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Finding The Right Spots To Bluff In PLO 5 By Aditya Sarkar Poker
Aditya Sarkar
Posted on 23 Jul, 2021
By Aditya Sarkar
On 23 Jul, 2021
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By Aditya Sarkar
On 23 Jul, 2021
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Finding The Right Spots To Bluff In PLO 5 By Aditya Sarkar


PLO 5 is a tough game to find good bluffing spots. With changing board textures, it can get challenging to pull off a bluff. So when do you bluff? Here are a few instances.

  • Small ball poker- tester bets on the flop in position and take it down without a contest. Small ball poker canoe did more profitably against tight / tight-aggressive If you can say takedown pot with a 0.7 pot Cbet 4 out of 5 times, you will make a positive EV off of this play.
  • Small ball poker, position betting with low equity, but the opponent has EVEN LOWER equity through you having blockers or a read on his ranges. If you have BOTH blockers and you beat his range then it is an automatic Cbet.

Example: You have an Ah 10h 10s 9c 6h  in position and Flop goes Aj 5s Jc, not only do you know that a specific opponent almost always 3 bets pre-flop with aces but you block his wrap outs (blockers) for him to continue profitably post-flop. He can only carry on with a set of jacks set of 5s or a rare 2 3 4 which could’ve been weeded out with the preflop position bet.

Blockers: When you have a high likelihood of ‘blocking’ the IMMEDIATE nuts or/and blocking the POTENTIAL nuts on the turn/river.

  • You are 3-way post-flop and you have 77 Q J 8 hearts and spades, flop goes 6 8 9 rainbows. Not only are you blocking the IMMEDIATE nuts but also blocking POTENTIAL higher straight draws and also a set of 8s. This is an easy cbet, even in a full ring game.
  • You are 4 way, you have the ace of hearts and the turn card completes the flush. You can bet pot turn and river as you block the nuts should the flush nuts hold out on the river. Other considerations being your oppositions’ image, your own image and stack sizes / SPR before making this decision.

Bluffing by the street

Check Bet Bet or Bet bet bet (2 or 3 barrel bluff/semi-bluff)- when you play deep stack PLO you can think of a 2 / 3 streets bluff when you feel that your hand is favourable to reach the river in terms of equity. The beauty of PLO or any variant of poker is that- there are many hands that you can win without showdown- the is when your opponent does not have the nuts and also where the opponent is fairly scared to call without having said the top 2-3 hands. If you can eliminate those holdings then you can pre-plan a few bluffs. What does that mean?

Example:

Say Flop is Kh Qh 3c and you have Ah Jh 10s 9s Qc. Obviously, you’ve flopped the joint here. This you know that unless the board pairs that you hold the nuts, you can comfortably bet this 3 streets in most scenarios. Let’s say that action is 3 way (60 bigs each) on the flop and you are on the button. You bet pot when the action checks to you, and the opposition calls. When the opposition calls out of position you know he doesn’t have kings there, as it is very tough for him to slow play kings on that board and you have all the redraw blockers so it isn’t that he is extracting value. Yes, he could have some 3s and some K Qs that he is playing cautiously. Once he calls you can put him on a weaker draw like 2nd nut flush draws, some K Qs, but remember a few K Qs are off as you have a Q. In this case, when he flats, he perhaps has a weaker drawing hand that allows you to put in a tester 0.5X-0.6X bet on the turn should the board pair. This is a bluff and it allows you to maintain control over the hand.

Also when you have nut flush or nut straight blockers, you significantly reduce the combinations of holdings that will call off multiple streets, at least a fairly tight player allowing you to safely execute 2 or 3 barrel bluffs – this gets easier by practice. When you play more and practice in position betting, you will find that is easier to maintain control over the hand and execute pot control.

ALSO READ: Approaching PLO 5- A Beginner’s Guide By Aditya Sarkar

So remember:

  1. It is best to do lesser stealing / bluffing as board textures almost always give the opposition some equity to carry on in subsequent streets
  2. If you are 3 way or lower at the table, you can bluff more profitably than otherwise and pick up spots with lesser equity and the above-stated hands as potential bluffing spots
  3. It is best to stick to hands where you have equity post-flop, avoid betting in full ring games.
  4. Avoid NAKED bluffing. Bluffs in which you have no equity, no blockers especially in full ring games.
  5. Pick up the players on the table who are more likely to not call with non-nut holdings (tight / rock / tight-aggressive)- mark them with a specific colour or just make a written note of the same. On the other hand, avoid bluffing against tilted players or looser players who are ready to call off with 9th or 10th nuts also.
  6. Practice in position betting for steals and bluffs to maintain control over the flop, invest smaller amounts to get the info that you need, and so that you can get away cheaper should you get check-raised or caught.

PLO5 is a great game of changing hand dynamics, playing nutty holdings, and storytelling- if you align your game to this, it will be easier for you to maintain control over hands/game/bankroll.

Hope you liked this read. Feel free to ping me your thoughts. Stay tuned for the next one!

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