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Bluff Catching In The Poker Masters

by Jonathan Little |  Published: Oct 20, 2021


Jonathan LittleI recently played a tough hand in a $10,000 buy-in Poker Masters event in the PokerGO Studio in Las Vegas. Before we get into it, however, I wanted to say that if you ever have the chance to play in the PokerGO studio, you should do it. You will not be disappointed by the experience.

With blinds at 1,500-3,000 with a 3,000 big blind ante, I picked up pocket sevens from first position and raised to 7,000 out of my 75,000 effective stack.

Everyone folded around to Stephen Chidwick, a world-class player with $36.7 million in career earnings and the 2019 Card Player Player of the Year. He was in the small blind and decided to three-bet to 21,000.

This is already a tough spot because Stephen’s range should be quite strong, given I had been playing on the tight side from early position, and he is out of position. That said, sevens are a bit too strong to fold and I think he usually errs on the side of aggression.

Looking at the GTO (Game Theory Optimal) preflop charts at, you can see that 7-7 should be calling, assuming your opponent plays well.

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I made the call. The dealer brought out a flop of QHeart Suit 4Spade Suit 3Diamond Suit, and Stephen bet 13,000 into the 54,000 pot.

Facing a small continuation bet in position with any pair, you simply cannot fold. While I will be in a tough spot on many turns, calling is the only play that makes sense. (If you happened to know that your opponent would either call too often or fold too often, then going all-in may gain some merit.)

The turn was the 6Diamond Suit, giving me a gutshot straight draw to go with my pair. Stephen pushed all-in for 41,000 into the 80,000 pot.

Even though my sevens could easily be crushed, this is a spot where I have to call. I am getting excellent pot odds that dictate I only need to win 25% of the time.

41,000/(41,000 + 41,000 + 80,000)

I lose to all better made hands, obviously, but Stephen is certainly capable of bluffing with some unpaired hands, such as A-X and suited connectors, especially if they have some sort of draw.

And when he has me beat, I have six outs to a straight or set.

This is a spot where many weak players fold on a regular basis, resulting in their loose, aggressive opponents running them over. To make matters even worse, many of these players tend to raise with their top pairs on the flop, making their flop calling range incredibly weak and susceptible to blind aggression.

Weak poker does not win, especially in tournaments.

In this particular situation, however, I called and lost to K-Q offsuit. Sometimes they have it!

I failed to improve and busted. Oh well! On to the next one. ♠

Jonathan Little is a two-time WPT champion with more than $7 million in live tournament earnings, best-selling author of 15 educational poker books, and 2019 GPI Poker Personality of the Year. If you want to increase your poker skills and learn to crush the games, check out his training site at