Bluffing with naked ace in pot-llimit Omaha

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Bluffing with the nut-flush blocker in pot-limit Omaha can cost you a lot of money, especially against good players. Making your line look balanced and believable can be tricky.

In the seven-handed, $10-$20 game, I was in the big blind with {a-Clubs}{a-Spades}{2-Diamonds}{3-Diamonds} and $3,500. The action folded to the cutoff, a solid player, who opened to $80 with $4K behind. The button and I called. The flop came {5-Clubs}{4-Spades}{2-Clubs}, giving me the second nut straight. I led for $200, the cutoff called and the button folded. The turn was the {8-Clubs} giving me the nut-flush blocker. We checked. The river was the {10-Hearts}. I checked, he bet $250 and I check-raised to $800 and he folded.

PREFLOP: I opted not to three-bet my aces because I didn’t want to give away the strength of my hand. I was out of position, the aces weren’t suited and the stack sizes were a little too deep. Calling balances my range and I can rep a lot of hands on paired boards while holding showdown value.

FLOP: I bet out because we were so deep and I wanted to see where I was while not giving free cards. You could argue there are reverse implied odds with this line, but because I have the naked {a-Clubs}, it gives me a lot of ghost outs to make effective moves on later streets.

TURN: With the {8-Clubs}, Plan B is set into action. Assuming my opponents’ range included a flush draw or open-ended straight, he made his hand and chances are a bet wouldn’t get him to fold. While his flop range includes two-pair hands, I don’t need to protect my equity since I’m a big favorite. Checking is the right play because check-raising my naked {a-Clubs} makes my line look believable and I can win right there. Also, this is a smart player; he could be floating me pretty light to take a stab on the turn, which brings even more value into play for my line.

This is a pretty complex turn, though the action went check-check. If my opponent decided to bet the turn, the chances of him bluffing are good. He wouldn’t need to protect his bad flush’s equity against a straight and it’s unlikely he would want to be building a pot without the nuts because my range includes the nut-flush draw since I called preflop out of position and led the flop with a deep stack.

RIVER: Showdown equity and a smallish pot make checking the right play. If my opponent checks, there’s a chance I could win the pot. Since he bet $250, he opened up a believable line for me to take.

Though I’m turning a made hand into a bluff, it’s the optimal play. If my opponent has a bigger straight or a bad flush, the chances of him folding are pretty high in this spot. I showed my bluff because I plan to make the same play again with the nuts. It’s all about balancing your range when you’re always playing with the same guys. Keep ’em guessing.