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"The top of your folding range"

    • Garvante
      Joined: 12.10.2014 Posts: 13
      I'm interested in your thoughts on choosing hands to bluff with when

      - your opponent has already bet and your action ends the round (all three streets).
      - on the turn, you are the aggressor and your opponent has position on you.

      As the title suggests, in the first instance I have been taught to bluff the top of my folding range.
      So far, that has meant for me to bluff hands like 3-Flush + 3-Straight on the flop and 4-Straights or 4-Flushes on the turn. On the river without initiative I have been vastly underbluffing since there I can no longer use draws to bluff.

      When you bluff the top of your folding range, do you bluff draws or high cards and small pairs with some showdown value? Why?
      On the river, what does the top of your folding range usually look like?

      On the turn, with initiative and without position, Philip Newall writes to "take the most value through to the next round". In theory that would mean to bluff with better hands if your opponent usually bets when you check to him and to bluff with worse hands when your opponent often checks behind. Assuming your opponent is an experienced and well balanced player, how do you handle this situation? Why? (Good draws without any showdown value are always a dilemma for me in this position. Example: 5s4s on KsTsJh2c)

      Thanks to everyone contributing to this thread. I hope to hear a lot of opinions.
  • 4 replies
    • zoohie
      Joined: 15.10.2015 Posts: 1
      I actually do not know how to bluff with a pot limit...
    • Avataren
      Joined: 28.04.2010 Posts: 1,745
      thats okay because this is the Fixed Limit section ;)

      and OP i dont really have an answer because it all depends on opponents and cards. but generally I don't bluff a lot and when i do its something as simple as AKo on low boards. not that it could be called bluffing rather than valuebetting on my limits.
    • kavboj84
      Joined: 16.06.2011 Posts: 2,173
      IMO ideas which sound like "bluff n% of your range", or either "top of your range" / "bottom of your range" are wrong. These come from a model of poker which tries to map cards onto an order of clear cut chances, and once you realize how complicated poker is you can see how bad that model applies to it.
      First it's hard to establish a clear ranking of the hands. In which way are they the top/bottom ? Regarding showdown value ? Or draw equity ? Or implied odds ? Maybe relative fold equity ? Each of these qualities are mixed in versatile and often opposing ratios among hands in a range and they often. A low pair on some boards may have high showdown value and low implied odds +draw equity, on other boards like A347 a 55 with a flushdraw may have low SD value but a shitload of implied odds and draw equity. But its still that pair of fives, if you rank your hands in absolute hand strength as people usually do, like nothing<pairs<overpairs<2pairs etc.. .In the latter case in some spots you'll make a huge mistake like overrating that hand as a so called 'bluffcatcher', and maybe underrating it as a 'bluff'.
      Secondly you can't just take on quality and create a ranking based upon it. You pick draw equity for example, you'll have only draws in your bluffing range, and on some boards when all draws hit you'll have no bluffs. If you go for SD value, you might end up making only worse hands fold. If you go for relative fold equity say you bluff with the nut low then you surely make better hands fold, but you may not have enough fold equity to bluff with plain air.
    • YohanN7
      Joined: 15.06.2009 Posts: 4,711
      Individual hands move around different ranges as cards peel off. (Maybe this is what kav is saying.) A turn bluff with 6 high can turn into the stone cold nuts on the river, a TP turn value bet can turn into a questionable bluff catcher on the river. This means you have to reevaluate hands constantly. Only on the river is it clear what is the "bottom of your range". On any particular street, given a particular board, you can probably determine how many, and which hands to bluff fairly correctly, but always reevaluate when the next card peels. Unlike kav, I believe it is possible, while not easy, to define "top of folding range".

      Another point. This is more of a speculation than established truth: Even good players call too much when faced with a check-raise bluff. They look at the pot odds they get and then determine how much to call. This is correct when faced with a bet (donk), but not when faced with a check-raise. The result is that they become exploitable. You can conceivably move some bluffs from a check-raise to a donk-bluff, especially on scare cards. They get worse odds and possibly call less. The result would be more succeeding bluffs and cheaper failures. This is an exploitative (and exploitable) move unless you balance it carefully.

      You say you vastly underbluff on the river. This is easily solved. Tend to bluff (on turn) with draws containing low cards (a number of these easily belong to the top of the folding range on turn (because you (barely) don't have sufficient odds to call). When they bust on the river, just bluff with them. A small ace high flush draw, especially with a good kicker or a small pair is better used as a bluff-catcher on the river when they bust. They are senseless to bluff with.