We often think of semi-bluffing as an attacking move. Plan A: I can get them to fold or Plan B: Suck out. A third reason is deception on other hands. Let me tell you about a hand I just played tonight that completely lacked deception by Villain.
I am up to my shenanigans in late position with:
I raise over a couple of limpers including the early position Villain. Villain is a pretty straight forward OMC (Old Man Coffee) You need neither be old, a man, or caffeinated to be an OMC. Limping too much, waiting for big hands to bet, and of interest today -not semi-bluffing enough will let you in the OMC club. OMC often do not bet big enough when they do hit a hand, that is also important today.
I get called in one spot.
There is now $40 in the pot and we have $400 effective.
This is my kind of flop, I love it. I can justify the first barrel without issue and expect to fire the turn often, especially on Spades or when I actually make a hand (it could happen!). OMC check/calls my $30.
There is now $100 in the pot and we have $370 effective.
OMC leads into me for $50. This is unexpected. I have not seen him make “a big bet” like this all night. You and I can look at this and say “it is a half pot bet, that is not a big bet at all.” and we would be right. However Villain does not think like that. This is a big bet in absolute terms because that is how he thinks and it means he has a big hand.
While I think I would have preferred to have gotten him to check then fold to my second barrel, my hand still has a lot going for it.
Are my outs clean? That is, do I ever hit my hand and get coolered? A resounding no. I am never going to hit my King and be shown Broadway with Ace Queen. Not even Ace Queen of flush. Never going to happen.
The Eights are all clean outs to the nuts also. This important, I am never going to get hit by a Magic Card where I make my draw and lose.
The keen observer will say, what about the Kh and 8h those bring in a flush.
The only hand I can conceive of him semi-bluffing with would be Top Pair with Nut Flush Draw. Notice the configuration of suits, that is not possible. Villain is never semi-bluffing with Hearts here, so I have no fear of the flush other than it might dampen my action.
OK, I have clean outs, eight of them. That means I am a 84% to 16% dog. I am going to lose this $50 five times for every time that I hit. That means I am going to spend $250 chasing this flush. I damned well better be able to pay that debt on the 6th time when I do hit it. There is $150 in the pot right now. Can I get an additional $100 into the pot those times I hit so this play is profitable? When I call, there will be $200 in the pot. Villain likes his hand, I “know” I can get another $100 into the pot when I hit. Anything over that amount is the profit. Remember, in a long term perspective, I hit this straight one time every six times I try, so that profit on average is actually to be divided by 6 to get the average value of this play.
Villain bets $50 into $200 with $270 back.
I have no fear of this flush. His small bet size is a bit of a problem. He made the “same bet”. He likes his hand still, but he is not totally in love with it. I wonder how much I can sell my hand for. I make it $190 and he sighs and finally calls. Could I have gotten more? I think so based on his manner, but I don’t think I can get his whole stack because the flush was too visible and scary. On a non-flush straight card, especially an Eight, I think I get his entire stack.
Was this disaster avoidable for OMC with JTo?
- Check raise me on the flop.
- Check raise me on the turn.
- Play your other hands in such a way that I can not ignore you having a flush draw here.
- Don’t price in the myriad of draws on this board.
- Don’t play in such a way that I know you are always with a strong made hand here and thus know you will pay me off when I get there.
- And of course, don’t play such weak hands up front, especially when your skill level does not warrant it.