I have never seen a bluff go so spectacularly wrong…
Today we go over a WILD hand from Matt Vaughan’s poker vlog! In a tricky multiway pot where nobody seems too interested, Vaughan finds a risky bluff in a spot that not many would. When he gets it in on the river, his opponent has a decision to make… are they slow-rolling him or can they let it go?
The hand took place in a $2/$5/$10 no-limit hold’em cash game at Rivers Casino with most players sitting with stacks in the $1,000-$1,300 range. A player in early position limped for $10 and then a middle-position player raised to $30. The button called, as did the small blind, and Vaughan looked down at the in the straddle.
Vaughan may have been tempted to squeeze here thinking, “I’m in the straddle, I need to battle.” However, this is a great spot to just call. Try to avoid playing overly loose and aggressive in the straddle, which a lot of people do.
Vaughan did just call and he flop came down , which checked around. However, what would you do in this spot if it checked around to the initial raiser and they continued for $60?
Fold your ace-high with backdoor straight and flush draws.
Call with your ace-high with backdoor straight and flush draws.
Raise to $180 (medium)
Raise to $300 (large)
It would actually be a pretty tough spot if the above scenario were to happen. You need to be more cautious in multiway pots when facing a bet as it is likely that the opponent will have a very tight range when choosing to bet into several players.
I think Vaughan should fold in this hypothetical situation if the middle-position player bets $60. However, it was a moot point as they did not bet and instead it checked through bringing about the on the turn. Vaughan stated that he thinks he probably shouldn’t take a stab at this pot at all, but I ask – why should we not take a stab at this pot when it checks around?
There are multiple combinations of hands that will be capable of calling a bet on the turn that will have checked the flop. After the flop checks through all ranges of hands should be between marginal made hands and junk. Lots of single high-heart hands have also picked up equity on this turn and they would be unlikely to fold to a bet.
If you bluff this turn it will be extremely difficult to tell if you are up against a premium made hand or complete air (a drawing hand that needs to improve) heading into the river. Plus, you should be less inclined to bluff when there are multiple players in a pot. If you do decide to bluff into multiple opponents then you should choose hands that are semi-bluffs with equity to improve.
In this situation, if you attempt to bluff on the turn you should be willing to continue with the bluff on the river. Assuming Vaughan stabs the turn, he should bluff on most rivers as there are still plenty of hands that can call a bet on the turn but would fold on the river, such as ace-king or ace-queen with a heart (assuming the river is not a heart).
Vaughan opted to bluff at it with a bet of $90 and action folded back to the player in the small blind, who thought for a bit before calling. The small blind then checked the river, which Vaughan did not show on his vlog but simply shared that it was a “blank” (Side Note: Try to be specific when recording your hand histories as small details can make a big difference to any analysis).
Vaughan continued his bluff by moving all in for $310 effective, which is what his opponent had left in her stack. Unfortunately for Vaughan, a slow-roll was in order as she tanked for 30-40 seconds before calling off with the for quads.
For more on this hand and my thoughts on how to act when slow/nit rolled, check out my breakdown in the following video:
Jonathan Little is a professional poker player and author with over $7,000,000 in live tournament earnings. He writes a weekly educational blog and hosts a podcast at JonathanLittlePoker.com. Sign up to learn poker from Jonathan for free at PokerCoaching.com. You can follow him on Twitter @JonathanLittle.