Bluffing durrrr on the River
Thursday, 3 September 2009
Even a crazy mistimed bluff against one of the world's best players can reap rewards, says our new strategy writer, high stakes grand master Sami “larsluzak” Kelopouro.
Let me tell you about my sick bluff against Tom "durrrr" Dwan.
We had been playing heads up for a couple of hours on Full Tilt Poker and I'm up by a few hundred thousand. At the start of this hand I have a stack of $311,232 and durrrr has $308,984.
I'm on the button and I raise to $3,000 with 6d4s, durrrr calls.
The flop comes 9c5d2s. Durrrr checks to me and I make my normal continuation bet of $4,000. Durrrr raises to $12,700. I only have a gutshot, but we are playing so deep I know can win a big pot if I hit the nuts with a three. In addition to our deep stacks, position gives me an edge as I have the chance to outplay him on later streets.
If there had been a flush draw on the flop I would give up the hand here, but it's a very dry board, so it's likely that durrrr is just stealing without a hand. He knows that I c-bet more than most players, so to him it's likely the flop hasn't helped me at all. Therefore I think a call on this flop is pretty standard.
I suppose many high stakes players would three-bet here to take control of the pot, but I don't like that play at all. With a board like that, no decent player - and especially not durrrr - would fold top pair, or even middle or bottom pair, to a large raise. And if my opponent has nothing, I can win the pot on the turn or the river anyway.
So I call and the turn comes Ac. Durrrr bets $24,700. I don't think the ace helped him, but he probably thinks the same of me, unless I have something like A-3 or A-4. So it's possible he's still value betting a nine..
In a way, the ace is a good card for a second barrel bluff, so it's nearly impossible to put him on any particular hand at this point. I don't want to raise because durrrr often pushes the turn with some pretty marginal hands and then I'll be forced to fold. I decide to call to see the river with the intention of taking down this pot with my positional advantage.
So I call once more, and the river is 7h. Durrrr bets $68,700. I have approximately $200,000 more and durrrr has about the same amount.
I have six-high, so naturally I can win this pot only if I raise.
To my mind, durrr could have just about anything here. Quite possibly, he doesn't have any sort of a hand. If he does, it's probably two pair or a set. I don't think he can value bet a mere nine here anymore, although there is a small chance he might. A pair of aces is good enough for a thin value bet but it's not a likely hand for him. The only way he can have an ace is with A-3 or A-4.
A-6, A-8, A-T, A-J, A-Q and A-K are all hands that he would have just called with on the flop and the higher part of that range he would have raised pre-flop. For the same reason I can count out all pocket pairs from T-T to K-K.
With a small raise I could force him to fold a bluff and possibly some of his thin value bets, but it occurred to me that if I raise all-in he will think I must have a really big hand. I thought I could make him lay down even two pair or a set. The hand that I'm most likely representing is a straight with 3-4 or 6-8. I think those two are very likely holdings for me here, especially if it's with two clubs which meant I would have turned a flush draw, too. With the smaller straight I would have often raised the turn, but if I think durrrr is bluffing it's correct for me to slowplay. 6c8c is the most likely hand for me here. I could also have a set, probably with A-A or 7-7. With a smaller set I probably wouldn't raise the river since durrrr has been representing a big hand all the way.
I didn't think there were many hands that durrrr would suspect I was bluffing with after this action - possibly 6-6 or 8-8, in which case I would have been calling "to keep him honest" on the flop and turn but realised on the river that my hand is not good enough for showdown. Not very likely, I'd say.
Otherwise, I would have to have almost a complete float - maybe something with two clubs. Q-J, K-J or K-Q I would have checked on the flop or folded to a raise. It takes some creative thinking to come up with a hand that I would bluff with on the river considering the action and what he knows about my game. I have the hand that I'm representing enough times to make the bluff credible, especially when he possibly thinks that I'm scared money at $500/$1,000 and I haven't made any crazy bluffs against him in a long time.
So I push all-in.
Durrrr uses almost all of his time bank and finally calls with Ad9d. To be honest, I started to regret my move while I was waiting for his decision and I realised he was gonna call me. He likes to make those calls and he hates the idea that I might push him out of a big pot. I'm not trying to belittle his skills or imply that he's a careless player, but the fact is that I tried to bluff the wrong opponent.
I quit the session soon after this hand because something like this will have a negative impact on your game. I wasn't tilted or angry with myself or with any domestic objects in the near vicinity - mistakes happen, and this was just one of them.
Besides, my bluff is a good investment for the future. A little while ago I played a couple of sessions with durrrr again and I won big. With my new "bluffy" image I got paid for my good hands almost every time. Even a bad bluff can turn into profit in the long run.