A Bad Bluff Is Better Than No Bluff
When it comes to the low-stake hyperturbo games – be they the Jackpot SNGs or Heads-up Hyperturbos – my motto has always been “a bad bluff is better than no bluff at all,” a creed that’s served me well over the years. In fact, if there was one quality I could instill in players looking to improve their Jackpot SNG game it would, without a doubt, be the fearlessness of going broke (within each game of course, not as it relates to bankroll management, which remains the single most important factor for any poker player to master). As former poker pro Amir Vahedi famously said: “In order to truly live, you must be willing to die.”
However, most inexperienced hyperturbo players struggle with this aspect of the game. Sure, they can sometimes pull a two-street bluff with a flush-draw, or triple-barrel AK for no real reason other than the fact they hate losing chips with it, but very few are willing to make multi-street bluffing a cornerstone of their Jackpot SNG strategy, even while all the pros do. So let’s look at one such bluff that might not be the absolute ideal one (for reasons we’ll discuss), but is definitely close enough to be applied liberally when playing in the low-stake games.
After the button limps there is something to be said for jamming my remaining 7bbs with QTo and trying to pick up some dead money, though with this being his first limp and me having lost a bunch of chips in the hand previous to this one, I was a little worried about getting trapped by someone looking for a tilt-jam (a strategy I employ fairly regularly myself with good success), but looking back at it now, I think there was still enough equity there to not overthink it and just jam it in. But I elected to just complete and the big blind checked behind.
A fairly uneventful check around, making me think the button was a bit on the passive side and unlikely to be holding a big hand or wheel draw and almost definitely not top pair.
The turn brought an overcard to the board with a second flush draw, and now that I’d determined the button fairly unlikely to be holding a strong value hand, I decided to take my 2-overcard hand and turn it into a bluff, trying to fold out Ax, Kx, QJ hands from the button and begin applying pressure on the Big Blind’s potential 2x, 3x, or a “slowplayed” 7x. My 10 of spades was a good card to be holding since it was a blocker to one of the flush-draws as well as the T9, JT straight-draws. The reason I said this bluff was not the ideal one, however, was because my offsuit Q really didn’t have much value since it did not block any of the potential draws. If it had been a Q of hearts, I would have liked it a lot more as it would be a blocker to the 2nd flushdraw, but as I mentioned earlier, in hyperturbos not every bluff spot can be precisely optimal and with both my overs likely good if they hit on the river (unless the bb backed into some random two-pair hand), I made the decision to fire the turn with the intention of likely following it up with another bet on the river as well. This is also why I sized down my bet slightly – to leave room for a bigger bet on the end – which was the only real difference between how I played this hand and how I’d play an actual value hand like 78 (or any other 8x hand for that matter), where I’d likely bet 80-90 chips on the turn.
Both my opponents elected to just call my turn bet, leading me to suspect weak pairs or draws from both at which point the river brought an offsuit Jack. Although not the absolutely ideal card for me, having blockers to both the nut straight and a QJ/KQ/AQ type of hand that the button may have gotten stubborn with on the turn, the spot seemed good enough to continue with my plan and jam a 2/3 river bet, exactly as I would with my 78 or J8 value hands (aka maintaining balance).
After making my bet both my opponents immediately folded and I took down a nice pot to get back into the game. So while this hand had a couple factors that weren’t exactly how I’d draw them up if I had my way, in a low-stake hyperturbo game, with the right reads and analysis, the spot was definitely solid enough to use as a way to up our aggression at the table and steal some chips from our opponents in a way that they might never have the gumption to steal from us.