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Why should we 3-barrel bluff with missed big draws?

  • donthomasj (Silver Spring, MD)

Eric: Ever since I first heard from WPT that we should consider 3-barrel bluffing with missed big draws (eg 14-15 outs), I could never convince myself why. All I remember hearing is that it gave us balance numerically. Yet, I could not convince myself based upon math, blockers, nor range vs range concepts.

I would like to perform 3-barrel bluffs based more on the latter concepts ... realizing that the latter concepts are more advanced and complicated to think through (any guidance you have is much appreciated to delve deeper).

This week, I read a hand from Doug Polk that increases my curiosity into questioning this, and I wonder what your current take is on this 3-barrel bluffing recommendation vs a hand such as follows:


1-2 Cash game, 100BB ES

Hero, HJ raises 2.5BB, only BB calls

Flop: KcJc8s ... BB checks, Hero bets 2/3 pot, BB calls

Turn: 4d ... BB checks, Hero bets 2/3 pot, BB calls

River: 5s ... BB checks ... which hand is a more effective bluff on the river? QdTd or Tc9c?


I chose the latter based upon our "big draw 3-barrel-bluff" concept ... but the answer said I was wrong because:

QdTd blocks a bigger part of Villain's calling range to the River (blocks, KQ, KT), plus we do not block any of the Villain's flush draws which he'd certainly have folded on the river.

Tc9c blocks KT but not KQ; and having 2 clubs makes it less likely that Villain has a missed flush draw to fold to a River bet compared to when we have QdTd.

I ran this puzzle through Flopzilla ...

I gave the unknown Villain BB a 22% preflop calling range (AA-22,AKs-A2s,KQs-KTs,QJs-QTs,JTs,T9s,98s,87s,76s,65s,54s,43s,32s,AKo-A2o,KQo-KTo,QJo-QTo,JTo) or 290 combos

I then proceed with the BB calling the flop and Turn with over pairs, top pairs, flush draws and OESDs (assuming he'd had check-raised sets and two pairs at some time on such a wet board) ...

vs our Tc9c, Villain arrives at the River with 29 missed draw combos, 1 straight, 1 two pair, and 24 top pairs

vs the QdTd, Villain arrives at the River with 32 missed combos, 1 straight, 1 two pair, and 21 top pair hands

I hope I performed the exercise correctly with Flopzilla. If this is correct, there are 3 less missed combos with the Tc9c hand compared to QdTd; and there are 3 more TP hands Villain could potentially make a crying call with when we have Tc9c. So, overall, there does seem to be a 6 hand difference of range strength (3 more hands more likely to fold of missed draws and 3 less top pair hands to potentially call with QdTd vs Tc9c, which represents a total of 11% of the 55 hands that Villain has at the River).

Can you help me figure out this 3-barrel logical thinking better? And what do you think after this exercise about when is it better to abandon the big draw 3-bet recommendation? Does it really hold up with any of Villain's ranges and board textures? If so, which ones?

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