Benjamin Rolle, better known to most of the poker world as Bencb, is one of the greatest online tournament players in the game today.
The 33-year-old German was a standout junior football player but turned to online poker after college and worked his way up the higher stakes available. Originally an unknown player, he did not reveal his identity until the summer of 2019.
He has won several million over his career, most notably cutting the $100,000 World Series of Poker Online Super High Roller with Fedor Holz for $1.2 million. He recently cleared the Sunday High Roller on GGPoker for nearly $400,000 and took home the Super Millions title for $424,000.
Rolle started Raise Your Edge poker training and has shared his strategies with thousands of players around the world. (You can start with Raise your limit And save big with promotional codes CARDPLAYERAPP or CARDPLAYEREXP.)
The high-stakes breaker pens in the occasional column of Card Player magazine, and also broadcasts his play on Twitch. When he’s not playing or teaching, he’s working with his champion esports club, Acend.
card player I spoke with Rolle to discuss deception, specifically when to pull the trigger and when to wait for a better opportunity.
Craig Tapscott: How can players locate the best spots to create and initiate bluffing?
Benjamin Roll: Deception does not require creativity. They are part of the game. They are mandatory.
It’s all about risk and reward. Risk a little to get a decent reward. This often involves betting on the flop as a bluff, potentially plenty of seconds on the turn, but be very selective on the river. Once people call out a flop and a turn, they are often too attached to their hands and won’t fold the river. This is the biggest difference between winning and losing players.
Winning players can forfeit their hands regardless of whether they shoot the flop or not. They are able to reassess the situation on the river. Losing players often think, “I called the flop and turn, so I gotta talk about the river.” This is a huge trap and a deeply flawed thought process.
If you study with warriors, you will see a lot of hands folded on the river depending on the size our opponent uses. The larger the bet in relation to the bet size, the less we call; The smaller the bet, the more we can call the better odds we get.
When we bluff, if we miss the flop and play for the big blind, it is always profitable to throw small continuing bets as a bluff. For example, 33 percent or 25 percent of the volume of the pot.
In contrast, we want to either bluff at a scare card or with instant draws such as an open straight draw or flush draws. Here, even if we have a hand like A. 2 We will continue to bet on the K-10-5 flop, as the villain will have a lot of hands to lose and we want to protect our hand against something like the 8-7 suit or the Q-7 suit that is in Villain’s defense range.
With QJ we have an easy second barrel on the turn as he’ll have a few bottom pairs like the pocket eight that will call for a small c bet as well as the 10x that’s starting to fold now. With open straight draws or flush draws, we don’t need a lot of collapsible stock. I usually bluff a lot on flips and turns but bluff less on river, even with good blockers, as I’ve shown.
Craig Tapscott: What are some of the worst situations/places to try to cheat and why?
Benjamin Roll: The worst places to bluff is when your opponents have a lot of very strong hands in terms of their sheer hand strength, especially on the boards where you can technically get full houses, pumps and pumps. For example, an end board like 7-9-J-9-Q.
You often see opponents attacking the caller with a hand like A-9 or 9-5 suitable because they have flights and it’s generally a strong hand in Hold’em but only in terms of sheer hand strength. Of course, if Villain’s bets fail, the checks turn, and he bets on the river, it becomes easy as he can bet KK or AQ against the weaker Qx or Jx.
But if he checks you out on the flop, the bets switch, and he goes all-in to the river, he’s not a 9-5, a K-9, or an A-9 a good fit anymore.
Less experienced players think “I have flights to call”. This is a very dangerous train of thought. They are unable to consider relative hand strength and consider prior action and run out of the board. Particularly in this case where your opponent could have straights, he might have been semi-bluffed and made a backdoor flush or had a couple on the flop and made a full home run. Overall, his deck consists of a lot of hands to beat and very few tricks. This makes your travels very bad.
This is not what most people think. So here, if I play this line and get to the river, you can be sure I’ll have a straight, full, or flush house and take advantage of the fact that people can’t put together an absolute strong hand.
On my bets I play $5,000 and $10,000 online I will occasionally run into some cons because they think on a similar level and it’s easier for me to run the big cons. Certainly not on low and medium stakes.
Craig Tapscott: Some players get confused when it comes to cheating. What should they be looking for? And how do combos/blockers play when I decide to connect?
Benjamin Roll: The first thing I ask myself is, “Is it easy to fool?” This is also what I advised in a recent Twitter thread.
The places that are easy to cheat are the panels that have missed a lot of draws.
Let’s say the board executes 9-8-4-2-4. A villain can have a QJ, J-10, Q-10, 7-6 fit, 6-5 fit, A-3 fit, or A-5 fit. There are so many potential feints that it’s easy to make a 9-x or 8-x champion call even against a three-roll trick.
Now let’s assume the board doesn’t offer these “normal tricks” with broken draws. A board like 10-10-5-2-2 is hard to fool. This is where barriers come into play. The villain needs to be able to identify the hands that block Villain’s strong possessions and free Villain’s weak possessions.
You definitely don’t want to bluff with a 6, 7, or 9 in your hand because it obscures how well Villain folds. This consists of 6-6 through 9-9 plus some weak swings and turn calls such as a proper A-9 or A-8 (not saying this would be a good call, but it could happen). A hand like QJ or KQ blocks some stronger 10-x’s that may be slow playing or some stronger extra pairs that haven’t gone before like JJ or QQ.
Without going into too much detail, you can see that this spot requires a deeper understanding of poker, especially blockers. Thus, it will be difficult for people to find the right hand to cheat and pull the trigger.
To be honest, I think 10-10-5-2-2 isn’t a great board to bluff in the first place because a lot of weaker opponents will end up calling the 8-8 type of hand because they don’t. I don’t like to believe that you have trips or even aces who are so curious. Therefore, it is always better to bluff where opponents get to the river with ace draws, big cards, or a lot of weak pairs with draws that called for flips and turns and will cause the river to fold.
But again I mainly focus on betting a lot of misses and going on aggression a lot of turns but then not often bluffing in the big river pots on low and medium bets. Being able to understand this and stick to it may not be the most exciting playing style, but it is certainly the most profitable tactic if you are looking to take your poker game more seriously.
Craig Tapscott: How does deception change at the final tables?
Benjamin Roll: It changes a lot, but in both directions. Meaning, when you stack larger, you will often find points that are supposed to be bluffed more aggressively since your opponent is supposed to pull a lot more.
And therein lies the problem, “supposedly”. The language I use is essential. There is a big difference between what people are supposed to do and what they are going to do. Even if you find places where a villain is supposed to fold a lot, that doesn’t mean he will. This can cost you a lot of money.
A prime example is you defend as a big big blind against a middle stack (30 effective big blind stacks) and the board comes 6-6-5 and you intend to check the bluff and roll the bet and put it all in the river or even lead dunk bet turn and go to the river. Now, that’s a terrible board for someone with an open lift from the early or mid position. Looking at the center of his stack and the short stacks on the end table, he must be careful and check his entire range. He doesn’t have a single hand that he wants to play for the total of the stack.
Even AA wants to play a maximum of two streets for value. In a chip EV (chEV) scenario, we bet on the flop, bet on the spin, and we all go in the river. Or until it breaks on a flop against a potential 8-8/9-9 or tie. Not to say it’s a dream spot for 4×4 parking but it makes more sense to play in stacks than in it ICM Positions at the final tables.
Also, due to the huge nut feature of the big stack which has all kinds of 6-x combos like 7-6 suit, 10-6 fit, J-6 fit etc., it will have a leading (donking) range because it has to take initiative and can Dictate the size of the pot. Now, since he has more trips than the average, he could have a lot of quirks.
Although the big blind contains a lot of cheats, the average player needs to start folding pairs in subsequent streets in case the big blind puts everything in. Well, that’s not really the case, especially for less experienced players. Their thought process looks like this. “I have an excess, I’m better than my group, I have to call.” So you will get very few folds.
You can follow a GTO You come close and have a lot of cheating or play exploitatively, understand how humans deal, especially weaker and less experienced players from these sites, have very few cheats, get huge payouts when you make trips and don’t run on your deck just because theory tells you to cheat on these spots.
Against a strong opponent who understands ICM And those panel dynamics plus the nutty feature and range, it might be better to have a little more bluffing in these locations.
Also, another big factor under ICM are the bet sizes. In chEV (Early and Middle Matches of Tournaments) we want to use a lot of pot size bets and over bets on the river.
in ICM We often use 33 percent, 50 percent, and 66 percent, given that we have to be more careful with our chips. More often than not, you will actually apply quite a bit of your thirds bet bet which could be half of your opponent’s pot since ICM Pressure will come on it. You force your opponents into tricky situations with these small sizes, especially in situations where the ranges are very wide, such as small blind vs. big blind or late (button, cut, hijack) vs. blinds.
The final table is all about using your chips wisely as well as choosing your opponents wisely. Betting 25 percent might put a lot of pressure on a size 10 blind, but there is no pressure at all against a size 50 blind. Keep that in mind. ♠