I've started playing a strategy of defending my Big Blind with a reasonably tight range (15% approx). This strategy targets excessive c-cbets by check-raising the flop with a balanced range (value, strong+weak draws, some air) and then barreling turns which increase my equity or where I can rep something. I lead any turn with value hands, draws, good bluff cards, etc. However, when my opponent calls flop and turn, I find it hard to play the river when I don't hit. I often have flush draws or straight draws which miss on the river. I don't know when to give up and when to fire again. I'm trying to construct a balanced way to play rivers on which I don't have a made hand. Sorry if these are general questions but...

Is there an optimal bluffing %?
What kind of river cards are good bluffing cards?
What factors should I be considering?

  • 1
    Well for starters you are playing way tooooo tight. You can't possibly be making money in the BB folding so much. Players can raise you 100% of the time and print money because you fold 85% of the time and then they win 40% of the time of the 15% of times you actually do play.
    – Jonast92
    Commented Jul 29, 2020 at 15:11
  • To be fair, the 15% is an overall stat. I play tighter vs EP raisers and looser vs late position steals. At my level, playing loose from the BB seems to get me into trouble a lot. I'm always out of position with marginal holdings facing cbets.
    – kandyman
    Commented Jul 29, 2020 at 17:57

1 Answer 1


You only continue to the flop with 15% of hands. This means that any thinking player will only get to the flop with you vs. a very strong range of yours. They need to be cautious. They don't have to bluff-catch you, because they print so much when you fold 85% of the time preflop. They can profitably play fit or fold post-flop with you.

When villain calls a check/raise with a double barrel you can be certain that your bluffs will be called on the river with an insanely high frequency because your range is capped at a very high value to bluff ratio. Even if you'd loosen up your opening range most players simply do not call 2 streets with a worse hand than yours intending to give up on the river.

I appraise you for making double barrel bluffs with "air" (hopefully some outs when you make them) but most players do not call double barrels with the intention of giving up on the river -- especially when your pre flop range is only 15%. You have very few bluff hands in your range, and any thinking villain knows this.

Even the less thinking players simply don't have enough hands in their range by their river that are likely to fold to the triple barrel. Triple barreling is only suitable when you have excellent hand reading skills and awareness of how you're perceived. You need to be damn certain that the villain you're playing against has excellent reasons to at last give up on the river. It's simply very unlikely in most scenarios in the case you're describing.

  • 1
    I should have been more clear that the 15% is an overall average stat. Against a late position steal my VPIP is more like 20-25, vs EP opens it's more like 10%. I find it very difficult to defend the BB so I am trying this strategy to see if it helps. I appreciate your advice about it.
    – kandyman
    Commented Jul 29, 2020 at 17:59

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