I wasn’t involved in the hand I’m about to write about, but it stuck out in my mind. Let’s see if you can pick up on why this bluff was made.

It took place during the 2 p.m. Deepstack tournament at the WSOP in Las Vegas. For clarity purposes, I will refer to these two players as College Kid and Cool Guy, which would be accurate descriptions. The College Kid was a TAG player (Tight-Aggressive), and the Cool Guy was a Calculating Maniac. He also wasn’t much older than College Kid. Cool Guy was the one bluffing.

The Hand

Both players had about the same stack size: 330,000, which was a ton of chips. They were both about to be in the money, and if they had both sat back and stayed out of trouble, they probably would have been deep in the money.

College Kid raised to 22,000 pre-flop from UTG+2 when the blinds were 3,000/6,000.

Cool Guy called from third position.

Everyone else folded.

Flop: A6T-rainbow.

College Kid checked. This is where College Kid made his first and biggest error. If he had the Ace, he would have bet here. Very few players are checking the flop with top pair in that spot. This let Cool Guy know that College Kid had a big pair, but not AA.

Cool Guy bet 40,000.

College Kid called.

Turn: K

College Kid checked again. At this point, College Kid could be slow-playing a set, but Cool Guy didn’t think that was the case.

Cool Guy bet another 40,000. This was a strange bet because it was on the small side based on the size of the pot. A good player like College Kid would think this was a value bet, which meant he was likely beat by the Ace or the King. Cool Guy had taken control of the hand.

College Kid called.

River: 5

College Kid surprisingly bet 50,000 into Cool Guy. This was confusing and now it looked like he was value-betting. College Kid must have thought this was his only chance at winning the pot, but he wasn’t willing to apply maximum pressure, which was playing not to lose and would cost him. If College Kid shoved here, he would have won the hand.

Cool Guy raised to 150,000.

College Kid folded QQ face-up, thinking it was a good fold.

Cool Guy showed J9-off, which gave him Jack-high.

Bluff Impact

After that hand, College Kid quickly bled off all his chips due to tilt. As the saying goes, “They go quicker than they come.” This pertains to chips.

Cool Guy changed gears and coasted to the money. I cashed in this event, but he outlasted me. I don’t know where he placed, but he had plenty of chips, about 650,000.

There are two important lessons that can be learned from this hand. One, don’t play not to lose. That’s how you DON’T WIN. Two, don’t show your cards!

Tyler Nals

If you love poker, then you're in the right place. My poker strategy books are written for the beginner-intermediate player, and many readers have told me that these strategies have helped them turn a profit. My books are easy to understand and written from a macro perspective on how to win as a poker player. You will also find an entertainment angle. Regardless of what level poker player you are, you might enjoy A Fishy Poker Tournament, The Dark Side of the Felt, and The Poker Office. These are poker adventure books, not poker strategy books.

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