Bluffcatcher

  • A bluffcatcher is a hand that is not strong enough to call a value-bet, but strong enough to beat all possible bluffs.
    Correctly categorizing the own relative handstrength in a situation is detrimental in order to assess if a hand has only value in bluffcatching, or is also able to call a value-bet.

    Bluffcatching directly relates to the problem of making the opponents bluffs indifferent, meaning that the opponent is not able to just bet all his hands with a positive expected value in return. In order to achieve this the player has to call hands that are too weak against a valuebet.
    Seeing it from the other perspective our opponent wants us to bluffcatch with negative or zero EV, making our worst bluffcatcher indifferent to calling and folding.

    Pretty much both player know they cannot do something about the strong parts of each individual ranges if the other player does not make a mistake in calling to light or to little. Instead both players are interested in attacking the weaker parts of their respective ranges by forcing bluffcatching or folding of bluffcatchers.

    In this cat and mouse game the player using all available information to their advantage usually wins the battle and the war.

    There are certain sub aspects that decide if a bluffcatcher is actually more or less viable in a situation:

    • Card removal effects through blockers and the community cards
    • Knowing how many bluffcatchers from the range have to be called to make villain indifferent to bluffing
    • Blocker effects against villain's value-bets or against villain's bluff-bet-ranges
    • Betsize-Reads in correlation to board texture and past action
    • Equity of a bluffcatcher in future EV (Outs and Equity-realization)
    • Pot-equity compared to other bluffcatchers in case of split pots
    • Fold-Equity by Bluffturning due to blocking effects and overall hand-range-strength
    These are just some methods and concepts to determine if a holding is a good bluffcatcher in a situation.

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