Monday, September 13, 2010

A "rare" river bluff raise

In trying to grow my game, I subscribe to Foucault's blog, ThinkingPoker.  It's a GREAT resource, for those who are unfamiliar.  Many hands he posts end in him bluff raising the river, which got me thinking about river bluffs... I just don't see them too frequently around these games.  Perhaps the river bluff defines the higher stakes games, but it is certainly absent (or at the very least, rare) in the lower stakes games.

Knowing that I don't do it enough, I'm going to try to weave it into my game - in the appropriate spots.

Full Tilt Poker $0.50/$1 No Limit Hold'em - 9 players
The Official Hand History Converter

MP1: $35.65
MP2: $99.00
CO: $55.00 - 18/17 / 43% steal / 10.7% 3bet / 3.0 AF / 86 hands - He's been kinda squirrelly... just an odd player who picks weird spots.
Hero (BTN): $150.35
SB: $52.55
BB: $43.55
UTG: $168.90
UTG+1: $122.40
UTG+2: $212.55

Pre Flop: ($1.50) Hero is BTN with 7c 7s
5 folds, CO raises to $2.50, Hero calls $2.50, 2 folds

Flop: ($6.50) Ac 6h 8h (2 players)
CO checks, Hero bets $4, CO calls $4
2 heart boards, and he leads the flop 50% of the time.  I'm assuming he missed so I stab.

Turn: ($14.50) Kd (2 players)
CO checks, Hero requests TIME, Hero checks
Fairly certain he has AK,AQ,AJ...?  I check behind to control the pot.

River: ($14.50) Qh (2 players)
CO bets $8, Hero requests TIME, Hero raises to $21, CO folds
This is such a bad card for an OOP player.  Either he hit his straight or flush (either of which he calls), or he has an Ace.  I think a raise here folds out almost every single pair / two pair combinations in his range... he simply can't call here without a straight or better, which is why I turn my hand into a bluff.  I think I have essentially no showdown value, and he's shown little initiative up until the river.  My line is wholly plausible: bet flop, check through turn for freebie and raise river when "my flush" comes in.

The reason I post this?  There was a time at 50NL where I was doing this more frequently, but I've gotten so many call behinds on the raise that I started thinking it wasn't profitable.  It *IS* profitable, though in the right spots - selective river raises.  I hardly ever see river bluff raises, save for maniacs (i.e. 40/20's etc.).

Final Pot: $30.50
Hero wins $29.00
(Rake: $1.50)


  1. I keep thinking I want to try this, because so many flops go like so:

    I raise (BTN), BB calls.
    flop: BB checks, I cbet, BB calls.
    turn: check/check
    river: BB bets...

    doesn't even matter which card comes, BB bets because I checked turn. Sometimes I'm doing this with TP to induce bluffs and/or control the pot, sometimes I have whiffed. I think occ. raising river would win some pots, or perhaps calling with whiffed AK.

  2. Certainly, Matt... There's a lot of reasons to call a riv bet with a whiffed AK - of course they're player dependent. The argument could be made for 2 barrel bluffing (cbetting the flop & turn) with the fishier players (obviously don't recommend doing so against rocks / TAGs). A lot of the time, that flop bet / turn check means that the aggressor has given up on the pot... the caller will put out a small bet feeling he will take down the pot /fold out a ton of non-paired / little pair hands.

    We talked about this type of situation during your sweat session... where you can bet out something like 10BB into a 40BB pot OOP - because of exactly what you describe in reverse (players like youself are folding a whiffed AK,AQ to the OOP player who has the worst of the two hands). You can tell when a pot has been abandoned a lot of the time from the line you describe in your comment and above.

  3. while i don't think bluff raising the river "defines" the higher stakes games, it certainly happens in a better balance than you will find at your stakes (which means more often for most players). When you get to that level, you will likely get called by two pair, and possibly just a pair of aces, depending upon player history.

    At NL100, this is definitely profitable, but will be higher variance. Just be prepared for days where they always get called and you get shown hands you expected to fold.


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