up, Tony says this: “When the turn came and he checked to me, I thought I could credibly wrap an overpair.” Well, the thing about wrapping anything is that your opponent needs to be thinking about you and your range. If your opponent is only thinking about their own whole cards, it doesn’t matter what you wrap because they’re not thinking about what you wrap, they’re just focused on, “Did my hand hit strong enough based upon whatever metrics I use for that. If yes, then I continue, and if no, then I don’t.” Usually pretty simple for someone who’s thinking at that bare bones, basic level.

So seat 3 is not someone who I think I need to wrap anything. I think they’re focused on their cards, they’re focusing on how they’re hitting or missing, and they’re going to make decisions solely based upon that. Because of that, when we get here and seat 3 checks the turn and we decide to rip, I ask myself what hands is seat 3 going to relinquish here? Which hands did he get to the turn with that he now wants to fold?

Ace King Book

I don’t think seat 3 folds 10x. I don’t think seat 3 folds 9x. I don’t think they fold QJ. I think the only hand you get seat 3 to fold here is, like, 7,8, and that’s probably roughly about it. Everything else either has pairs still or picked up extra equity or both of those things combined. So I don’t think there’s a large chunk of fold equity here. This is just one of the issues that I mentioned when we decided to 3bet the flop in the first place. By the time you do that and get called, you have no fold equity on future streets, and you’re limited and essentially you have to check the turn behind and hope to get a cheap river or hope to improve and that you can value bet somehow.

You’re pretty much just taking all of the wind out of your own sails and limiting your options massively. Again, there’s probably very, very minimal fold equity here. That’s really what’s influencing the equation. So because of that, if I did ever get to the turn this way, I’d actually just check it behind. I don’t think there’s much fold equity if any here. I think it’s just a situation where I’m setting $400 on fire. Check it behind, take a free card, and go from there, rather than feel like you have to punt the rest of it in. I’m going to be honest here, you’re probably not going to be getting much of a return.

In this exact situation, seat 3 does end up calling, not shocking, and we end up losing to T9. It is what it is, sure he ends up showing up with two pair here, but I don’t even think that if he shows up with, like, AT, that he’s going to be folding that. And just for the record, if you ever play this hand out and you see this dude show up with T9 off-suit, mind you, he did limp call for $40 preflop. So this is a dude who’s playing extremely lose passively preflop and just keep that in mind when you’re going forward.

Again, I really don’t particularly care for hero’s line here. The bet, 3 bet on the flop, I think was a little bit too wide, and then as played, I think dumping the $400 on the turn is just a complete bury of money. But shy of that, I like preflop.

Know your opponent. If seat 3 doesn’t care what you rep, don’t worry about it yourself. Just play really straightforward and value-focused and find bluffing opportunities. But this was not a good bluffing opportunity, given the range that would have gotten the turn most likely.


My name is James "SplitSuit" Sweeney and I'm a poker player, coach, and author. I've released 500+ videos, coached 500+ players, and co-founded the training site Red Chip Poker. Contact me if you need any help improving your poker game!

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