Trying to set up a bluff

I had been going to the 2022 WSOP for the first couple of weeks to grind cash games. I saw some familiar faces from the year before. The area for the cash games seemed to be smaller but the way the tables were set up they could easily spill over to the tournament tables. The action was great, and I had met a few players who were starting to become friends as we sat around and played together. The cool part about where the cash games are running is that there is always the chance to see some of the celebrity pros playing since there is an entire tournament section in the same room.

One of the first nights I went to play, I found myself in a game that was OK. It felt like it was slowly dying as slowly the players left one by one. Just as I was starting to think about going home for the night, a few new players showed up and just like that the game was brought back to life. Now we had a full table that had become sociable. We were all talking, cracking jokes, and some of the players had even started to drink. The action was also good, so good that I had decided to stay and play. That decision ended up with me finally calling it a night around six in the morning. I was stuck about $70 for the session but I walked away happy with the way I played and knowing that I had enjoyed the game.

A few nights later the game I was in died. The floor already started to hand us new table cards to move us. As I was reaching for my card I looked up and saw Joey Ingram walking up to the table. He asked if he could play and as I stood there looking at everyone else it became clear to me that I was the only player standing there that knew who Joey Ingram is. I spoke up and said, “Yes, you can play.” I sat down and convinced the other two players to sit down. I knew that playing with him I could have a losing or winning session, but I was not going to pass up the chance to play with him. Once everyone bought in and we started playing we quickly started to get other players to fill the table. As the night went on, chips were flying all over the place. Some crazy hands were played, and everyone was playing for stacks. Eventually we started to play bomb pots that then escalated to PLO bomb pots. Soon after we asked the floor if we could switch the game to PLO. Just as quickly as it had started it was over.

The night that this hand happened I was at a table that felt like any other session. There were a couple of players that I had met before at the table, and we were talking and cracking jokes as we sat there playing the game. One of the players is a Las Vegas poker vlogger who is just starting out, his channel is called Trap Poker. I am not sure if he came with the intention to film but some of the other players started to entice him to record. Next thing I know we were all talking about his camera set up and people were talking directly to the camera giving unsolicited poker advice. It was fun and it made for some interesting hands. Unfortunately, I didn’t get very many hands that I could play directly with Trap Poker but the one hand we did play together was interesting for a couple of reasons.

  1. He follows my blog, so he has an idea of how I would play some hands.
  2. I watch his videos, so I have an idea of how he can play some hands.

We were at a $1/$3 playing eight handed and Trap Poker was the effective stack in this hand with $230. In his video he has himself marked as the High Jack, which means I was on the button and not the cut off. I remember I was sitting in the 6 seat, and he was in the 4 seat. If seat 1 was UTG then that means the button was on me and explains how he was the High Jack since we were not sitting next to each other.

The hand started out normal with nothing out of the ordinary really happening. There was a limp in the UTG which gave Trap Poker the opportunity to raise it up. The thing about his raising range here is that I think it could be wide to isolate players and cause plays that are behind him to overfold. This is what I think his raising range could look like, but keep in mind that it felt like he was making some unusual plays during the session and because of that I knew that I could be missing parts of his range that he might play in this spot. I was also aware of the fact that he might try to make a play since he was aware of me.

Open Raising Range for Trap Poker

After Trap Poker raised to $15 it folds to me and I look down at KQ off suit. I take a moment to think about and make a 3-bet to $45. The action folds back around to Trap Poker who I fully expect to call. If he does 4-bet then I have pretty good idea of where I am and will have to seriously consider letting my hand go because I don’t think he would 4-bet wide. A side note for future hands we play together; I may have to construct his range differently, but for this specific hand I was confident that would not bloat the pot unless he had a premium. When he calls my 3-bet I think his calling range in this spot looks like this.

Range for calling a 3-bet for Trap Poker

The pot is now $97, and we are going to see a flop heads up. The flop comes out, ten of spades, eight of spades, and a four of clubs. I think I need to proceed carefully because there are plenty of ten-x type of hands in his calling range. My own range could be wide enough to include some ten-x hands but the flush draw favors me more since I can hold more of the nutted flush draws. Trap Poker checks which I think he should and when compared to a solver, most of his range is checking. The only things he will really want to be betting here are hands like sets, flush draws with a pair, and some of his hands with blockers.

Flop solver action for Trap Poker

I could easily continue to bet but I think I need to protect my range against his and make sure that I am not necessarily bloating the pot. This could be considered a mistake when looking at the solver output. It suggests that I should be betting small with more than half of my range, including my specific hand. The thing is that I think he is expecting me to bet at a high frequency. When I check back it does eliminate the top of my range and I cap myself, but it keeps in the more important part of my range, the middle. I can still have a lot of flush draws, flush draws with a pair, and back door draws. One thing I am noticing is that I can consider betting my hand more often when I have no spade. When comparing my overall range to my hand in this spot, I think one could make an argument given the dynamics that a check could be made.

After we both check we get to see a turn and it’s a ten of diamonds. Trap Poker should still be checking most of his range. Most of his checks come from hands like his Ax, KQ, and smaller pocket pair. I think the most interesting thing about his range is that pocket fours are now a pure check. Pocket tens are obviously still checking in hopes that we bet, and the rest of his range is still mixed between betting and checking. If he does bet, I won’t be calling with a losing hand very often. I don’t think Trap Poker has any incentive to bet here and if he does bet, I think it must be a pure bluff or a very strong hand, which means my hand could turn into a bluff catcher. As played, he checks to me and now I have a decision to make, how much to bet?

 

I don’t think I can ever let my opponent get a free river card, even if they are trapping with a hand. In general, when someone checks to you twice, there is a good chance that you could take it down with a bet. Looking at my range there are very few checks. If I do bet, then what I am going to do? I start to get some ideas in my head and decide that I can take a stab at the pot with the possibility to turn my hand into a bluff on the river. Trap Poker doesn’t seem very interested in the pot and it’s not like I have a weak hand, but it’s not very strong hand either. Thinking back to what I think his range looks like I think I can get a lot of his missed Ax, small pocket pairs, and some broadways to fold.  As I think it through and settle on a price, I bet $45. I am not going to be surprised if there is a call, but I would prefer a fold. If there is a call, I must play carefully on the river.

Trap Poker takes control and does the unexpected, he jams $230 into a pot of $142. It doesn’t matter what he has because I know what my hand is. There is no more trying to make a play for the pot on the river. My decision must be made now and honestly, it’s an easy decision. I was caught with the part of my range that can’t ever call.

 

Bizzy’s 2022 Gains: -$2862.11

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