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Bluffing!

How to catch a rascal

28
July
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Some people think there is no such thing as ?reading? someone online. After all, you cannot see any physical tells such as differences in personality, physical tremors, movement of hands, rocking back and forth, etc. However, the one thing you can notice is betting patterns, and when a bet seems out of the ordinary, you may be the victim of a bluff if you allow the scallywag to get away with it. The only way to give yourself a chance at calling a bet is to pay attention to the person you are in the hand against. Good and bad player's bluff's look very differently, and so it is of paramount importance to remember who you are in the hand with.


I have found that at the lower stakes, it is the bad players who bluff more and it is their bluffs that are the easiest to pick out. (Big shocker). The classic newbie bluff occurs at an initially pre flopped raised pot where they made a continuation bet on the flop featuring cards like 7-8-2. Next, they check a benign looking turn, and fired a big bet on a harmless looking river card. With this sequence of betting, it is easy to put your opponent on a hand like a-k or an a-q type hand. You usually know this because of their tragic move in the hand, the checking of the turn (4th card that is shown). Poker is such a game though where this same play by a seasoned pro could mean an entirely different hand. This is why you must identify who you are playing against early. A sure fire sign of a good player is someone who has bought in for the table maximum, and whenever they fall below that table maximum, they automatically buy back to the maximum. They will also never limp in, and they will fold often. A bad player will tend to bring in less than the table maximum and will play way too many hands.


The other classic bluff at the lower levels is when someone misses their draws, and this is the bluff I pride myself at picking out. You can identify someone on a draw when they have raised pre-flop, but rather than raising on the flop/turn, they prefer to check and call your raises. Of course, this doesn't happen 100% of the time, and there is no sure fire way to put someone on a draw, because some people lead out with drawing hands, but the majority of low stakes players will simply call with draws. Also notice, when a player is calling a bet with a draw, they tend to call very fast. This is done subconsciously by the player, and he does this because he believes that by calling fast, someone will think they have a strong hand. In reality however, acting slower is usually more of a sign of strength because a player with a big hand must take time to decide how they will go about siphoning as much money from it as possible. Below is an example of a player bluffing with a drawing hand. The hand isn't for life changing money, but notice how I was able to bet out until the river, whereupon I checked and waited for his steal attempt. The river was not the heart that would have made is flush, and short of an ace hitting, I was going to call a decent sized bet. Had he gone all in I would have folded because the pot was relatively small and poker is a risk/reward game.


PokerStars Game #47402847767: Hold'em No Limit ($0.25/$0.50 USD) - 2010/07/28 17:53:36 ET
Table 'Walhalla' 6-max Seat #1 is the button
Seat 1: golfer156 ($18.85 in chips)
Seat 2: Boston pkt 8 ($25 in chips)
Seat 3: bobikozov ($29.10 in chips)
Seat 4: nolav09 ($85.50 in chips)
Seat 6: Dmitry_B ($33.95 in chips)
Boston pkt 8: posts small blind $0.25
bobikozov: posts big blind $0.50
*** HOLE CARDS ***
Dealt to Boston pkt 8 [4h 4c]
nolav09: raises $1 to $1.50
Dmitry_B: folds
golfer156: folds
Boston pkt 8: calls $1.25
bobikozov: folds
*** FLOP *** [3h 9d 2c]
Boston pkt 8: bets $1.50
nolav09: calls $1.50
*** TURN *** [3h 9d 2c] [5h]
Boston pkt 8: bets $2.50
nolav09: calls $2.50
*** RIVER *** [3h 9d 2c 5h] [Kd]
Boston pkt 8: checks
nolav09: bets $7
Boston pkt 8: calls $7
*** SHOW DOWN ***
nolav09: shows [Th Ah] (high card Ace)
Boston pkt 8: shows [4h 4c] (a pair of Fours)
Boston pkt 8 collected $24.30 from pot


One thing that I must caution against is calling a bet just for the remote hope that someone is bluffing. What ends up happening is you are strung along on a hand that you have little chance of winning, and are brought to an evil place I like to call ?The Place of No Return?! This is a place where you have foolishly committed a large enough percentage of your stack, and you are now compelled to call a large final bet because you are too deep in. This is how I have grown very wise and rich, because I tempt people with my provocative bets and aggressive play into thinking that I am bluffing, when in fact I haven't bluffed since the Cuban Missile Crisis. The place of no return is a place that many beginners end up because they are hoping they are getting bluffed and rather than throw away their un-paired a-k, they vow never to leave it, and thus, loose their stack. If you are unsure if you are being bluffed, it is always smart to fold before you have invested too much money. Here is an example of how I got a guy to get to the point of no return. Notice how foolish he must feel upon waking up from his coma...


PokerStars Game #47401772317: Hold'em No Limit ($0.25/$0.50 USD) - 2010/07/28 17:30:38 ET
Table 'Beatrix III' 6-max Seat #5 is the button
Seat 2: Boston pkt 8 ($25 in chips)
Seat 3: Yoki69 ($23.05 in chips)
Seat 4: Bierhok ($15.40 in chips)
Seat 5: Dabbar ($35.40 in chips)
Seat 6: dejfffino ($28.75 in chips)
dejfffino: posts small blind $0.25
Boston pkt 8: posts big blind $0.50
*** HOLE CARDS ***
Dealt to Boston pkt 8 [Qc Ac]
Yoki69: calls $0.50
Bierhok: folds
Dabbar: folds
dejfffino: folds
Boston pkt 8: raises $1.50 to $2
Yoki69: calls $1.50
*** FLOP *** [3d Ad Tc]
Boston pkt 8: bets $3.50
Yoki69: calls $3.50
*** TURN *** [3d Ad Tc] [9s]
Boston pkt 8: bets $19.50 and is all-in
Yoki69: calls $17.55 and is all-in
Uncalled bet ($1.95) returned to Boston pkt 8
*** RIVER *** [3d Ad Tc 9s] [7d]
*** SHOW DOWN ***
Boston pkt 8: shows [Qc Ac] (a pair of Aces)
Yoki69: shows [Qd Js] (high card Ace)
Boston pkt 8 collected $44.35 from pot

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