# Blockers vs Blockers?

• Bronze
Joined: 28.01.2012
If you are against an opponent who understands the value of blocking combos and bluff 3bet/4bet/5bets hands with blockers preflop does that then cancel out (or at least decrease) the value of blockers for you when you're playing against them?

Because then you are also blocking many combos in their bluff range and it seems like there could be spots where there is minimal to no value blocking aces or kings.
• 6 replies
• Bronze
Joined: 02.01.2010
You block a higher % of their value range all the time since the value range you block is static: AK, AA, KK (sometimes QQ, JJ, AQ). This means just high cards and broadways.

On the other hand, bluffs are quite a higher percentage since he can use any blocker from A2-A9, K2-K9 to Q2-Q9 suited and offsuit. KK+, AK is 28 combos and A2-A9, K2-K9 is 256 combos.

If we discard one K or A from this we get: 224 bluff combos and 21 value combos. That means approximately that we bluff 2x the % of value than bluff.
• Bronze
Joined: 28.01.2012
Is that always true though?

What about in a spot where they had something like JJ+/AK , A5-A2o as a 4bet range. Not saying people have this range often but lets say they do hypothetically here.

40 value combos
and 64 bluff combos

38.4% of their range is value.

With let's say A5s we block 7 value combos (3xAA,4xAK) and 19 bluff combos (7xA5, 4xA4-A2) so we go for a 5bet jam bluff.

We've then reduced their range to

33 value combos
45 bluff combos

now 42.3% of their range is value

Unless my maths is wrong in a spot like this we would definitely be reducing a bigger % of their bluff range than their value range.
• Bronze
Joined: 02.01.2010
You chose a hand that blocks 5x as a bluff range as well. Use just Ax hands. You will never know exactly how his bluff looks like but if you do, don't use a hand that blocks his bluff, in this case he bluffs with all A5 hands, don't use A5s, use A6s. Get it?
• Bronze
Joined: 29.01.2010

It depends on positions (since you won't always have access to hands like KQ and KJ to use as 4-bet bluffs), but there's no way to know whether or not a hand like 55 or 67s is better. Each one has advantage and disadvantages.

I would say this though, if I could remake the pre-flop hand chart again, I'd probably make a couple of changes.

1) I'd 3-bet even more hands now that hate facing a 4-bet, but do well in 3-bet pots. So I'd always 3-bet AQ from the blinds against a CO open, and probably even do it (mostly) against a MP open. There's no way to tell if this is right, and it's possible in theory we should flat some AQ and 3-bet others, but overall I'd make this change.

2) I'd put more emphasis on hands which have a high amount of equity, but don't have very robust equity. In other words, hands like 75s are usually hands people love to 3-bet bluff (myself included) because they are very easy to play and it's easy to tell when we make the best hand. Hands like Q9s are much tougher. But if you let your 3-betting range gets too polarized, or in other words doesn't flop many "Meh" hands like Q9s or K7s often will, it gets hard to balance your range post-flop in 3-bet pots since there aren't many good check-calling hands.

Again, there's no way to tell what's right here, as your 3-betting range likely needs a combination of everything. But I'd emphasize the higher equity hands which are tougher to play more now, whereas before I used to emphasize 3-betting hands with robust equity a bit more. At the end of the day, against most players who open the button 3-betting with both K8s and 75s is likely going to be profitable in the small blind (since most people open the button too wide and fold too much to 3-bets), so even if in theory K8s is a 3-bet in a GTO range whereas 75s is a fold most anyone who analyzes their database will show a big profit with 75s as well.

3) Removal effects are good, but they don't only reduce strong hands in the opponent's 3-betting range but also reduce his bluffs. So if our opponent is 3-bet bluffing with lots of KXs and AXs as well, whether or not we block an ace or king likely won't be that big of deal. It's not nearly as drastic effect as it is on the river (where the removal effect can be a pretty big deal), so while the removal effect is nice I'd still mostly focus on hands which play well and retain their equity reasonably well.

All that said, I think KQ will just about always be better than 65s or 44, but I imagine there are some exceptions.

Don't really have much input atm unfortunately so I'll be watchign the thread.

edit: original question to matthew's answer:

Just finished Part 2

What is the reasoning for suited connectors as 4bet bluffs? Why not hands with blockers like KQ or 55

• Bronze
Joined: 28.01.2012
Yeah, I actually forgot to discount the 5x blocking factor when I was first doing that calculation and it still came out to like 41% value so it was still blocking more bluff combos even if we use A6s. But then your point still stands and since his blockers is ace heavy we adjust to using blockers which affect his value range more eg. KQ/KJ/QJ right?

However if we don't know which specific blocking hands he uses, does that mean your point in the first post stands, that we are always reducing his value range more? Or are we risking potentially reducing his bluff range more until we know more about the bluff range. Eg. opponent still has JJ+/AK , A5-A2o in this case, but we don't know it, and so we 5bet A5s. Will increasing P(Call) by 6% result in a significant decrease in EV of the play? Or is it not really worth thinking about?

@holmeboy, its interesting you should mention that, as it was reading chapter 2 of Matt Janda's book that got me thinking about this.
• Bronze
Joined: 02.01.2010
When we don't know your opponent's range/frequency too well we play our own balanced range so we are neutral to his actions. If we know his range to some extent we make adjustments that are quite obvious to block more of his value range where possible.

@Janda: He ofc makes a lot of sense and that's what you should ideally do when you are not aware of your opponent's range: balance. We need more than one type of bluff so we can hit all types of board. In old school you'd hear people saying mixing it up. That means exactly that: using more hand types to hit enough of all boards to not have too weak of a range or too defined.

Also, you can reach such aggro dynamic that blockers matter less and less since people stack off super light so then a hand like T9 has blockers because our opponent would ship 99 and TT too... at this point it's just high variance preflop play.