It doesn’t always work

Sometimes the temptation to bluff with trips leads me down a dark path. I opened trip aces in early position, hoping to thin the field, but predictably got called by most of the table. The flop came 983, all clubs. I checked my  hand (as I do on every flop) and found the Ace of clubs.

For those who haven’t played much PLO, the nut flush blocker is kind of a big deal. On a board with a possible flush, if you hold the ace of that suit you know your opponent can’t have the nuts. Since PLO revolves around the nuts, by betting every street you make it very tough for them to call down. With trips AND the nut flush blocker, I felt I had little choice but to unload the clip.

I bet 100 into 150. Moe called, which was a great start. He calls light on the flop and turn, but tends to be convinced by the river and will make some pretty huge folds. Since my plan was to fire every street anyway, I was already getting excited about the possibility of not only picking up the pot, but winning two bets from Moe as well. Things took a turn for the worse when Nick called behind. He can get stubborn and is quite capable of calling a huge bet with a weak hand. But…trips and the nut flush blocker!

The turn didn’t change anything and I dutifully put out $400. They both called, which didn’t come as a big surprise. When they called the flop I figured they had either small flushes or sets, and I didn’t expect those hands to fold before the river. I planned to fire any river that didn’t pair the board. The thought that barreling away into two loose players might not be the greatest idea crossed my mind, but…trips and the nut flush blocker!

The river was the queen of clubs, creating a possible straight flush, but obviously that wasn’t a big concern. I bet $1200 and Moe folded instantly. Halfway there. Nick stood up and started to pace around while muttering to himself. Honestly the main thing going through my head was how cool it would be if it worked. I would scoop the pot and get to show my hand to collect an extra $50 from everyone at the table. What I should have been thinking of, however, was a recent rather high-profile hand in which I bluffed Nick with the nut flush blocker and showed the bluff. I started to feel less great about the whole situation. After a few minutes of deliberation, Nick announced, “Donation,” and threw in his call. “Trips, twenty five, everybody,” I said, and collected my paltry $175.

Maybe it wasn’t the best spot, but if I have trips and the nut blocker, I’m going for it.

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