Instead of doing a hand from the tournament circuit, we'll take a look at one of the hands I've played online.
Players: Me and Some Online Schmo
Game: No-Limit Hold'em, Online Cash.
Situation: Blinds 50¢/$1.
This hand takes place on PokerStars at the 100NL game. I play this game regularly and I employ a very aggressive strategy.
If you're familiar with Poker Tracker, I play 22/17.5/3.6. That means I'm playing 22% of the pots, I'm raising 17.5% of them and I'm aggressive after the flop. In this hand. I'm up against an opponent who plays at 20/12/2.75, meaning he likes to call more pre-flop (rather than raise).
The table is five-handed and our effective stacks are a full buy-in of $100. The hand begins with me raising to $4 under the gun with K♣ Q♣. It's folded to the button, our villain in this hand, who makes the call. The big blind also comes along for the ride.
The flop comes down 2♥ 3♥ K♦. The BB checks and I fire $8. The button insta-raises me to $20. The BB folds and the action is on me.
The insta-re-raise rubs me a little the wrong way. Usually before a player re-raises they take their time and think about it. After all, there is quite a bit to think about when you are raising: e.g. Should I smooth-call now and wait for the turn when there is more money in? How much should I raise? Is the BB going to call? etc.
When somebody insta-raises or insta-bets it's usually fishy. A lot of the time it means the player is on a draw - although people will also make this bet with an underpair if they think you are FOS. I decide to play it a little safe and just call rather than balloon the pot further in case I'm behind.
The turn brings down the 6♠. At this point, I want to find out if my hand is good. I feel if I check my hand here my opponent will use his position and force me out of this pot with a wide range of hands that I beat.
Check-calling is the worst option in this hand. I also consider check-folding, as I'm OOP. I decide to make a donk bet of half the pot to see how he reacts. I bet out $26 and my opponent now just makes the call.
It should be noted here that if I am raised I turbo-muck. In my mind his call really solidifies his holdings. He would have definitely folded an underpair in this spot. He also almost certainly would have raised me with a set. The only other hand he could call with is a weakly played A-K or the possible, albeit unlikely, K-Q.
The river bricks out with the J♦. I decide to check to induce a bluff. I check and he fulfills my wishes by betting full pot.
This bet I am almost 100% sure is a bluff. Most players would be more than happy to check through on this river with a hand like top pair, top kicker. We eliminated the set from his holdings on the last street, though if for some reason he didn't raise the turn he would most likely bet the river smaller, looking to get called with a set.
A full pot bet is either a complete monster or a complete bluff. I make the call and my opponent tables the Q♥ T♥. I rake the $200 pot.
Sometimes you have to go with your read. I would be lying if I said it was an easy call on the river. It most definitely was not. I just went over the hand in my head and realized a bluff was a large part of his range.
Which brings me to another point: If you check to induce a bluff you should most likely call - you can't check to induce a bluff and then get scared and fold.
If you wanted to play this hand a little bit safer you could make a blocking bet on the river of one-third or one-quarter of the pot. This would cause a hand like A-K to just call. A set would re-raise you and then you could safely fold.
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