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 98 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 2 6 J , 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 A. 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.
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