# Theory question which has bothered me for a while (semi-bluffing)

NetherlandsRed Chipper Posts: 641 ✭✭✭
Suppose we find ourselves in a situation on the turn where there is a pot-sized bet left. We are in position, heads-up, and it checks to us. We have a non-made hand but with a huge draw. We also have fold equity, in the sense that villain folds a decent portion of his range. We do the maths in a fold equity calculator and see that shoving is +EV as we fold out enough hands and if we get called we have a lot of equity.

OK, fine.

HOWEVER

What if, in this scenario, the hands we are folding out are actually exclusively worse than ours, e.g. worse draws?

What does this mean?

That even though we have a +EV situation, there are better lines available to us? Would it be better to check behind and formulate a river plan? Is there always such a better line available? Is it possible that even though we are only folding out worse it is the ONLY +EV line to take, and we should therefore take it, even though villain can play perfectly against us?
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• Red Chipper Posts: 1,819 ✭✭✭✭
You're conflating two concepts: +EV play and optimal play.

Just because something is +EV does not mean that it is optimal.
• NetherlandsRed Chipper Posts: 641 ✭✭✭
OK, I got that. Let me refine my question: does the fact that I'm only folding out worse suggest I should consider alternative lines?
• Red Chipper Posts: 303 ✭✭✭
The question is: Is your check turn - river plan the higher +EV play? In this spot I don't think that this is the case.
• Red Chipper Posts: 303 ✭✭✭
LeChiffre wrote: »
OK, I got that. Let me refine my question: does the fact that I'm only folding out worse suggest I should consider alternative lines?

You should always consider alternative lines.
• Red Chipper Posts: 1,254 ✭✭✭✭
If there is only a pot sized bet left, you are past the point in hoping to maximize profit if your dominated draw completes.
• NetherlandsRed Chipper Posts: 641 ✭✭✭
jfarrow13 wrote: »
If there is only a pot sized bet left, you are past the point in hoping to maximize profit if your dominated draw completes.

Right that was kind of what I was looking for. Could you elaborate? Are you saying that checking back does not give me as much benefit because there is not as much "implied odds" (for the lack of a better term?)
• NetherlandsRed Chipper Posts: 641 ✭✭✭
edited October 2018
The question is: Is your check turn - river plan the higher +EV play? In this spot I don't think that this is the case.

Right so we are fine with folding out only worse hands?
LeChiffre wrote: »
OK, I got that. Let me refine my question: does the fact that I'm only folding out worse suggest I should consider alternative lines?

You should always consider alternative lines.

Naturally, but maybe there is something about this particular situation that indicates there is probably a better line available.
• Washington, D.C.Red Chipper Posts: 111 ✭✭✭
edited October 2018
You bet to either bluff, realize equity(value), or for equity denial/protection. It seems you want all the benefits of FE against better hands without losing the equity you may have against hands you marginally dominate. I get this is a theory question, but it seems to be threading the needle a bit too much in a game with such incomplete information.

I get the spirit of the question, though and like the thought experiment.
• NetherlandsRed Chipper Posts: 641 ✭✭✭
GGECKO wrote: »
You bet to either bluff, realize equity(value), or for equity denial/protection. It seems you want all the benefits of FE against better hands without losing the equity you may have against hands you marginally dominate. I get this is a theory question, but it seems to be threading the needle a bit too much in a game with such incomplete information.

I get the spirit of the question, though and like the thought experiment.

Cheers!
• Red Chipper Posts: 2,308 ✭✭✭✭
LeChiffre wrote: »
The question is: Is your check turn - river plan the higher +EV play? In this spot I don't think that this is the case.

Right so we are fine with folding out only worse hands?

How do you define "worst hands" ? Even all naked FD against nut FD still have equity.

If you move is +EV, then it's all good.
But as @moishetreats repeated: +EV may not be maxEV. Especially if all draws fold but would have called if both your and his draws completed.
• Red Chipper Posts: 2,659 ✭✭✭✭
Why do you bet in Poker? Answer this and you'll have the key to paradise.
• NetherlandsRed Chipper Posts: 641 ✭✭✭
Red wrote: »
How do you define "worst hands" ? Even all naked FD against nut FD still have equity.

Red wrote: »
If you move is +EV, then it's all good.
But as @moishetreats repeated: +EV may not be maxEV. Especially if all draws fold but would have called if both your and his draws completed.

Agreed, so if we decide to shove we are of course in the +EV realm but there are hands which are worse than ours that are folding, which is not ideal from a theoretical perspective. I'm wondering if we are just OK with it in this spot, or under these circumstances there is really almost always another line to take where we either get value from worse draws or get them to pay of when we hit but I hit better.
Why do you bet in Poker? Answer this and you'll have the key to paradise.

Well, if we consider the 3 main reasons, I guess we are achieving equity denial by folding out these worse hands with some equity. But why would we settle for that if we can find ways to get value from them now or later.
• Posts: 3,385 -
I suspect the reason this question is proving difficult to answer definitively is that it's a bit too broad? If we take a more specific situation (or a bunch of them) and range our opponents, we have a better shot of estimating the EV of checking the turn.

Moderation In Moderation
• NetherlandsRed Chipper Posts: 641 ✭✭✭
TheGameKat wrote: »
I suspect the reason this question is proving difficult to answer definitively is that it's a bit too broad? If we take a more specific situation (or a bunch of them) and range our opponents, we have a better shot of estimating the EV of checking the turn.

The question is not so much what the EV is of checking turn. I'm more interested in the idea that, if shoving turn has highest EV, we are OK with only folding out worse hands. Sorry for not being clear, but I think that's the real question I have.
• Red Chipper Posts: 780 ✭✭✭
The real question is how do we know we are only folding out worse hands?
• Red Chipper Posts: 1,819 ✭✭✭✭
It seems to me that you're creating a hypothetical scenario that is highly unlikely to ever face us: knowing that, were we to bet, we would only fold out worse hands.

That being said, knowing that we would only fold out worse hands when we bet is not a reason not to bet. Otherwise, why open with aces pre-flop?

Back to your original post. To me, there are simply far too many assumptions made in this hypothetical scenario that don't seem plausible. V gets to the turn this way, folding out a decent portion of his or her range, and that decent portion represents exclusively worse hands? Honestly, I'm having trouble coming up with real and with likely scenarios where that is the case.

So, can you give me a situation where this theory is applicable? A plausible scenario when the highest EV play is one which folds out only weaker holdings?

Even with all that said, if you are stuck on getting an answer to your precise question, then, yes, 100%: If the highest EV play is to shove thereby folding out V's hands that we beat, then of course shove -- it's the highest EV play. You'd need to have an extremely compelling reason to deviate from it.
• Red Chipper Posts: 4,296 ✭✭✭✭✭
Why does no one want to answer this guy's question?
• Red Chipper Posts: 313 ✭✭✭
edited October 2018
It isn't necessarily wrong to bet a hand that only folds out worse. Any "worse" hand still has equity and you benefit from denying that equity. The ideas of value and bluff often lead to confusion because there are gray areas. I find it easier to think in terms of realization and denial of equity.

If a certain action has the highest EV, you should take that action. You cannot do better than the highest EV action by definition. The question is, why might a certain action have the highest EV if only worse hands are folding. The answer is equity denial.

You can come up with instances of your scenario but usually the board will be connected enough that some of your opponent's draws also have pairs or a secondary draw (equity you benefit from denying), or your opponent will also fold some non-draw hands (you deny equity to another part of the range), or your hand is strong enough to win at showdown but not strong enough to bet and be called by worse (you prefer to realize your equity).

The other reason to bet a draw even if it only folds "worse" is for the benefit of the rest of your range. Your opponent has no incentive to call unless you have enough "bluffs" in your range relative to the price you lay. Ideally these will be hands with significant equity but no showdown value. But your construction must account for the possible responses from your opponent. Here it's call/fold but you should construct differently if your opponent may raise (and thereby deny some of your equity).

Edit: You'd also construct differently on the river, where you prefer to unblock your opponent's missed draws and block their best bluff-catchers.
• Red Chipper Posts: 2,659 ✭✭✭✭
edited October 2018
@LeChiffre
What about "[...]to make the pot bigger in case you win."
Even if V calls you on turn with better, there are hands in that "better" range that'll still folds the river on some runouts and since you got plenty of equity you can even outdraw some parts of the ''better hands'' range and win a bigger pot when that happen.
• Red Chipper Posts: 1,819 ✭✭✭✭
edited October 2018
Why does no one want to answer this guy's question?

I did:
...if you are stuck on getting an answer to your precise question, then, yes, 100%: If the highest EV play is to shove thereby folding out V's hands that we beat, then of course shove -- it's the highest EV play. You'd need to have an extremely compelling reason to deviate from it.

And I'd be interested to hear your response to his question, as well.
• Red Chipper Posts: 780 ✭✭✭
Why does no one want to answer this guy's question?

I don't know. Why didn't you?
• Red Chipper Posts: 4,296 ✭✭✭✭✭
Because i knew that asking that would draw out better answers or clarifications, which it did, and because i was curious why the trend was to avoid a legit question.
• WisconsinRed Chipper Posts: 306 ✭✭✭
You're only asking half the question. So, we've established that the only hands that will fold are worse. But what hands call? Will he call with hands that are behind? If so, what is the equity of his entire calling range?

Then there's the question of what happens on the river if you check. Will he either call or fold more of his range on the river if you hit? What if you miss?

The optimal path is determined by which has the most EV, based on equities in relation to the pot and bet size.
• Red Chipper Posts: 2,659 ✭✭✭✭
edited October 2018
I think @porter answered it pretty well. As @persuadeo said it before, everything in Poker can be explained through equity denial and realization.

When no worse hands calls your turn bets, you simply charge a price for realization and you deny his ability to realize at no cost with some parts of his range. Also your good to great equity on turn with your non-made hands range wants to win bigger pots(hence you bet*) on river wether by hitting or by making him fold better hands when the runouts are just unfavourable for his range vs yours overall in that river spot.

*Because when you have hands that wants to win bigger pots, when you expect V to not put money into the pot, you'll have to do it yourself, this is why versus nits checking back a strong draws on turn is bad because when the draws hits the river the nits is extremely unlikely to put more money into the pot.
• DetroitRed Chipper Posts: 284 ✭✭
When you say you have "fold equity" I think you are talking about the likelihood that a portion of his range will fold. But you say these are exclusively worse hands. So how much equity do those worse hands have and how much equity are we picking up when they are gone? You also define the +EV of the shove as having come from these worse hands. This doesn't seem like much EV.

It's probably better to base our play on what the better hands will do since they are where the bulk of the villains equity resides.

• NetherlandsRed Chipper Posts: 641 ✭✭✭
edited October 2018
It seems to me that you're creating a hypothetical scenario that is highly unlikely to ever face us: knowing that, were we to bet, we would only fold out worse hands.

That being said, knowing that we would only fold out worse hands when we bet is not a reason not to bet. Otherwise, why open with aces pre-flop?

We open with AA pre-flop for value. That's clearly not the case in my hypothetical scenario where I just have a strong draw and don't have >50% equity against a calling range. The unlikeliness of this situation does not stop me from wondering what the underlying theory dictates. If I understand that folding out only worse hands is OK (in this very extreme example) I can see that folding out some worse hands and some better hands is also fine, etc. By isolating the "only worse hands" aspect I see what is relevant and what is not. That's why I don't give an exact example, because then it turns into a discussion of hand reading and would/wouldn't villain do this or that.
Even with all that said, if you are stuck on getting an answer to your precise question, then, yes, 100%: If the highest EV play is to shove thereby folding out V's hands that we beat, then of course shove -- it's the highest EV play. You'd need to have an extremely compelling reason to deviate from it.

That's what I was looking for :)
This is quite interesting to me, cause it goes against the idea of "bet to fold out better" or "bet to get called by worse", but it's not like we're denying a TON of equity. We're exclusively getting called by better and folding out worse, yet if it's really the highest EV play we gotta go for it. Fascinating imo.
• NetherlandsRed Chipper Posts: 641 ✭✭✭
Roblivion wrote: »
You're only asking half the question. So, we've established that the only hands that will fold are worse. But what hands call? Will he call with hands that are behind? If so, what is the equity of his entire calling range?

Then there's the question of what happens on the river if you check. Will he either call or fold more of his range on the river if you hit? What if you miss?

The optimal path is determined by which has the most EV, based on equities in relation to the pot and bet size.

He only calls with hands that have more equity than mine.
He folds hands that have less equity than mine.

I wasn't really interested in what would happen on the river. I just wanted to ask: IF it turns out that semi-bluffing turn is highest EV, BUT we are only folding out worse and getting called by better... what does that mean/are we OK with that?
• NetherlandsRed Chipper Posts: 641 ✭✭✭
dnoyeB wrote: »
When you say you have "fold equity" I think you are talking about the likelihood that a portion of his range will fold. But you say these are exclusively worse hands. So how much equity do those worse hands have and how much equity are we picking up when they are gone? You also define the +EV of the shove as having come from these worse hands. This doesn't seem like much EV.

It's probably better to base our play on what the better hands will do since they are where the bulk of the villains equity resides.

To me, it's not really relevant what the exact equities are. I'm just looking at worse hands and better hands, and the interesting observation that if indeed our play is highest EV, in doing so we are folding out worse and getting called by better.
• NetherlandsRed Chipper Posts: 641 ✭✭✭
@porter @Adam Wheeler gonna need some more time to understand what you're on about lol
• NetherlandsRed Chipper Posts: 641 ✭✭✭
Sully wrote: »
The real question is how do we know we are only folding out worse hands?

Doesn't matter. Maybe villain tells us exactly what he would do with each hand in his range.