The game can get away from you without having a core strategy to fall back on. The Poker Model is that strategy. In today’s hand, you’ll see how a River Blocker Bet helps conserve chips in an uncertain situation. I will show you how we can guard our stack when we don’t know if we have the best hand or not while still having a chance to win.
I’m sitting in The Big Blind (TBB) holding Kd-8d with $25,000 in chips with blinds at $100/$200. I have 125 big blinds ($25,000/$200) which is a large stack according to The Poker Model (>50 big blinds). Kd-8d is not a call behind hand from all other seats at the table, but from The Big Blind (TBB), The Poker Model recommends making the call with one previous raise because we are already half invested into the pot. From The Big Blind (TBB) with over 20 big blinds in your stack, call one raise with any ace, any two cards over 7, any pocket pairs, suited connectors over 6, 9-7 suited, and 10-7 suited. 3-bet (reraise) with A-K, A-A, and K-K. Fold all other hands.
The action folds to The Cutoff+1 (TC+1), who raises to $400. The rest of the table folds to me in The Big Blind (TBB) and I’ll make the call for reasons mentioned above. The hand will no move to Phase #3 – Flop.
The Flop comes Ac-8s-4h and the action is on me. As always, I must qualify my hand as good, bad, or mediocre. I have flopped 2nd pair, which falls into the mediocre category along with Overpairs, Top pair (assuming over 20 big blinds), Open-Ended Straight Draws, and Flush Draws. With mediocre hands I’ll want to see if I can improve cheaply and make it to Phase #6 – Showdown where I can flip my cards over. For this reason I will check, knowing that I will call one bet from my opponent. I make the check and my opponent bets $450.
I make the call and we move to Phase #4 – Turn, where the Ace of Diamonds shows. I check for the same reasons above, trying to keep the pot small with my mediocre hand. If my opponent bets again here, we consider that a Second Bet, one in which we should fold to because it escalates the pot and makes it too expensive to continue to The River. But my opponent checks and the hand moves to Phase #5 – River.
The River is the Four of Spades which doesn’t improve my hand in any way. This is where The Poker Model recommends a River Blocker Bet, a bet that keeps the pot manageable and allows us to know where we stand. A River Blocket Bet should be about ⅓ of the pot. This bet serves as a line in the sand for us investing any more money into the pot. If our opponent folds, then we win. If our opponent calls, then we will find out if we have the best hand. If our opponent raises, then we assume that we are beat and we fold, taking the small loss. I make a River Blocker Bet of $600 and my opponent raises to $2,600.
I fold and my opponent will win the small pot. While we will never know what our opponent had, it’s safe to assume that it was the winning hand. Every so often your opponent will flip over a bluff, but do not be derailed by this. Know that you were in control the whole hand and guarded your stack well.