When to use the Combo Bluff

The combo bluff (bet turn + river after the flop gets checked around) is a very powerful move it can generate you 1bb per hand, according to the data gathered by our database analyst, Alan Jackson.

Of course, this is not a move you can use 100% of the time (wouldn’t be bad if you use, though), so in the video below, Alan Jackson himself, will go through a few hands with a student to find exceptions in the use of the combo bluff:


In the last hand of the video, the student opens K5o playing SB vs BB, which is loose, but not a big issue.

When you’re playing NL 6-Max, this situation is where the ranges are wider.

If we were giving a range, this is what we can come up with:

Villain opening range on the left, hero calling range on the right.

When the AhJc3c flop goes check check, it’s fine to make the delayed cbet on the 6d turn to try to get the opponent to fold the weaker part of his range that was giving up on the flop but can find a bluff on the turn in case you check to him again.

Below you can see a reasonable representation of what he can have after checking the flop back, and what we are going to get him to fold:

As you can see the “no made hand” in purple is what we are trying to fold out right away on the turn.

But when he bet and get called, we can assume villain has some kind of showdown value with a pair, picked OESD or gutshot.

We can still check out to see if we can get him to fold on this Qh river, we need to give him an optimistic and a pessimist range:

In the optimistic scenario, the opponent gets to the river with 110 combinations of hands. If we bet 2/3 of the pot, we need him to fold 44 of those combos to make a breakeven move. I think it is very reasonable to assume that we can get 3x and 6x to fold by the river, and he has exactly 44 combos of 3x and 6x plus 3 combos of made hands. And we’re not even considering that he can fold some of his Jx that now is 3rd pair.

In the pessimist scenario, we’re going to ignore the range we assumed above and will put some weak Ax in his range. Now he has 179 combos of hands and we need him to fold 72 combos of hands. We already know he is folding 47 combos of 3x and 6x, now we NEED him to fold some Jx for this bluff to work. If he folds any Jx with 9 kicker or worse, he’ll fold 25 combos, which is what we need to to make a breakeven bluff.

Taking these two ranges into consideration, we have a very profitable bluff, since the opponent would have to be calling a decent part of his Jx for us not to have a profitable bluff. Jx is third pair on the river so the opponent will have a hard time calling us in this situation.

These combo bluff situations are very profitable, but they can be tricky sometimes. Good thing that you have Alan to teach you how to use it!

Related posts