Wednesday, January 16, 2008

The "Scare Card Bluff"

One of my favorite moves is the "Scare Card Bluff." Essentially it goes down like this:

Aggressive player with position raises preflop. Flat call with decent starting hand from the blinds. Flop comes ugly, usually a single face with some type of draw, the more obvious the draw the better. For example, flush draws are awesome. 3 connectors may potentially work as well but results may vary.

Identify the draw quickly and check quickly to help enhance opponent feeling you may be on draw plays. Aggressive player will raise with ATC most of the time. Flat call. Timing of call is based on how you have previously played your draws. You must be aware of your own image in order for this to work.

If turn card hits the draw, you have two options. A) Raise big quickly B) check-raise big as aggressive player will typically overbet or probe bet. If you get called, then river is up to you. You can push real hard on river and hope he doesn't have what you are bluffing. Or you can cut your losses and check down. Once again, table image is a big factor in your success. (PS don't pull this on maniacs who will call down with any mid or top pair! This move works better with players you perceive as ABC-type of poker players, more on that at a later date.)

If turn misses, flat call any value bet and cross your fingers that your scare card hits on river.

If it does, you're golden, lead out your big bet of 3/4ths pot. A check-raise obviously won't work here as you'll get checked behind and lose the opportunity.

Here is an example of this move. Hand occurred during my "Lunch Break Poker Session" today:

Table: .10/.25 NLHE cash - 6max

Checked around to button who is an aggressive tight player, very ABC poker. Raise from position with AxFace. Not a whole lot of hands but will play them aggressively. Raise pot to $0.85. SB folds. DubsPoke calls from BB with KcQs.

Flop: Jd - 4h -4d

Check my two overcards. Button raises pot. I call quickly as I set my move into play.

Turn: 8s

Check my two overcards. Button raises quickly just slightly less than pot. He is obviously trying to protect his hand from draws. I figure he has A-J.

River: Kd

BINGO! He has to be scared I just called him down with the draw and hit. PLUS I also paired one of my overcards so I do have an out if he decides I don't have the flush I have represented. I raise slightly over 3/4 (around $8 into $10 pot). Villian types in "nice river" and folds. I will refrain from highlighting the other nice thoughts he had about my "call down to the river on only a draw."

A few hands later, I'm dealt Aces in the CO. I raise preflop 3x BB. Get called by SB, BB, and Villian I had just abused in the hand above. Villian is in MP. Flop comes J-and two suited undercards. After SB and BB check, villian opts to raise pot again (once again ABC poker player defending a hand against the flush draw). I reraise here to isolate Villian. He reraises all in for his $40 stack (huge overbet because he's on tilt). I tank and call for my $30 stack and double up as his A-J (no flush draw) doesn't improve.

Fun stuff.

See ya at the virtual felt,


FT BR: $815 (terrible day on Monday where I got tilted after my first hand of the day was AA and got whooped by gut shot straight draw that nailed on river. Proceeded to lose with A-k, A-q, QQ, and A10sooooottteed in a matter of 15-20 hands. This is a game about emotion control. I didn't have it and it cost me $100. Lesson learned. Moving on.)

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