Big Blind Pushes All-In for $160k On A Bluff

Aug 17 2012 |

Today's hand is going to be a little different from the rest. I've been looking on a hand-tracking site called "Poker Table Ratings." This site tracks hands from various sites and puts them into a database for all to see. The hands are all from cash games and feature some of the biggest pots online. They have a top hands list through which visitors can replay some of the biggest hands played. I'm not a huge fan of the site myself, but I do find the big pots interesting and thought I would review one in particular.

It's amazing how some high-stakes players can play so terribly. Of course, I do need to take into account that I do not know the history between the players, but in this particular case, I personally feel this is a big fish move and can't fathom how one could make this play.

The hand is at a $500/$1000 Texas Hold 'Em table. Both players are fairly deep and effective stacks are about 180 big blinds. This is almost double the normal buy in of 100 big blinds.

We start with the player on the button raising to $2,000, which is a min raise. This is a common practice when playing heads up poker.  The big blind 3 bets to $6,000, which is also standard. The button comes over the top to make it $15k total, and the big blind flats.

big blind bluff

The button holds KK and the big blind has A8 off suit. Everything the button player has done thus far is perfect. However, the big blind is making a very suspect play by 3 betting. A hand like A8 off suit is one of the worst hands you could 3 bet with, in my opinion. It does have blocking value, since BB has an ace it lowers the odds the button will have Aces or a better ace. But, when you get called with a hand like this it's very difficult to do anything with it post flop.

If you hit the ace, you will either be outkicked or get no value from it by betting. It's very difficult to play a weak ace out of position as it is, let alone in a 3 bet pot. Big blind’s hand at this point is a stone cold bluff and I can't see him doing this for value as there is none to be had. He will have the advantage of being able to fire the first c-bet and put pressure on the button, but that's the only advantage they may have.

To make matters worse, the big blind simply flats the 4 bet with a very bad hand out of position. My only guess at this point is he’s either a very bad player or planning to lead the flop as a bluff regardless of what comes. This is a bit of an odd and not to mention risky play, since it will be fairly obvious to a good player what he is doing.

Here's where the play gets interesting. I mentioned at the top that both players were deep and effective stacks were about 180 big blinds. The pot after the pre flop raising is now $30,000. Both players still have a lot of money behind and will be left with plenty of choices. I point this out because if they were not as deep (for example, playing only 100 big blinds deep), a bet on the flop would likely be pot committing. 
 

So, the big blind is first to act and just jams his remaining stack of $160,000 in the middle. He’s risking $160,000 to win $30,000. He’s giving himself a little over 5-1 odds to win this money, which is terrible. He also has no hand at this point and is hoping the button has nothing. It is putting maximum pressure on the player, but they will get called much more often as this just looks suspect.

out of position bluff

The flop is 334, which is unlikely to hit either player, but an Ace high hand like AK or AQ may elect to call here. Being that the button made a 4 bet, his hand range is going to be very strong in theory. Yes, they will be bluffing at times, but just shoving your whole stack on a wing and a prayer hoping this is one time they are bluffing is not a very solid way to play poker. 

As we know the button has KK and makes an easy call scooping up a $350,000 pot. I should say scooping up the money the big blind gave him, but that's putting it gently. 

high stakes bluff out of position

We do not know the history between these two, but it's safe to say that making this type of all-in on the flop is never a good play. The player may have been tilting or just a bad player with lots of money. Whatever the case may be, this is just a terrible play.

If you wish to view the hand for yourself, you can check it out here on PokerTableRatings.com Leave comments below or on facebook of how you feel about this play and share your thoughts with us.

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