Action Dan Picks a Bad Spot for a Big Bluff, But Can It Work?

action dan big bluff

5 minutes

Last Updated: May 28, 2024

We all love seeing big three-barrel bluffs. They create the kind of action and tension that’s at the very core of why we watch other people play poker. And, as the following hand demonstrates, these big bluffs put the other player in a blender even when they have a hand as strong as a flopped set.

The hand in question comes from the Hustler Casino Live $50/$100 ($100 BB ante) game and features Action Dan, who lives up to his name, and the man we know as Zhao.

It is Dan driving the action all the way through, and Zhao seemingly has an easy task of putting his money in with the monster, but these situations are worth looking into beyond the obvious. It is worth noting that players are quite deep, with Zhao being the effective stack with $73,000 to start the hand.

Preflop Action

The action starts with Zhao opening to $600 with 66. A few players call the initial raise before the action gets to Action Dan, who looks down at K3 in the straddle and decides to squeeze for $5,000.

This is enough to get rid of everyone but Zhao, who decides to call and peel the flop with his pocket pair and potentially win a huge pot playing in position.

Preflop Play Analysis

With everyone playing very deep, Zhao’s open with pocket sixes is perfectly standard. The number of callers suggests that opening to a larger amount would perhaps be a good idea, as he is making it only three times the straddle, but he’s probably more interested in seeing the flop than stealing the blinds.

Dan’s decision to 3-bet with a weak suited king is somewhat questionable, especially in a loose game where people don’t like to give up before the flop. That said, he at least goes for a good sizing, which is enough to squeeze everyone but Zhao out.

As for Zhao, with plenty of money to play for and being in position, this is an easy call. He is looking for a set or a low-card flop with some straight draws. If he doesn’t hit it, he can easily get away from his hand; if he does, though, against an aggressive player, he stands to win a lot of money.

Flop Action

The flop comes AQ6, so Zhao hits the board hard, finding one of the two cards in the deck to give him the bottom set.

Action Dan fires a small continuation bet of $4,000 into a $11,950 pot. Zhao opts to flat call with his set, and the pot grows to $19,950.

Flop Play Analysis

AlthoughAction Dan whiffed completely, this board is very good for his range as a preflop 3-bettor. A lot of the time, his continuation bet will work, and he’ll just pick up the pot. He bets for one-third pot, which is enough to fold out hands that missed completely.

Zhao has no reason to do anything but call at this time. While there are a few draws to worry about, with A out there, Action Dan is likelier to have a made hand than a draw. By just calling, he disguises the strength of his hand and keeps all of his opponent’s bluffs in.

action dan three barrel bluff

Turn Action

The turn card is the J, making the runout AQ6J, and Dan continues with the aggression, this time around betting for $13,000.

Zhao takes some time going over the options, but settles on a call once again. With this, the pot grows to $45,950.

Turn Play Analysis

Dan’s small continuation bet on the flop was clearly part of a bigger plan. While the small bet is enough to fold out hands that missed completely, Zhao would stick around with many of his straight and flush draws.

The J completes only one of those draws, namely a KT, while all flush draws have missed. So, by upping the bet size on the turn, Action Dan is making it pricier for Zhao to keep chasing.

Zhao is probably happy to see Dan firing again, but he is clearly concerned about hands like pocket aces and pocket queens, which are realistically in Action Dan’s range. However, with so many other strong hands that he can continue with, plus all the bluffs, he’s never folding.

Raising doesn’t accomplish much. It will let Dan off the hook with all of his air and could even get him to fold a hand like AK. If he does have a strong hand, all chips will likely get in on the river anyway, especially if the river bricks out.

River Action

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The runout completes with a 7, which is an absolute brick for the way this hand played out. The full board reads AQ6J7, and Action Dan decides to go for the third barrel.

He moves all in for $51,500 effective, which is slightly over the pot size. Zhao doesn’t snap-call. He takes his time to think about the hand, but he eventually puts in the calling chips, winning a $148,950 pot.

River Play Analysis

After getting called twice, Action Dan should be worried about his opponent having a strong hand. His turn bet should have gotten rid of many draws, so the fact Zhao continued is concerning.

However, he decides that another bet is in order, and he goes for a big one, betting $51k into a $46k pot. This certainly puts a lot of pressure on Zhao and might be enough to get him off a hand like AT, A9, and maybe even a weaker two-pair like KJ.

A smaller bet would make it easier for those hands to call, and missed draws will fold regardless, so there is certainly some method to Action Dan’s madness here.

For Zhao, calling is the only option. While he will be up against a bigger set every now and again, there are way too many bluffs and two-pair combos that Dan might be betting for value to justify folding. 

That said, there is nothing wrong with taking a couple of minutes and going over all the action for one final time before tossing in those calling chips, especially when facing a big river bet.

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