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A Horrible Blocking Bet On The River In No-Limit Texas Hold’em

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The blocking bet is a good weapon in poker but only if you know how to use it. There are certain situations when a blocking bet shows weakness and you can take down the pot with a reraise or bluff.

As always, I show you an example from a hand when my opponent used the blocking bet really bad. The table is full ring $0.5/$1 and I sit in 6th position with ♣Q♣K. Everyone folds before me and I decide to bet $3. The players behind me fold, just like the small blind, but the big blind makes the call. The pot is $6.5 and the two of us will see the flop.

♥A♠7♣2 hits the board and my opponent checks. I go on with a continuation bet and lead out with $3.5. My opponent thinks for a while and after all, he makes the call. At this time I can put him on a weak ace, on a seven or some kind of a low pocket pair. I do not suppose he would call me with high cards only, without an ace. With a higher ace in his hand he would have probably reraised me preflop. The same is true if he had a high pocket pair. The board is also very dry (there are no draws out there) so he has to have something. His call does not show much value but I do not have anything besides high card king so I will slow down if the turn does not help me. The pot is $13.5. Blocking-bet-on-the-river-300x225

The turn is the ♦6. This card did not change anything (except if he has pocket sixes). My opponent checks. Since the turn card did not change anything it seems my opponent is still ahead. If it was a higher blind level No-Limit Hold’em game I would go ahead and shoot a 2nd barrel to take the pot. The situation is totally different in a low limit game. I do not like overcomplicate things. In low limit poker most of the players think quite simple: if they have something they call, if they have nothing they fold. Therefore I do not see any reason to bluff because my opponent would call me and I would lose more money. I can basically finish the hand now. Although if a king or a queen comes on the river I can think whether it makes sense to lead out. I check and the pot remains $13.5.

The river card is ♦J and my opponent bets $2.5. Now this is an interesting bet. If he checked I would probably check behind him and most likely lose the pot. But what kind of hand does it take to bet so small? My check on the turn shows weakness. So he definitely could lead out with a bit larger bet if he had an ace. Or he could check with a low ace and intend to call with it. If he has jack he can also go for a check-call. This $2.5 just does not make any sense to me. It is as if he wanted to tell me: “I have a pair but it is so small that I would like to have a showdown without investing much money.” I put him now on a seven or a small pocket pair. I think a bit about the hand and reraise to $13. He thinks a couple of seconds and folds his hand. I take down the $18.5 pot.

My play was nothing special and a better player on a higher level would have called it about 50% of the time. If my opponent did not make this small blocking bet on the river I would not have got the extra information about how weak his hand is and would not have won the pot. His wrong decision won the hand for me along with an additional $2.5. As you see, you have to find the right spot and make the right play. In this case a bluff was enough to win with a king high.

I wish you great hand analysis and a lot of success with blocking bets.

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