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Jonathan Little Reveals One of His Favorite Bluff Spots

Jonathan Little
  • Hand analysis: @JonathanLittle describes a hand illustrating one of his favorite types of bluffs.

  • Low risk/high reward: In certain spots, a small bet works just as well as a big one when bluffing.

I have another interesting hand to share with you this week, this one coming from a €5,000 buy-in satellite event I played a while back. As I say at the start, this hand presents an example of one of my favorite types of bluff to make.

The blinds are 400/800 with a 100 ante — it's well before the money bubble — and I'm in late position with a stack of just under 20,000 when I am dealt {5-Hearts}{4-Hearts}. It folds to me and I raise to 1,700, and a good, tight-aggressive player in the big blind calls.

The flop comes {A-Hearts}{J-Diamonds}{2-Hearts}, giving me a flush draw plus a gutshot straight draw. Having started the hand with a 25-big blind stack, this is a spot where I wouldn't mind getting it all in having such strong draws plus the fold equity I'd likely also have were I to push.

My opponent checks and I continue for 1,800, and he calls, meaning he probably has an ace, a jack, or a draw. The turn is the {9-Spades} and he checks again.

As I explain on the video, here is a good spot to pause a moment and think about how you would play, say, top pair. What would you do? I would likely check behind, and in fact that is what I choose to do here as well with my draws. Part of my reasoning here is that you often want to play your bluffs like you play your value hands, and in this case my turn value betting range is actually quite small (which makes my turn bluffing range small, too).

The river then brings the {A-Clubs} and another check from my opponent, and I bet just 2,300 into the 8,300 pot. Take a look at what happens, and hear as well my explanation for the small bet sizing of my bluff here on the end.

This hand shows how it is important to analyze your opponent's range and realize when he or she will fold a decent portion of that range to a river bluff. Especially when you are trying to get junky hands to fold — such as busted draws — you should consider making a small bet.

How would you have played this hand? Let me know in a comment below.

Jonathan Little is a professional poker player and author with over $6,300,000 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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