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Bluff Catching With Only an Underpair

Bluff Catching With Only an Underpair

With the 2019 World Series of Poker coming soon — just about two weeks away! — I've been reviewing hands from previous WSOP events. Today I wanted to share another one from a $5,000 buy-in event in which I found myself contemplating whether or not to call a suspected bluff with a low pair — essentially a "bluff catcher."

The blinds were 150/300 with a 50 ante, and the stacks fairly deep at around 30,000 (it was early). Action started with a big raise to 1,200 from early position from a tight player, and it folded to me in the big blind where I called with {7-Diamonds}{7-Hearts}.

I like calling here with the deep stacks against what appears to be a likely narrow (though strong) range. The flop came {8-Hearts}{5-Hearts}{4-Clubs} and I considered leading with a bet though decided to check. As I discuss in the video below, I was already thinking about having showdown value when checking here (something that will matter again later in the hand).

My opponent then bet big — 2,400 into the pot of 3,000 — which suggested a very polarized range consisting of the best made hands and some draws. I called the bet, then after the {q-Spades} turn I checked, this time preparing to fold if he bet again, but he checked behind.

The river was the {2-Diamonds}. I talk about the idea of making a blocking bet here though I checked, then my opponent bet 7,000 (almost half the pot).

Should I call with my bluff-catcher pair of sevens or let it go? Listen to my analysis and see what I did:

The river definitely felt dicey, but sometimes you can just look and tell your opponent is bluffing, which turned out to be the case here.

Jonathan Little is a professional poker player and author with over $6,800,000 in live tournament earnings. He writes a weekly educational blog and hosts a podcast at JonathanLittlePoker.com. Sign up to learn poker from Jonathan for free at PokerCoaching.com. You can follow him on Twitter @JonathanLittle.

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  • Should @JonathanLittle call a river bet with just an underpair of sevens? Watch and decide.

  • VIDEO: @JonathanLittle analyzes a hand from a $5K WSOP event in which he suspects a river bluff.

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