Flop 3-Bet Bluff

Edit: Wow somehow this was up for more than three days without anyone asking what my hand was? Sorry I forgot to include it, as I hinted in some of my responses to comments, it was kind of relevant. I had AJo, so two blockers to some hands I thought he might continue with and a good chance of having at least one overcard if my raise got called. I wouldn’t have done this with 98s.

I’m playing a $1/$3/$6 game at a casino. The game as a whole plays loose and passive, and the better players are mostly tight and passive. Pretty much they play like giant nits and that’s enough to win because their big hands get paid off. I’m not real popular there because I raise a lot and bet the flop when I have nothing.

Last night there was a young guy there, early 20s, whom I’d never seen before. He’d run up a stack of about $3000 by nitting it up and winning big pots when he made huge hands. I’d run up a similar stack by playing loose and aggressive on early streets and winning big pots when I made huge hands. In the last two hours I’d won two very large pots without showdown, so although I’d had the goods both times, people may have been a bit suspicious. Despite that, I expected this kid to be pretty gunshy about risking such a big stack, so I was actively looking for a spot to put a lot of pressure on him.

He straddled UTG (first time I’d seen him do that and in retrospect perhaps a sign that he wasn’t quite as nitty was I was assuming). A player in middle position called $12, the button called $12, and I made it $80 from the small blind. The kid looked at his cards with an air of “well I’m going to be playing this” and said, “Call,” kinda defiantly. Middle position folded, and the button tossed another $68 in without too much thought.

The flop came T44 rainbow. Given what I thought of the kid’s pre-flop calling range, I didn’t expect him to give up to one bet, but this looked like a good spot to put some extra pressure on him. I’d seen him 3-bet KK preflop before, and I expected he would raise that or AA here as well rather than risk uncomfortable post-flop spots against me. I don’t know about JJ or QQ, but I was thinking I could make him squirm even if he had a hand that strong, so TT or 44 were about the only hands I thought he’d be truly comfortable with.

I bet $125, the kid quickly made it $250, and the button folded. I don’t know about him specifically, but in this game people’s general tendency against me is to slowplay really big hands when I have the betting lead because they think I’m a crazy bluffer. Between that and the fact that I expected a 3-bet from KK+, I thought his raise was much more likely to be for information/protection/cheap showdown with a smaller pocket pair than for value with a hand he was ready to take to the felt.

So I made it $700, and he snap shoved over the top. Oh well. Still a pretty good use of leverage, though, as I put him to a $3000 decision for $700. Even my hand was good for it, since it gave me a blocker to AA and the A and mayyyyybe even the J could be outs for me if he called. Given what I knew about him, I think this was a hand that belonged in my 3-betting range.

14 thoughts on “Flop 3-Bet Bluff

  1. I’m not sure I have a flop 3betting range in spots like this against people like this villain. Perhaps this is a leak, laziness keeping me from constructing a balanced 3betting range here. But when I think about how I would play my value betting range against a flop minraise, I always want to call the minraise. For instance, if we have TT here his range has to be so rich with bluffs (or overpairs-which-probably-won’t-check-because-he’ll-put-you-on-AT) that calling seems better (unless you think he’s going to 4b jam wide; given his description this seems unlikely). And I would probably use this to justify calling the minraise with hands like AJ instead of 3betting them; this could be unprofitable if he’s barreling the turn too often, but it’s certainly less expensive than 3b/f.

    Also, if people think you’re a crazy bluffer, it might not be the best time to run a crazy bluff. Oh, and maybe I’m just the most results-oriented person ever, but I can’t say I approve of this guy’s 4bet shove (unless he had air of course ;)).

    • I’m not sure what else but I’d 3-bet AA here for fear that he is going for a pot-controlling sort of flop raise and in hopes that he won’t be able to fold some of the hands that I’m hoping he will fold when I go with AJ. But (by 3-betting AJ) I’m putting disproportionate number of bluffs in my range because I’m leaning towards him folding too much to this raise. I’m not wild about flatting AJ because I don’t think he folds rivers once it goes check-check on turn, unless you were to shove…

      Agreed about his shove. Though you should have seen ridiculous hands people were giving me credit for (or more specifically folding despite claiming they didn’t believe me).

      Also agreed about image/timing. I gave that info in the interest of full disclosure, not as an argument for my line.

  2. I play in games like the one you described, where most of the players are loose passive or tight passive trying to see as many flops as they can with total disregard to position and stack size implications. When one of the nits finally coolers one of the others and builds a big stack (in this case 5x the buy in), that stack usually gets dusty. They will not put it at risk, especially against another big stack without the stone cold nuts. Even if they think you are putting some moves on them, they just wait until they make the nuts to fight back (as evidenced by the folds they were claiming).
    I bet my life this kid had TT.

    He only has middle pairs and maybe some big suited cards in his flat calling range.
    Of these, only TT can get his stack in the middle (or possibly 44 if he wanted to set mine against you given your respective stacks).
    AA and KK likley would have 4B (although flat calling would be a nice play given your image).

    Some of the other pairs may have min raised your CB for information “to see if they were good”, but surely folded when you gave them the answer to their question.
    I like your 3B for this reason as you get folds from JJ and QQ (or worse). He is only staying with you with TT, 44 and possibly slow played AA and KK (maybe).
    You were unlucky to run into the absolute top of his range.

  3. Certainly a good spot to test his metal .. just bad timing that he either read your mind or had the nuts. Don’t see him shoving into your ‘random’ hand without something pretty good here. Played a hand today where I go shoved into in an odd spot as well.

    Late position call with 77 and 6 to the Flop of 987 rainbow. Aggressive SB bets 125% of the pot and I smooth call ‘just in case’. 9 on Turn and he comes out with 2x Flop bet and I raise 1.5 on top of that .. he shoves. Now what??

    Story doesn’t make sense .. why shove the nuts and why shove into a paired board after a Flop call and Turn raise? We have a history so I just tell him I wish he/we could just check it down from my raise and call with my bottom boat and he shows the flopped straight. Nice pot ..

    You had no history with this player, but I see similarity with the hand. Why shove the nuts? A4, unlikely … slow AA or KK? Maybe or more likely? Or just a couple of bulls butting heads .. Can’t see where you can call … tough spot to lose 25% of your stack but it should have laid some good ground work for future hands to get some of your chips back.

    • Heh, good question, thanks for catching that. I had AJo. Edited the OP with a bit of commentary on why that matters.

      • I was wondering what you had about halfway through reading. I even back-tracked a few times in case I somehow missed it, but then I saw: “Even my hand was good for it, since it gave me a blocker to AA and the A and mayyyyybe even the J could be outs for me if he called” and figured it was AJoff.

  4. about the only fun you can have in this game is pissing off nits who manage to win playing T/P. good for you!

    • Thanks! I do get a special kick out of this (well, when I win anyway) but honestly I find crushing a 10-handed game with a VPIP of like 40 to be pretty entertaining in its own right.

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