I saw this PokerNews story where Kristy Arnett interviewed Jason Lavallee, the winner of this year’s PokerStars European Poker Tour London High Roller, about a Queen high call-down he made on the final table of that tournament. Here’s the story: http://www.pokernews.com/strategy/strategy-with-kristy-jason-lavallee-discusses-a-queen-high-c-16743.htm
What stood out to me were the immediate bets by Lavallee’s opponent on the turn and river. In my experience and observation, immediate bets in such significant situations are much more heavily weighted towards bluffs. People with value hands are more apt to think in such spots about how to maximize value, whereas bluffers know immediately that they need to bet to win and also have an instinct to convey confidence with a quicker bet. I wrote a comment saying as much on the PokerNews page.
I remember the day this behavior was really personally driven home for me. It was when I played a $300 multi-table tournament a couple years ago and made the final table. The whole tournament I’d been consciously making myself wait a few seconds in every significant spot, whether I knew what I was going to do or not, just to be balanced in my bet-timing. (This was long something I’ve done but still have to remind myself consciously to do it as it’s never become second-nature for me. I’ve especially slipped on it since I no longer play as much as I used to.)
The only time in the entire tournament I bet immediately was when I bluffed the river when we were 3-handed at the final table. It was immediately apparently to me that this was the entire time I’d acted immediately in such a spot.
Regarding this Lavallee hand, I wrote him on Twitter (at @constantcolorup) asking if the bet-timing of his opponent had played a role in his Queen high call down decision. He responded (over 2 tweets):
Yeah it def did, I felt like it took out the bottom & middle part of her value range which she wouldn’t know what to do with, thus polarizing her range and weighting it more towards air.
He points out another factor why immediate bets might be more imbalanced towards bluffs in such spots: because immediate bets are polarized between very strong (obvious) bets and very weak (obvious) bluffs. If an immediate bet allows you to subtract thin value bets, then you’re left with a whole lot of bluffs (depending on the situation obviously).
Finally; it’s important to note that this kind of thing is very person-specific. Some players will show themselves quite capable of betting quickly and their immediate bets won’t mean as much.
Edit: if you listen to the podcast, which I did later, Lavallee talks in detail about the call and how the bet-timing affected his decision. It’s a really good interview.