Bluffable boards are generally boards on which your opponent won’t hit that often or boards that he will hit but not often enough to get to break your BFF profitability. The wetter the board the more credibility you will get when betting, but bet too wet boards and you’ll get called way too often.
Dry Boards – Disconnected and rainbow
A92r K84r Q62r T63r
Semi-Dry Boards – Mildly connected and rainbow
JT4r 874r 652r QJ6r
Semi-Wet Boards – Disconnected and two of the same suit
A92cc K84dd Q62ss T63hh
Two High Broadways Rainbow
AKx/KQx/AQx where x is 9 or lower and the board is rainbow
Paired Boards – 4 types
Low Pair Low Card – 225 – good
Low Pair High Card – 22K – good
High Pair Low Card – AA4 – bad
High Pair High Card – KKQ – good
Now it’s time to understand the non-bluffable boards that hit calling ranges very hard and then a big secret
Mono is an abbreviation to monotone. Basically, monotone boards are boards where all the three cards are of the same suit:
A73sss K84ddd Q32ccc
No matter how disconnected the board, I don’t really like to bluff these boards because you do get called/raised way too often.
This one is very self-explanatory, a flop that contains three broadway cards is not good to bluff on,
AKQ KTJ QJT
Three mid cards (between Q and 8)
Mid cards are where calling ranges connect the most on, because high cards have top pairs or overs+Gutshots, suited connectors will hit, every broadway will like most of these boards and even pocket pairs will hit a lot of sets and gutshots in between.
Two mid cards suited(between Q and 8)
For mostly the same arguments as the previous type of flops, I don’t bluff these boards.
Three cards between 2 and 5
It’s very easy to pinpoint why, you’ll get called by any A high and a lot more than you’ve asked for.
Just because you get called way too often on these, we’re going to include them in the non-bluffable section.
986r 765r T97r
These actually are the worst of the worst because they hit your opponent’s range quite hard and also it’s very uncomfortable to bet with air on them. These boards are connected and have also flush draws.
986ss 754hh QJ8dd
Secret #1: This is a very generalised depiction of flops that you should or should not bluff. You have to adjust to your opponent’s calling range and to his propensity to fold flops. Let’s give some examples here:
You open BTN for 3bb with pocket deuces and a VPIP 24 / PFR 16 / 3-bet 7 Big Blind Calls. The flop comes 875ss. Contrary to popular belief and this whole classification upwards from here, you decide to bet ½ pot on the flop. Your opponent folds.
Did you get lucky here or did you actually have the necessary fold equity to make this a profitable bet?
Being a proficient player doesn’t mean that you only have to know these flop classifications and then use them robotically. Your opponent’s calling range will be influenced by a number of factors, but the most important ones are the player that you are raising against, the position from which you’re raising, the position from where he is calling(how many people does he have behind that could overcall of squeeze) his pot odds and how loose he tends to be in calling (stat-wise this is represented by the difference between VPIP and PFR) and also how much he likes to 3-bet instead of call.
This player seems like a normal reg, a bit on the loose side of calling, 3-betting not too much, so immediately we can assign to him most broadways and suited aces, pocket pairs and some suited connectors.
The thing is, most high broadways that he is calling will weigh(in combinations) much more than pocket pairs, for example.
Pocket pairs only have 6 combinations, but a hand like AT will have 16. That’s almost 3 times as much. Now think a little bit about how many broadways are there that just muck when you bet ½ pot on this board. This is enough to get our necessary fold equity.
Conclusion: Most 3 low card below a nine boards can be attacked with air when you’re raising BTN vs SB/BB call or CO vs BTN/SB/BB call because the opponent’s range is weighted towards a lot of broadways and high cards that just muck these boards way too often.
You’re opening from the EP and a 19/17/5 calls your raise in the SB. Observing that this player is a lot tighter in calling preflop and would generally be classified as a Nit, I’m going to assign his calling range as being very tight and containing a lot of pocket pairs. This changes things drastically.
First of all, I’d conclude here that any board with two or three cards that are ten or above is very advantageous and bluffable. Imagine this, how many pocket pairs you can fold on a board like AKQ! If his range is weighted towards pocket pairs then this is an easy equation. You only need 33% of his range to fold, but you’ll get more than 50% usually.
Second conclusion is that boards that look like Axy/Kxy/Qxy/Jxy/Txy where x and y are both lower or equal to a 9, become less bluffable because generally you’ll get called here a lot. The solution to this is double barreling on these boards. You’ll get called by way too many pocket pairs on the flop that fold the turn. This means that even if on the flop we’re not getting enough fold equity, we’re setting ourselves up for the turn to get a lot of fold equity.
Now, the size can be a personal preference here, I’d bet on two or three high card boards ½ pot and then give up if I get called. On Axy Kxy Qxy Jxy Txy I’d personally go for ⅓ pot on the flop and ⅔ pot on the turn to be really really convincing, but if you want to go for ½ pot ½ pot then it’s perfectly fine, this just depends on style. I just think my way is a bit more convincing when I bomb the turn and invest the same amount of money as if you go half half.
Conclusion number 3 here is very important -> low card boards become non-bluffable, no matter how disconnected. 962r is not great anymore because 77 is going to call down, most of the time, at least two streets here and triple barreling with air in these spots is not really recommended.
Secret #2 – This is EXTREMELY IMPORTANT! If you are talking to someone else or watching something on the side of reading this article, cease and desist immediately! This is probably the most important thing that you’ll read all day! Now pay attention:
If you call a raise pre-flop made by a reg or a nit, and the flop comes non-bluffable(in any of the upwards categories), and he checks, think about it! Don’t just play ABC!
Let’s think this through – 986ss is down there your opponent raised from CO and you called in the BTN with 22. CO Checks. Now isn’t it terribly illogical to not bet any piece of value here on the flop for protection? Wouldn’t he bet a lot of hands that are strong, because he’s getting called by literally loads of draws and lower pairs? TPGK+ always bets here, all draws always bet here, so then when your opponent checks, his range will most of the time be 80% AIR! Sure, you might add that he’s also check/calling some weaker TP/2pair and others, but vs those you can just barrel him off his hands! Most opponents do NOT bet air on these boards to balance a little bit at least and then when they check they just have an infinite amount of air in their range! ATTACK!
Well, maybe not even 80%, maybe more or maybe less, but remember that you can bet half pot here and you only need 33% fold equity in these particular spots to get away with it and make a profit with those small pocket pairs that missed sets or with that KJo that you should have maybe 3-bet pre-flop because it hits the flop rarely, but more on that later. *the most important wall of text in your life, over*
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