You are not afforded many advantages over your opponents. You have two weapons at your disposal to extract profit, an understanding of math and strategy, and deception.
We actually understand deception within poker well before we even understand correct strategy and mathematics. We however only understand just enough about deception to hang ourselves.
Here is what I mean. A player brand new to the game of poker and Judi Online with little to no experience will either be ultra aggressive, bluffing in the wrong spots making incorrect bet sizes, or he will be ultra conservative playing a lot of hands but never bluffing and constantly trying to slow play his big hands.
Bluff: To try and win by betting with little to nothing of a hand with the intent of making everyone fold.
It seems easy enough, but in reality it’s much harder. This is a game of deception and lies, people won’t trust anything you do, you have to really convince your opponents otherwise, and this requires multiple levels of deception.
Here is a good strategy for deception, and it will work more times than not if executed correctly. Come up with a method to decide whether to bluff or fold in certain situations. Example: Whenever you have nothing in late position with a limped pot(no one pre-flop has bet or raised) you look down at your watch and if the minute hand is odd you bluff, if it’s even you fold.
It is odd, you lead out with a bet, showing strength. If you take down the pot, you just won the blinds and any money from players who just limped in. If not you have now set yourself up to make another bluff at the pot later on in the hand.
Here is an example:
We will just ignore what we are dealt, in this situation it is all about reading your opponents and figuring out if you can force them off their hand or if you feel your opponent is committed to his hand and just fold before you lose any more money.
You are sitting on the button, two people before you limp in, you look at nothing and see that the minute hand is odd. You decide to lead out with a standard four times the big blind bet. You make the blinds fold and one limper calls, the other folds. You can narrow his range of hands down now, he probably has something decent, KJ+, AT+, 88+. He may be slow playing a big hand (a concept I’ll touch on in a later article) or he may be chasing a drawing hand like a suited ace or a small pocket pair, but this is less likely, but remember not to completely forget about those hands.
The flop comes down 9c 10s 3c. There is a flush draw and a straight draw on the board, this doesn’t look like much of a flop, and you represent strength, a pot sized bet here should make most hands other than a pocket over pair or a set fold. If you get called or raised, beware, you are probably facing a good hand that your opponent may not fold no matter what you bet. This means that you should fold unless you have a very good tell that suggests otherwise.
What if you get raised on a flop like this? Well you represented strength, like AK, AQ or a big pocket pair by raising pre-flop. He think it’s possible this hand didn’t help you at all and is bluffing, or hit his set or straight draw or flush draw. You need to keep representing that you have big cards, and I recommend a re-raise. If you get even more resistance, then you may very well be up against something big and I suggest folding.
More than likely though you will get either a fold or call, if nothing hits that suggests a straight or flush or big pair, I recommend another bet and hopefully you get a fold here. Just remember the longer your opponent stays in the hand, and the more of his stack that he commits to the pot the harder it will become to bluff this opponent. If you fail on the turn, but still have really deep stacks you may consider a river bluff, if you don’t have much more of a stack, you need to fold before you commit your entire stack on a bluff, something that is considered a cardinal sin among many poker players.
Here is another strategy for bluffing. You are sitting in early to middle position with nothing, when the minute hand is odd, you bet or limp at the pot as long as no one else has shown strength, if it’s even you fold.
Example: Again your cards don’t matter for this example as this is purely a bluff play. You are in early position with nothing, minute hand is odd, and you decide to limp into this pot. It goes 4 handed and the flop comes 5c 6c Ts. You check, and late position puts in a half pot sized bet. You call with the intention of betting a later round when a scare card hits the board. Everyone else folds and it’s now heads up.
The turn is the 8 of clubs, the perfect card for you to scare your opponent. You now lead out with a pot sized bet since you are in early position. Chances are giving your opponent every reason to believe that you are on a straight and/or flush draw is enough to make your opponent fold most of the time.
If your opponent calls or raises you should probably consider giving this hand up because he has basically shown you that he is committed to see this hand to the end no matter what. If you are deep stacked and feeling really aggressive you can put in another bet on the river if he called your turn bet.
One last example is where you are sitting in late position, and an early position player bets at the Judi Online pot. This player is fairly tight and you can narrow his hands down significantly. You have nothing but decide to call instead of letting this player just claim the blinds. The board comes down quite harmless with a bunch of low cards. It is checked to you and you bet here knowing that your opponent is either trying to slow play his big pocket pair or has two over cards. If he bets back with a check raise you are probably up against a slow played over-pair and should fold, but often if he has two over cards he will just give up on this situation even if they don’t think you have much of a hand either.
This is but only a few situations in which you can bluff. You will find yourself in many more situations where you can bluff at a pot successfully. To become a great bluffer you must learn to get inside the head of your opponents.
Tips for general bluffing:
Put yourself in your opponents shoes. This is probably the most important concepts of bluffing. What range of hands would you put yourself on if you were in his position looking at your actions and betting patterns. If that range of hands puts you in a position to make your opponent think he is beat, you should bluff.
Don’t bluff too much or too little. It’s a beginner mistake to bluff much too often or too little. Not all players you play even at beginner tables are idiots. If they see you getting involved in every pot no matter if you are showing strength or not they will sooner or later trap or slow play you (slow playing to come in a future article). If they see you just playing your cards all the time they will bluff you.
If you are playing an extra aggressive strategy you must now adjust the range of hands your opponents will think you carry. This will greatly change your situations in which you will bluff or not. The game of poker has a nasty effect of making players honest if they try and exploit a certain strategy too much.
Vary your play. It’s better to confuse your opponents and be unpredictable than it is to follow a single strategy for too long. Sooner or later a good player will read right through your strategy and slowly take your stack because of it.
Learn to bluff online first. Bluffing raises your heart rate, blood pressure and makes you sweat. If you can learn to control these emotions and pressures first when playing online, you are more likely to be able to control them in a real live game.
Learn the tells of a bluffer. And learn to not make them when you bluff. You can learn these tells from many books and online sites, learn them well and make sure you don’t make them on the felt.
Be consistent. You must make your bluffing plays look just like your normal plays. If you vary your betting when you bluff and when you have a real hand, people will begin to read that and adapt to it. You will go from a bluff king to a broke king.