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Strategy Vault: Cold Four-Bet Bluffing with Randal Flowers, Pt. 2

Randal Flowers

Digging deep into the PokerNews strategy archives can lead to a buried treasure, so we'll be unearthing a few gems for your viewing pleasure. In this edition of the Strategy Vault series, we'll look back at the second part of a piece from Randal Flowers about cold four-bet bluffing.

In the first part, Flowers talked to PokerNews about the basics of cold four-bet bluffing. For Part 2, we’ll look at how it applies as he recounts a hand he played in which he cold four-bet bluffed on the way to winning a $1,000 buy-in Super Tuesday tournament on PokerStars.

With the blinds at 400/800 with a 100 ante, play folded around to the cutoff seat. That player opened with a raise to 1,820. The button reraised and made it 4,800 to go. Flowers was in the small blind and cold four-bet all in for 28,060 with the {5-Hearts}{5-Spades}. The big blind and cutoff seat folded, but the button called with the {A-Spades}{Q-Diamonds}, creating a coin-flip situation between Flowers and his opponent. The board ran out {8-Clubs}{8-Hearts}{7-Hearts}{J-Diamonds}{4-Diamonds}, and Flowers won the pot.

What was your read on the raiser and reraiser?

The raiser was in the cutoff. He was a really loose player who usually plays cash games of $5/$10 and higher online. He had about 40 big blinds, so he was opening pretty wide in the cutoff. The guy on the button knows that the cutoff is playing a lot of hands, so when he three-bets on the button, it’s a good spot to four-bet out of the blinds because (a) they are opening and reraising their widest in those positions and (b) you have less people to go through in that position that it makes shoving light a lot better because you have less people behind you to wake up with a hand.

It’s interesting because many players would see this play and say, “Why is he making this play with pocket fives? Does he think it’s the best hand?” But really, you are doing this as bluff.

Right, I’m four-betting as a bluff, but when I do get called, I have a decent amount of equity. There’s already around 8,000 in the pot, so when I have 28,000, there’s a ton in the pot relative to my stack. I have around 3.5 times the pot, so I don’t think I’m getting called all that often. Even when he has value hands, I’m just over 50 percent in equity. There was a ton in the pot for me to possibly take down with a shove. I can get the opening raiser to fold better hands than mine and the button is so often reraising weak that he’d just have to fold.

Did you think the three-bettor would fold a better pair?

Well, I don’t know, because I had already reraised the three-bettor once this tournament, so if he had a middle pair and three-bet, he’d be doing that for value, so I don’t think he’d fold. But actually, I don’t think he’d three-bet those hands preflop. I think he’d just flat because those hands are best suited going to the flop, so he’s not going to have as many mid pairs as he is {A-}{K-}, {A-}{Q-} or bluffs, which helps my equity a lot.

You end up getting called, which wasn’t the plan, so looking back at the hand, are you still happy with your play?

Yeah, I like my play because like I said, I don’t think he’s reraising there with sixes through eights, maybe nines, but even if he has those hands, it’s kind of unlucky for me with how aggressive he’s playing.

Is there anything else you want to add about cold four-bet bluffing?

Well, depending on buy-in level, this might not be necessary at all. At lower buy-ins, stack sizes aren’t usually sufficiently deep enough to cold four-bet effectively. Also, I really doubt that players at lower buy-ins are finding other players who are aggressive enough to four-bet bluff.

So this play is best suited for deeper-stacked tournaments with tough fields?

Right. The more often players are folding to your four-bet, the more profitable it is. That means, the more likely someone is three-bet bluffing, the more effective your cold four-bet will be.

This article was originally published on August 26, 2010.

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