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Poker Guy: Jaka plays big hand like a bluff

ONE OF THE RULES of bluffing successfully is betting as if you have the strong hand you're trying to represent.

ONE OF THE RULES of bluffing successfully is betting as if you have the strong hand you're trying to represent.

Conversely, if you have a reputation as a bluffer, you can take down some big pots by betting your big hands as if you're bluffing, as wild young pro Faraz Jaka did in this hand from the World Poker Tour's $15,000-buy-in Doyle Brunson Five Diamond World Poker Classic at Las Vegas' Bellagio in 2009.

With blinds at $1,500-$3,000 plus a $400 ante, the player to Jaka's immediate right in early position raised to $6,500.

Jaka called with pocket 3s. He had a stack of around $300,000, similar to the initial raiser's, so he could take a shot at set-mining. Jaka also had a history of bluffing the initial raiser and was hoping he could take advantage of that as well.

The button also called, so three-handed they took a flop came 3-3-2, two clubs. Jaka hit quads. The initial raiser checked.

"I decided to check because I thought there was a good chance the guy on the button might just try to take it down with position," said Jaka. "The guy on the button was at the table for a couple of my bluffs. One worked, one didn't. So, I don't think he had much respect for my image, so I thought a check-raise would look suspicious. There aren't many hands with a 3 in it that I would flat [call] there. But he checked it back."

The turn came the 5 of hearts. The initial raiser bet $4,000, barely more than the big blind.

"I instantly make it $20,000, trying to make it look like I'm a bully," said Jaka, who won more than $1.7 million in tournament prize money in 2009.

"It was about three-quarters of the pot, an appropriate-sized bet that I thought he might call if he didn't believe me. The button folded. The guy who had opened the hand called really quick."

The river came the 7 of diamonds. The initial raiser checked. Jaka bet $120,000 into a pot of less than $70,000.

"I overbet the pot by a lot," Jaka said. "It was obvious that he was so weak, and he knew I knew it.

"I bluffed him last time betting the pot, so it was going to be hard for me to get away with another bluff, right? So, instead, I'm trying to make the bet so outrageously big that it looks like I'm trying to find another way to get away with another pot off the same guy."

Jaka's opponent called and turned over A-4 offsuit for a straight.

"I got lucky that he had such a strong hand," Jaka said, "but I do think he would call me really light, even with a pair. That's the kind of player he was, especially with our history."

Table talk


Calling a bet or raise while holding a pocket pair in hopes of flopping a third card of the same rank.

Steve Rosenbloom is a sports columnist for the Chicago Tribune and the author of the book "The Best Hand I Ever Played." He can be reached at