Stone cold bluff

Stone cold bluff

Wednesday, 28 October 2009

By Sami “LarsLuzak” Kelopuro

This time I'll talk about another bluff that I made at the EPT Grand Final in Monte Carlo. Blinds are at 3k/6k and an aggressive American player opens with a raise of 15,500 two seats from the button. Everyone folds and I call from the big blind with K-7 offsuit. It's a marginal call but I'm getting good pot odds with the antes in play. This is a really active player, so I think I can call here when we both have approximately 200,000 behind.The flop comes 8-3-2 rainbow and we both check.

The turn is a queen which brings a flush draw to the board. I don't think I have any fold equity here, as he will probably call me with hands like A-J. I check, he stares at me intently for a few beats and bets 21,500.

I start thinking, why is he trying to take reads off me? If he does have a queen in his hand, he'd be less interested in me. He'd probably try to seem casual instead, looking at his chips and not at me.

I raise to 51,500.

He keeps on staring at me, and after a while he starts counting chips for a raise while looking at both of our stacks. He raises to slightly more than 100,000. I immediately feel like he has nothing. I start going over the situation.

It's hard to believe that he could have made two pair on turn. Q-3 or Q-2? Also I don't think he would ever play a queen like this, even with an ace kicker. Would he check behind on the flop with a set? No. I just feel like he doesn't think I have a strong hand. With a flush draw he pushes all-in on the turn, and it's not even an over-bet. So I think it's most likely that he's making this small raise so he can let go of his hand if I push.

I mull it over for several minutes. If I push and get called, most likely I won't have any outs, but I think it's likely enough that he has nothing, not even a draw.

I have to admit I'm a bit nervous when I shove, especially as there is a crowd gathering around the table and I'll look like a total donk if I'm wrong.

Of course, I know that it doesn't matter what kind of tells I'm giving off at this point. Either he has a queen or better or absolutely nothing, and if it's the latter, he can't call my raise, even if it's just for 200,000 total.

It takes him maybe a second to muck his cards.

I rarely show my hands in tournaments, but this one I had to show. I had been playing relatively solid up to that point. I hadn't been bluffing much in San Remo or Monte Carlo, which is probably the reason why I did better than usual at both events. We were close to the money and I think I was the last Finn standing.

My chip stack jumped over the average with this pot, but some time later I lost a huge pot with middle set versus top set, and soon after that I was out of the tournament near the bubble.

The important thing this hand teaches us is that you should watch your opponents closely. Does their physical behaviour tie in with the story they are trying to tell with their betting pattern? Don't base your entire decision on a physical tell - it's just another piece of the puzzle that you can use to help confirm your analysis of the hand thus far.

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Tags: Sami LarsLuzak Kelopuro, Strategy