Using Timing Tells to Defend a 4bet with a 5bet Bluff

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Using Timing Tells to Defend a 4bet with a 5bet Bluff

Following the 3bet experiment, I received a lot of questions about how I handled my opponent’s adjustments to the excessive 3betting.

There were several spots during the experiment where my opponents 4bet me and I noticed a pattern in their timing that warranted a 5bet bluff, despite my weak holdings. 

Poker Stars $0.25/$0.50 No Limit Hold’em – 9 players

Hero (BTN): $85.09
SB: $50.00
BB: $22.75
UTG: $46.09
UTG+1: $20.00
UTG+2: $59.14
MP1: $20.45
MP2: $89.93
CO: $50.25

Pre Flop: ($0.75) Hero is BTN with 5 of clubs 2 of clubs

4 folds, MP2 raises to $1.25 (6.07s),

As my opponent’s preflop raise time fell into the experimental range of 5-9 seconds, I decide to 3bet. 

1 foldHero raises to $3.75, 2 folds,

After a long time down he decides to 4bet me.


MP2 raises to $10 (18.45s),

Going with my original hypothesis that an opponent who hesitates to make a preflop raise is more likely to be weak, I am more confident that my opponent’s 4bet is a natural reaction to my excessive 3betting and not an indication of strength.

My opponent’s 4bet timing is very interesting. His extreme hesitation leads me to believe that he is not sure of himself, but is sick of my excessive 3betting and feels he has to defend. I would expect any premium hand interested in getting the money in preflop to have a quicker reaction.
With his original preflop raise timing and excessive 4bet time, I decide to put in a 5bet bluff. 

Hero raises to $18, 1 fold

Final Pot: $20.75
Hero wins $20.75

I came across another similar hand a little later:

Poker Stars $0.25/$0.50 No Limit Hold’em – 9 players

BB: $50.00
UTG: $50.00
UTG+1: $35.38
UTG+2: $75.75
MP1: $63.78
MP2: $51.19
CO: $50.00
Hero (BTN): $56.19
SB: $18.25

Pre Flop: ($0.75) Hero is BTN with T of diamonds 4 of clubs

5 folds, CO raises to $1.50 (7.23s),

Again, my opponent’s timing fell into the experimental range and I decide to 3bet him. 

Hero raises to $4.50, 2 folds,

CO raises to $10.50 (13.27s),

His timing is very similar to the last hand, as there is a long time down while deciding to 4bet after his original preflop raise hesitation.

With my excessive 3betting, his original preflop raise hesitation and long 4bet time down, I decide to put in a 5bet bluff.

Hero raises to $20, 1 fold

Final Pot: $21.75
Hero mucks T of diamonds 4 of clubs
Hero wins $21.75

Whenever an opponent hesitates a long time before placing a 4bet, they are more likely to be struggling to decide if they want to risk the money to defend against your 3bet. If you are able to combine this information with table dynamics and another read such as original preflop raise timing, you will find yourself in the position to make a very profitable 5bet bluff.

Feel free to comment with any questions or suggestions. Thanks for reading and good luck!
By |April 1st, 2013|Blog|Comments Off on Using Timing Tells to Defend a 4bet with a 5bet Bluff

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