Bluff-Jamming the River when Facing a 2.5x Overbet

What’s going on readers? I’m now back in Las Vegas and am doing my best not to go insane from the ridiculous heat. It’s currently 96 degrees, and for someone who sweats as much as I do, it’s far from ideal. I shouldn’t complain though. I’m lucky to be here and even luckier to be hosted by my friend and former Jack Cleveland crusher, Chris J. Chris moved out here about six months ago and has been grinding full time for close to two years. I’m quite thankful for his hospitality and am looking forward to the next few weeks living together, talking and studying poker, putting in lots of volume, and hopefully making tons of money.

LA Review

Jack, Zach, and I spent the last five or so days in Los Angeles, and I have to say I was honestly a bit disappointed by the poker scene. Don’t get me wrong, the games were definitely solid and generally more profitable than the games I’m used to in Cleveland. I had heard from a variety of sources that the games were unbelievably soft, however, and this was far from the case in the three sessions I played. I spent two of them at the Bicycle Casino where both Jack and Zach made their debuts on Live at The Bike in a 5/T NL game, which I highly recommend checking out if you missed it. The line-up for the LATB game wasn’t that great in my opinion, so with that and my more conservative approach to bankroll management I decided just to play some $5/5 NL. While the two games I sat in weren’t filled with any remarkable professionals or really anyone I felt had an edge on me, there weren’t really any huge marks either. The game generally just played super nitty and was honestly kind of boring. It felt a little bit like I was back at the Jack playing a slightly above average 2/5 game. I played my third session at Commerce, and the games were definitely better there. They spread a nice $5/5 $500 cap NL game and had somewhere between 6 and 8 tables going all night. The only problem with Commerce was its size. I believe it had 60+ tables running the night we were there which made things a bit chaotic, especially for someone like myself who was new to the room. Still, the games were of higher quality and I will certainly be making a return at some point.

Facing a 2.5x Pot Bet on The River

Game: 2/5 NL at Bellagio, 9 handed

Villain: (450) 25-30 year old Dutchman in SB. Villain seems somewhat competent, although is quite over aggressive IMO. Villain is likely a recreational player, or at least he is tonight. He is at the table with his friend from back home and the two of them have been drinking somewhat heavily in my hour or two at the table. Villain likely has an online background, as he has been using a 30-40% c-bet sizing on most boards and consequently is c-betting a pretty wide range. One notable/ spewy hand occurred about an orbit before this hand took place: Straddle pot. UTG limps, UTG +1 limps, Dutchman limps UTG +2, hero raises to $50 with 99 in CO, folds to limpers who all call. Flop Qs6s5h, checks around. Turn 3d, UTG leads 65, +1 calls, Dutchman raises to 205, hero folds, UTG calls with about 80 behind, +1 calls with about 200 behind. River 3x, checks to Dutchman who jams (with basically no fold equity given his opponent’s pod-odds IMO), UTG folds, +1 calls and Dutchman insta mucks and is clearly at least somewhat frustrated.

Having seen that hand certainly makes me think that villain is over-bluffing quite a bit.

Hero: (650) in BB with Ac4h. Hero is likely perceived as competent and somewhat aggressive professional.

Preflop: (7) Folds to villain in SB, he turns to me and says he never chops and then raises to 15, hero calls.

Flop: (27) 5c5h3c. Villain bets 10, hero calls.

Pretty straightforward spot. I’m calling here thinking I’m sometimes good with just A-high and also with the plan to barrel off on most club turns/rivers, given we’d be blocking the nut flush. It’s quite hard to say what villain’s range looks like here, although I’d imagine he’s c-betting this board extremely frequently, possibly even with 100% of his range.  

Turn: (46) 3d. Villain checks, hero checks.

When villain checks this turn, I think it’s quite likely my hand is good so I elect to check back to potentially induce some bluffs on the river. Betting is pretty pointless unless I’m trying to bluff him off a chop. If villain isn’t c-betting 100% OTF, I’d imagine he’s checking some of his A-high’s, so it’s not incredibly apparent whether or not he has all that many A-high’s once we get to the turn this way. Villain would definitely be betting 5x here as he is likely aware of the fact that he has a somewhat aggressive image and thus should expect to be able to get 3 streets from his nutted hands. The same can be said for his 3x’s although I’m unsure as to whether or not he is betting those hands OTF. I also think it's at least somewhat likely villain would bet over pairs here, assuming he is adjusting to his image and the fact that he can likely get some thin value from A-high type hands. Essentially, I think villain is very likely to be capped OTT and almost equally as likely to be holding air.

River: (46) 3h. Villain bets 125, hero jams for 425 effective, villain quickly folds.

Given our read on the turn and the fact that jamming here only needs to work about 71% of the time to be profitable, I honestly think jamming any two cards as an exploit against this specific opponent is going to be printing money. My exact hand is also one of my best bluffing candidates, as I hold blockers to villain’s most likely 5x and 3x hands, which are what he’s representing when he goes for the 2.5x pot bet here (I think over pairs would likely elect to choose a smaller sizing). I don’t love calling here on the river, since we’re basically calling to chop and thus are getting like .2:1 odds, although I do think it’s probably profitable given how often villain is going to be playing the board. Still, I think jamming is by far the more +EV play, although if people disagree I’d love to hear arguments against it. This is definitely a bit of uncharted territory for me and while jamming happened to work this time, it’s possible I’m being results oriented in saying that it is overwhelmingly the best play.

Anyways, that’s it for now. I’m probably going to go play a shortish session at the Bellagio, so be sure to send me some run-good. As always, thanks for reading, be sure to leave any comments or questions below. Also, for anyone who hasn’t gotten in on the action yet, be sure to check out my WSOP package here. Any questions can be directed to me via email at jonmetzpoker@gmail.com.