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♦7♥.
I like calling here with the deep stacks against what appears to be a likely narrow (though strong) range. The flop came 8♥5♥4♣ 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♠ turn I checked, this time preparing to fold if he bet again, but he checked behind.
The river was the 2♦. 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.