The trickiest things for experienced players to determine when analyzing a hand situation at micro stakes is, is this player over valuing his hand, or making a really dumb bluff? And because these situations happen quite often at micro stakes, it can sometimes be a difficult process to sort through. The bottom line in big pot situations that don’t make sense though is that you should fold if you’re unsure.

It takes awhile to get a read on someone in an online situation, and if you don’t think you have that read, it’s always best to error on the side of caution and fold. It’s going to be the higher EV play long term simply because your opponents just won’t bluff enough in big pots for it to make sense. There are always those spots that make you scratch your head of course. Take the below example from a students hand. My advice was to fold, which is what this student did. Since it was on the bovada poker site, we have the advantage of being able to see their hole cards and we can scratch our heads together. Do you think this player thought they were valuing raising or bluffing? Anyone who knows or understands poker should know this person was bluffing. But they probably didn’t think that at the time. It’s a pretty poor bluff when you’re almost 170 big blinds deep.


Hand Converted by Ace Poker Drills Poker Training Software
NL Holdem $0.25(BB)
SB ($30.63)
BB ($15.56)
UTG ($24.67)
HERO ($42.27)
CO ($25.58)
BTN ($63.44)

Dealt to Hero Q A

UTG Folds , HERO Raises To $0.85 , CO Folds , BTN Calls $0.85 , SB Folds , BB Calls $0.6

Flop ($2.3) A 2 A
BB Checks , HERO Bets $1.57 , BTN Calls $1.57 , BB Folds

Turn ($5.44) A 2 A 8
HERO Checks , BTN Bets $2 , HERO Calls $2

River ($9.44) A 2 A 8 3
HERO Bets $6.14 , BTN Raises To $59.02 (all-in), HERO Folds

BTN shows A J

BTN wins $20.97


The funny thing about this hand is that it is actually a good bluff. If you were playing 400NL+. It would get a lot of your opponents river value range to fold this deep. Especially with how it was played. But at 25NL, this opponent is almost certainly going for what they think is value. What do you think and how do you handle these spots?