Bluffing — the poker how to

March 5th, 2009 — Bluffing, General, Poker Hardware

Alright, I couldn’t wait any longer. I love to hate.

1. You Can Meet Some Pretty Shady People

If you’re not careful!

Here’s one example. I had a coach which I came in contact through CardRunners about 1½ years ago. He was claiming to be winning 8ptbb/100 at $2/4NL so I thought okay I’ll try some coaching.

I sent him like $1,100 or something for a 10 hour-block and I did 3 hours of that block and then just thought fuck this, this guy isn’t teaching me enough stuff that I want to keep going. So I said, I want my money back, he said okay, I’ll send it to you as soon as I can.

Needless to say, 1½ years later he was been promising to send the money to me and nothing has happened. He still owes me $700.

I mean these kind of things just piss me off. What kind of morals do you have if you keep jerking someone around? I’ve been trying to be nice versus this guy but he’s just been avoiding me and saying he doesn’t have money, but my patience is very thin now.

If you’re a poker player, you should easily be able to pay someone their money back. I mean he had my money, what did he do? Spend it and never earn any money ever again? He should easily be able to send me $50-100 a month to pay his debt off but I guess he’s just hoping I’ll go away and forget about it?

This is sickening, why do people do this?

2. The Swings Can Be Brutal

I’m not going to lie to you and say that poker is a dance on roses and an awesome game where you win lots of gold coins and get the princess at the end.

It’s more like you get some gold and then get shafted by Shrek the green god of variance.

This is why it helps to have rakeback when you play, atleast then when you’re running like a paeorjafshzn you get some monies because you play! icon_wink-1275392

I’ve been playing for almost 5 years and I’m beginning to feel like I want to do something else. Maybe coaching or something? I’ve been talking with Tommy a bit about this, but I am still not sure how to go about it.

My coaching would most likely be on the other things of poker, tilt, money management (not much needed there, have lots of money and you’re good!),  game selection and all that stuff. Basically the discipline side of the game.

A bit of a tangent there, let’s get on to the next point.

3. Addiction

I wish I was addicted to this game. It would be awesome to be addicted because I would make so much money. Wouldn’t it be awesome to be a winner and just want to play all the time? Money, money, money!

But if you think about it, nothing of value can be bought with money, pretty deep, right?

Oh yeah, addiction, trying to keep my focus here.

I guess some people who aren’t winners get addicted. My thinking is that if they don’t have poker to be addicted to it will just be something else. Maybe I just want to think that way because it makes it easier for me to justify all this and bla bla bla. Mind loops, they go on forever. Maybe I am really thinking that I’m thinking that or just this or that or whaat.

Here’s a picture of my gf’s dog, dogs are good for poker, they ease the pain of poker!


Until next time ORCS

High Stakes Bluffing – Inside The Minds of Two Pros

October 28th, 2007 — Bluffing, General, Hand Analysis, Psychology

Henri posted some good links today, the Phil Ivey vs Paul Jackson hand is pretty intense! Let’s break it down and see if we can get into the heads of these high-stakes players.

Opening moves

Preflop: Ivey completes, Jackson checks. This is going to happen often, both players just want to see a flop. We can narrow ranges a bit – they probably don’t have AK, AA type hands – but not much else.

Flop: JJ7r
Jackson checks, Ivey stabs 80k into ~180k, a little less than half pot.

As the narrator correctly points out, Ivey will be making this bet with a very wide range of hands, putting pressure on his shorter-stacked opponent.

First Blood

Jackson clearly can’t call his 65o, but he realizes Phil’s range is wide, so he takes a shot at the pot, raising to $170k hoping to take it down. Many opponents will give up their bluff here and yield the pot, so it’s a decent move. Unfortunately, his opponent is Phil Ivey.

Ivey thinks for a moment, and likely realizes that there are very few calling hands on this flop, so Jackson is forced into a “raise or fold” situation when he holds, say, K-hi or worse. Jackson’s checkraise could be pot-building with trips, but it could very well be a cheap bluff – Jackson’s raise is barely over a minraise!

I’ve Got It, Do You?

Ivey doesn’t buy that Jackson has trips just yet, so he puts out a “I’ve got trips – do you have trips?” raise to $320k. This is a nice raise size, it forces Jackson to call only $150k more, but it says “we’re getting all-in on the turn if you call,” so it essentially forces Jackson to decide for his whole stack.

The wheels are turning in Jackson’s head, too. He realizes what Phil did earlier – that if he actually had the J he probably wouldn’t play it so fast, and that Phil might have caught on that the flop check-raise was likely to be a bluff. Jackson essentially is saying “yup, I’ve got it” as he re-re-raises to $470k.

Jackson’s Mistake

Jackson clearly has game, and is not backing down from Ivey here in this pot. However, he made one critical mistake at this point. Phil asks him “how much have you got left?”

Jackson counts it up, about $380k – but the pot is $1 million!

Phil’s thinking it over… asking himself questions like:

  • “why did he leave $380k behind?”
  • “does he want me to call or fold?”
  • “What does he think I have?”

A bad player might min-re-re-raise with the nuts to try and induce a call. However, Jackson is a savvy opponent, one who knows that if Ivey’s got a hand it doesn’t matter whether he bets that $380 now or on the turn, it’s going in regardless. Jackson realizes his mistake as he counts his chips and tells Ivey how few he has left. He’s thinking “damn, I should have gone all-in, I only have 380 left.”

The most likely hand that would min-re-re-raise 150k more, leaving 380 behind, is a seat-of-the-pants bluff. It wants to risk the minimum, and doesn’t care about remaining chips because he(Jackson) will fold to further action. If he actually had a Jack, he would have counted out his remaining stack before acting, realized his opponent was pot-committed, and pushed. Occasionally this will be a clever trap with a full house or trips, but most times huge hands will move all-in rather than making a tiny re-raise.

This is (somewhat) apparent as we analyze it away from the table, with the privilege of seeing both hole cards. It’s an absolutely incredible move by both players, their insight and awareness of the other’s thoughts and likely holdings make this a truly awesome hand.

Dispelling the Myth of Bluffing in Poker

September 26th, 2007 — Bluffing

Have you ever heard anyone talking about that one big bluff someone made on T.V? It’s always highlighted and If it works the player is said to be a poker god. If, on the other hand it doesn’t work he is now crowned a donkey. What’s up with this?

Let me tell you something about bluffing; if you’re playing lower stakes and making a living there you never have to bluff in your life. Incorporating some bluffing will of course raise your win rate (if you do it correctly) because players will adjust incorrectly vs. you.

Why is Bluffing Overrated?

My own take is because we tend to believe it is something that is in our control. There is no luck involved if you know someone holds a specific hand and you bet them out of the pot because you “knew” they would fold. And when you succeed with a big bluff you can pat yourself on the back and feel very good because you did in fact outplay someone.

A Personal Observation

I’ve noticed that most big bluffs are foolish and –EV (negative expected value) in the long-run. And I am not talking about the great players who do calculated bluffs and are often executed well. I am talking about your average joe who is out to bluff people out of pots. You just can’t do that, I once heard Brian Townsend say that poker is 95% ABC and 5% trickery and I agree with that completely. You do not have to get fancy at all. If you do not know the proper places to bluff then my advice is to not bluff much, because you will only end up losing money.

What to Think About When Bluffing

So how do you bluff properly? When you bluff, keep in mind that you want to represent something. If you play a hand like you have nothing then people will think you have nothing. And bluff do not have to be big, the most profitable bluffs are usually in small to medium sized pots where your risk vs. reward is nice.

An example of this would be when you raise 9diamond-51462458diamond-5146245 on the button and get called by the big blind. You have a pretty tight image so your friend in the big blind is putting you on big cards most of the time (and correctly so).

The flop comes down 2diamond-5146245 6spade-2941180 Jheart-2394923 , pretty harmless board. Big blind checks and you continuation bet because he’s going to fold enough to make it profitable. He now calls, you can suspect he doesn’t have that big of a hand because he would usually raise or lead out (here’s where personal reads come in handy).

Turn comes the Aspade-2941180. The big blind now hesitates and checks, now this is a perfect spot to fire 2/3rds of the pot because he will have a very hard time calling with a pair below jacks or even jacks If you have a good solid image.