Bluff Raising The Turn Strategy

Bluff Raising The Turn In Cash Games

Bluff raising the turn is an extremely powerful and potentially profitable play. Traditionally when people raise a turn continuation bet or checkraise a turn bet, it looks incredibly strong.

For this reason, it is often better to raise the turn as a bluff much more frequently than for value. That is, when your opponents will not be able to weight your ranges correctly and make a big fold with a good hand like top pair top kicker, putting you on a better hand.

So what are the best situations for bluff raising the turn? In the following article I aim to explain the concepts needed to understand the best spots in which you should bluff raise.

Is Your Opponent Betting Wide?

Situations that are great for bluff raising the turn are when your opponent’s double barrel range is incredibly wide as a bluff. There are some spots where a good regular will be betting 100% of their bluff range and in turn, you should make a re-bluff against them. The following is a good example.

You flat a cuttoff raise on the button with 88, the flop comes down: Jc 4d 5s. Your opponent bets, and you call. The turn comes a King of clubs. Your opponent bets again and you decide to raise. Your opponent tanks and folds AJ or KQ.

So why did we raise in this spot? The first reason is that your opponent will put you on a fairly weak made hand range on the turn. He will put you on hands like A4s, A5s, 66-TT and some Jx.

The turn card brings a king, this is generally better for your opponents range than for your range. Your opponent thinks you will fold a lot of your flop flatting range to a turn bet, and almost all of it to a turn and river bet.

Your opponent may also bet any hand that he has in his preflop raising range on this turn card, since he rightly assumes that you will not be able to call very often.

However, when you raise, your opponent will have to put you on turning a made hand in to a bluff for him to even consider calling you. In most low and mid stakes games this barely ever happens.  Your opponent will take a long time and weight your range to 45, 44, 55, KJ and make a fold with some strong made hands and all of his air hands.

If your opponent calls here, you are in a pretty bad spot. Chances are he made a stubborn call with KQ  or AK, or perhaps he is slowplaying with KJ or a set. Sometimes he may even call with a turned flush draw putting you on a strong hand. In this spot I will usually check back on the river. If he happens to have a draw I will likely win the pot, if he has a made hand, he will win the pot. However, just because you get called on an odd occasion, it doesn’t mean the play was bad or unprofitable. If you run this situation a million times, I am sure you will get more than enough folds to breakeven on your play.

Does Your Opponent Value Bet Thinly?

The thinner your opponent value bets, the more weak made hands will be in their range. So for example, in the example above, if you think your opponent will valuebet say QJ or JT again on the turn, it makes it a better spot to checkraise for obvious reasons. That is, if they are not stubborn and will call down with it.

Inversely, if your opponents betting range is more polarized in spots like this. So say your opponent will check back say AJ on the turn, it also makes it a great raising spot, simply because he will more often be bluffing than he is value betting.

What Is Your Position?

I feel like position is very important when you decide to run bluffs like this. Not necessarily because it makes much difference to your range or the hands that you can rep, just because psychologically, your opponent will want to call less when he is out of position. I think if you are out of position and checkraise the turn, it makes your opponent more likely to “see what happens” and peel one off. In these spots you may have to bet the river more often because your opponent will likely call more frequently on the turn.

In general I am more likely to make a play like the previous play when I am in position, however if the spot is remotely good, I will make this play in or out of position.

How Does Your Opponent View you?

If you have been playing crazy, 3-betting lots preflop, being very aggressive with the initiative etc, you are less likely to get away with bluffing in these spots. Your opponent will likely chalk it up to variance and make a hero call against you. His reasoning will be that your loose and aggressive, and will like bluff too much.

If you have an image like the image above, it’s best not to feed into that image too much and bluff in spots like this. However, if your opponent thinks you are a good regular who is not overly loose, chances are you will get away with this much more frequently.

Who Is Your Opponent?

Never makes these plays against fish or really weak players. They never fold top pair, it is their biggest leak and as such, you should just valuebet them when you are stronger and give up when you are weaker.

This play is best against weak regulars. Players who play a standard style, most likely multitabling and players who do not want to make big calls with marginal one pair hands. Against these players, your bluff raise will be extremely effective.

The less dynamic you have with a player, the better. Essentially, in this spot if your opponent has no dynamic with you, he will not be able to peg you on a bluff. Whereas, if you have been battling with your opponent frequently, chances are he will more likely to make a hero call down. Especially, if you have been getting the best of him and you haven’t been to showdown yet.