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C’Mon Now

by Andrew Brokos |  Published: Jan 31, '11


Villain is clearly bluffing on the river- his line makes no sense with any strong hand except 44, and even that may not call a river shove (it’s a lot more plausible for me to check a set on the river than for him to do so, given that I could be going for a check-raise whereas he is closing the action.) The problem is that so am I, and I am pretty sure he’s bluffing with a pair. That doesn’t mean I have to let him get away with it, though:

PokerStars No-Limit Hold’em, $6.00 BB (6 handed) – PokerStars Converter Tool from

SB ($1959.40)
BB ($628)
UTG ($1069.20)
MP ($1539.40)
Hero (CO) ($1464.60)
Button ($1522.80)

Preflop: Hero is CO with K, A
2 folds, Hero bets $18, Button calls $18, 2 folds

Flop: ($52.20) 2, 5, J (2 players)
Hero bets $33, Button calls $33

Turn: ($118.20) 10 (2 players)
Hero checks, Button checks

River: ($118.20) 4 (2 players)
Hero bets $99, Button raises to $360, Hero raises to $1412.40 (All-In), 1 fold

Total pot: $838.20 | Rake: $3

Hero didn’t show K, A (nothing).
Outcome: Hero won $835.20

Villain floats a lot, so I was actually planning to check-raise the turn expecting him to bet a lot of draws and such. When he doesn’t bet, he announces that he has showdown value, almost surely a pair. Thus, I bet the river to rep a whiffed check-raise or a one-pair hand playing pot control. Apparently I convinced him, because he turned his middle pair into a bluff. Would be pretty sick if he had tanked and called me with like 33 turned into a bluff and then a bluff-catcher!

Andrew Brokos is a professional poker player, writer, and teacher. He is also an avid hiker and traveler and a passionate advocate for urban public education. You can find dozens of his poker strategy articles at and more information about group seminars and one-on-one coaching at

Any views or opinions expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of the ownership or management of


almost 11 years ago

Great blogs Foucault, always appreciate good content. In this specific hand, I agree that villain's range is very weak here at the river. I don't have experience playing him, so will go with your analysis that he has a middle pair type hand w showdown value. Does he always bet draws here though? Obv. hands with low spades like 67ss have to bet to try and win the hand, but hands like A2-A5hh may check behind some of the time, w A3 being the only made hand at the river. Actually, just a tangent I went off trying to figure out villains range, lol.

The real question is, what can we actually rep. here? I think the line you take looks weak, and quite polarizing. My logic being, how often are u really checking an overpair, set or J10 (that's not the J10ss) here? The hands I could see u checking for pot control are J8, J9, JQ, JK, and AJ. If he is a thinking player, he has to know that u know he floats a lot and will check raise, making it more likely that he checks behind some draws. If this is the case, shouldn't you be betting your big hands (ie, sets) to protect against weak draws and get value from pairs/strong draws? If you barrel the second time, your hand includes all types draws that you could be betting to get him off his supposed float.

Anyways, the bet on the river is in line with your pot control hands and even over pairs going for check raise. But once he raises (repping nothing) and you go all in, I think these hands can now be removed from your range. So now your range consists of bluffs w/o showdown (ie no pair, as we are putting him on a weak pair) or super strong hands we decided to check. At the river, villain has to call 1052 into 1979, or just under 2:1. Basically, he needs to win about 38 percent of the time for the call to be correct. I don't think you try to check raise the turn with big hands anywhere close to 62 percent of the time (top end 50 percent, bottom like 5-10 percent), but I could be wrong on your thinking and play.

Just another way of thinking about it. Based on this thinking, and if villain had the time to think about it, he should have called. You put him in a difficult spot though, that's for sure. Good play and keep up the good entries.


almost 11 years ago

Very nice post, Chevy. I think you're right that he could have checked a worse A-high than mine on the turn and now be turning it into a bluff. I guess that would make calling the river a slightly more appealing option, though I think I still prefer shoving.

I do think it's plausible for me to check a set on the turn, especially given the combination of stack sizes, board texture, and opponent. You're probably right that, as I hinted in the last line of my post, an excellent player/hand reader might actually be able to deduce that I'm bluff-heavy when I shove the river and make a hero call with a pair that he was previously turning into a bluff. For one thing, I didn't expect tihs player to be that good.

Also, the odds of me going for a c/r with a set on the turn are not the same as the frequency with which I have a set when I 3-bet the river. Even if Villain thinks that I check a set s not a play people make/see often.

Thanks again for a very thought-provoking comment!


almost 11 years ago

Foucault, just had another think about it after reading your reply. You are right that the odds of c/r on turn and 3-bet shove river are not the same, which would reduce the percentage of times he needs to be right to make the call correct. As I did deduce from both posts though, you weren't giving him credit for thinking on this type of level. If so, and u thought he might hero call with pairs some of the time, we could even be shoving over pairs for value, as the way it is played, we have a fairly solid read that he has a showdown type hand. This is kinda thin, but def. thinking on levels and could be utilized versus a good-thinking player.


almost 11 years ago

Wait, I guess you're saying that u close to 100 percent 3-bet shove w sets here on river. If this is the case then you would need to up your bluffing percentage also in order to not give your hand away. In this sense, it kinda goes back to what percentage of the time villain thinks you c/r sets/J10ss on the turn and how often u go all the way with a 3-bet shove pure bluff. If u r only bluff shoving 1/3 of the time or less, its probably closer to a fold on his part. Anymore though, and it becomes a call. How the hand was played, we can remove all mid-value types of hands from our range pretty much, making the need for a pure bluff higher.


almost 11 years ago


I don't think I would bluff here very often against anyone who I thought was good enough to make a hero call with a mid-pair that he was bluff-raising on the flop. It would take a pretty sick dynamic to be able to shove something like AA for value here on the river, though you're right that it's theoretically possible. Being able to make thin value bets like that is one of the merits of "capping" your opponent's range, which is a concept I discuss in this article:

Thanks again for the insightful comments!


almost 11 years ago

The title Cmon now, could easily be applied to you IP.

At this point, Andrew has by far the most educational blog on this site, and considering it is gasp*, a poker site, it is nice to see a guy who posts his hands for everyone else to comment on...not to mention someone who will comment back and explain his reasoning and thought process. Sad to see people not appreciate the true talent, instead of the poker PR representatives.

Are you making the same move, if he min-raises the river? What about a river shove? Obviously it would be a serious hero call, but just wondering how that changes your perception of what his range is.


R.J. Stuffnpuff
almost 11 years ago

Keep up the great posts Andrew.


almost 11 years ago

I think I would still 3-bet the river against a min-raise, but I wouldn't shove because overbetting would feel less necessary and is probably not how I would play the hands I'm representing.

If he shoved river, I'd have to fold, even if I suspected he were bluffing. The problem, and the whole reason I felt I needed to 3-bet the river rather than just call, is that I suspect he is bluffing with hands better than my AK.

Good questions, and thanks for your kind words as well!


almost 11 years ago

How about you stop ridding the post immediately after Doyle or Daniel just to get your name out there loser. Cheap tricks are for kids.......

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