Jonathan Little Attempts a Weird Bluff (in Perhaps the Worst Possible Manner)

Jonathan Little Attempts a Weird Bluff (in Perhaps the Worst Possible Manner)
  • @JonathanLittle has second thoughts about his river bluff in this World Series of Poker hand.

  • Bluffing the river requires a coherent "story" be told beforehand by actions on previous streets.

Today I want to share an interesting hand from a $3,000 buy-in World Series of Poker event that, well, I probably messed up. The hand features a somewhat strange river spot where I attempted a bluff — one I didn't necessarily set up as well as I could have with my prior actions in the hand.

It was early in the event, with the blinds 50/100 and effective stacks around 9,000. A player in middle position raised to 300 and it folded to me in the big blind where I'd been dealt {K-Hearts}{10-Diamonds}. I discuss below how with such deep stacks calling is somewhat mandatory in this spot (and three-betting sometimes okay, too, against certain opponents).

I called, and the flop came {8-Hearts}{9-Diamonds}{6-Hearts}, giving me a gutshot to a straight, a backdoor flush draw, and two overcards. I checked, my opponent continued for 550 — a large bet relative to the 650 pot. I check-raised to 1,500 and my opponent called, bringing the pot to 3,650.

The turn was the {3-Diamonds} — not too good for me — and we both checked. Then the {9-Hearts} came on the river, and I bluffed by betting 2,500, trying to represent the flush. But with a flush draw wouldn't I have bet the turn, too?

See what happens in the hand and hear my analysis of both my own and my opponent's decisions on each postflop street.

Even though I won this hand, that doesn't mean I necessarily played it well. Looking back, perhaps betting the turn and jamming the river would have been better. Or checking the turn and overbetting the river. What a weird spot!

Jonathan Little is a professional poker player and author with over $6,500,000 in live tournament earnings. He writes a weekly educational blog and hosts a podcast at You can follow him on Twitter @JonathanLittle.

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