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When to Turn a Made Hand Into a Bluff
We all know that turning a made hand into a bluff by accident can be a pretty serious mistake.
If a worse hand is never going to call and a better hand is never going to fold, you've successfully done just that - made a big mistake.
But quite often a better hand will fold and you can take the very bottom of your showdown-value range, turn it into a bluff and get a laydown.
Basically you take a hand that has some showdown value and give it more value as a bluff.
$1/$2 No-Limit game; effective stacks $300.
You're dealt 7♥ 8♥. Your good, hand-reading opponent raises to $8 and you call on the button.
The flop comes 8♦ J♣ K♥. Your opponent bets $14 and you call. The turn comes J♥. Your opponent bets $30 and you call again.
The river comes 3♠ and your opponent bets $70. You raise to $248 all-in and your opponent folds.
You took a hand that had some showdown value (a pair of eights) and turned it into a bluff to get a fold from a better hand (a pair of kings).
In a spot like this, turning your hand into a bluff works especially well because your eights don't have a a ton of showdown value. You basically can only beat a stone-cold bluff.
Calling here vs. his range is probably bad. If you look at your opponent's third-barrel range, it's much wider than just hands that can bet and profitably call a shove.
Our opponent can be barreling with missed draws, value-betting good kings, value-towning with aces and, of course, he could be firing with a jack. Of those hands, only the three jacks can really profitably call your shove.
The best part about this scenario is that you can't often be bluffing in this spot in your opponent's eyes. You flat-called the flop and flat-called the turn.
Generally that's a sign of a made hand, and opponents won't expect you to all of a sudden turn that made hand into a bluff. Your range in his eyes seems very strong, and with the second jack falling you can very credibly rep that jack.
Which is why it's such a profitable play. Your opponents don't expect it. You're bluffing in a spot where you can only have made hands. It makes your bluff that much more credible.
The key component in turning your made hand into a bluff is that your hand strength can't be so strong that you have more equity in seeing a showdown. Your hand has to actually gain equity when you turn it into a bluff.
If it meets that criteria and you're up against someone that can read hands, you have a great spot to do it. Your opponent will never expect you to ruin a hand with showdown value by bluffing it!