BLUFF CATCH (BC) is convenient anytime we find ourselves in a bluff-catching situation on the river. For the same reason we can only use the BC on the river in a situation where Villain has made a bet.
To run BC we will need to input:
- The range we expect Villain to Value bet
- The range we expect Villain to have checked (optional)
- Blockers that we may be interested in (optional)
When we run BC it will display:
- How often we can expect Villain to be value betting
- How often Villain would have checked
- How often Villain is expected to have air
- Hero's equity vs. each of the above ranges
- The EV of the call
The graph will look something like this:
The bars tell us the frequency for each range.
The circles tell us the equity we have against each range.
BC combines frequencies and equities to calculate the expected value of calling. The results is displayed at the top of the module:
Let's get started with a hand example. I suggested downloading the example and loading it into PokerJuice.
The game is $0.50/$1.00 with antes. We open from CO and we get called from a loose passive player from SB and BB completes. The flop comes:
We hit a pretty good flop and decide to cbet. Hero cbets, SB calls and BB folds. Now is good time to put SB on a range.
Let's start preflop. Being a loose passive player we think that he completes the SB with a range similar to PJ First in 50% and that he would have 3bet a tight 3bet range of about 4%.
We click the P-icon and include PJ First in 50% and exclude PJ 3bet oop 4%:
On the flop being a loose passive player we think that he will call in this spot with:
- Any A or better
- Any flush draw
- Any 9way wrap
The PokerJuice Syntax looks like this: A+,ss,542+
We also think that he only raises the flop with AA and nothing else. Since he called and didn't raise we exclude AA from his range. Flop continuation range looks like this:
Turn goes check-check. This mean that we cannot exclude anything from his range on the turn. We leave the turn input fields blank:
By leaving it blank we automatically include his entire turn starting range.
We go to the river. Villain bets out half pot:
So, what does this mean? We think that he would have bet big with 56, so first thing we want to do is to exclude this hand from his river range:
Other than that we cannot rule out much at this point.
We open BC to examine his river range. To run BC we have to:
1) Determine Villain's value bet range
2) Determine Villain's checking range
3) Enter blockers we might be interested in (optional)
Let's do that then.
1) When Villain is betting this size we think that he is value betting is range consisting of:
- All sets
- All non nut straights
The PokerJuice Syntax for this is simply 22+ (any set or better). We enter 22+:
If we hover over the 22+ we can see that PokerJuice automatically converts this to all sets and all straights. Notice that this includes the nut straight 56 but this is ok, since we have already removed that hand from his river range.
2) We think that he would have checked all his 2 pairs in this spot. We enter a checking range of 32+:
Again if we hover over 32+ we can see that it is converted to all hands 32 or better.
We now have an overlap between the checking range and the value bet range. However, PokerJuice will automatically subtract the value bet range from the checking range, so that the checking range in effect looks like this: 32,42,43,72,73,74,A2,A3,A4,A7
3) We would also like some information about the 5 blocker. The total input looks like this:
We are now ready to execute the module, so we click the play button and we get the following results:
EV Call: $27.80
The graph shows 3 bars and 3 circles. The 3 bars tells us how often Villain:
- has a value betting hand (26.22%)
- has a checking hand (35.55%)
- has air (38.23%)
Note: this distribution is before Villain made a decision to bet. Villain decided to bet, so the relationship between value bets and air is what's interesting.
The EV Call is $27.80 so given our assumptions this is a clear call. Let's take a closer look why this is the case.
If we hover over the Value bet bar we can see how often Villain is allowed to bluff:
This is based on the pot odds that Hero is getting. In this spot Hero is getting 3:1, so to be balanced Villain should bluff exactly 1/3 of the times he is value betting to make Hero indifferent to calling. This amounts 8.70% of Villains entire river range (before betting).
Note: This frequency is assuming that Hero always has a bluff-catcher (0% equity vs. value bets) and is never slowplaying a big hand. If that was the case Villain's optimal bluff frequency would be smaller.
Question is, does he have that much air in his range to bluff? If we take a look at the Air column we can see that 38.23% of his river range is what we constitute as air (worse than two pair). So in this case he has plenty of air.
If we at the same time assume that he is bluffing his entire river range (which we do by leaving his overall river range blank - only excluding 56) then we realize why the EV of calling given these assumptions is so high. In examples 2 & 3 we will look at adjustments we can make to make this a closer decision.
Let's make Villain a little less bluff happy. Let's assume that he does not turn his top pair hands into bluffs but elects to check anytime he has top pair or better. We adjust our input:
We rerun BC and we get the following results:
EV Call: $18.63
As we can see we have moved a large portion of Villain's range from his air range to his checking range.
Let's talk a little bit about the blockers. Hover over the dark grey part of the Air column and you will see this:
The 5 blocker amounts to 4.67% of Villain's entire river range. However, recall that he was allowed to bluff 8.70% of his river range. What does that tell us? Let's draw a line to make it more clear:
This tells us two things:
1) If Villain bluffs all his air he is over-bluffing and we have a profitable call with our bluff-catcher.
2) If Villain only bluffs with blockers he is under-bluffing and we should fold our bluff-catcher.
Comparing the optimal bluff frequency to our air column quickly gives us a visual indication of what our best play is.
Let's continue where we left off in example #2. But let's now assume that Villain is only bluffing here when he has at least a blocker. We do that by narrowing his betting range on the river:
Villain bet the river and we are now assuming that he has at least a 5 in his hand. He may or may not have a straight but he has at least a 5. Let's see how that changes the BC results:
EV Call: $-5.72
This is a drastic change from the previous two examples. What is this graph telling us? It tells us a couple of things:
1) First of all it tells us that if he has a 5 in his hand he is never checking. He is either value betting or bluffing the 5. That makes sense.
2) He now also does not have enough air for us to be able to call. He will be value betting too often.
3) And finally all his air is made up of the 5 blocker - as expected.
So, given these assumptions our very profitable call now has negative expectation.
We have seen how we can utilize BC to get a very clear view of the composition of villain's range when we are bluff-catching. These are spots where a lot of players feel "lost" but practicing bluff-catching with BC will very quickly help you get a much better feel for these spots and help improve your win-rate significantly.
I hope this article was useful. Please do not hesitate to contact us. You can find me on Skype or in the PokerJuice Community.