I found this lesson a hard one to learn but after practicing and running into better hands, conditioning myself and being more disciplined... I think I have cracked it.

Also, I thought about it in detail and came up with a pretty simple way of figuring out if your Opponent is Bluffing you or not.

 

Bluffing can be attempted by anyone, anytime from any position with any cards. What I suggest below is not a shield to protect you from getting stung by a Bluff but more to stop you from getting bust when you suspect a Bluff but really have no reason to when you think about it.

The below statements are predicated on the assumption that this will occur MOST of the time. If i say "Someone won't bluff when they risk losing their ITM spot" I am saying that this would occur MOST of the time.

 

1. People will not bluff most or all of their chips.

2. People need Opportunity to bluff

 

The first one is fairly obvious but the second one needs more explaining.

Most people that bluff will not conciously think about Opportunity being a factor and it will mostly be done subconciously by the player.

What is Opportunity?

 

Simply put it is the condition(s) that must be in place for a player to consider making a bluff-play. If one, some or all of these conditions are available it is more likely that a play made against you is a bluff rather than a strong hand.

 

So what types of bluffs are there?

Stealing (so really a raise from the C/O, BTN, SB) is the most common type of bluff and is where a player raises with an open field and only a few people left to act looking to induce folds and pickup the blinds.

Big Stack Bully is where a player will use their large stack to play any 2 cards often enough and be willing to raise them over weaker or shorter stacked opponents.

Short Stack Shove is where a player is so short they are willing to shove with a poorer range of cards and whilst not really a "bluff" it is a spot where your opponent could shove their whole stack at you with less than a premium hand.

C-Bet (or Continuation Bet) is where a Preflop Raiser will raise in any position to represent that is hand was strong before and is strong now. A C-Bet isnt always a bluff but often can be.

Donk Bet is where the player simply called a raise to get into the hand and has position so if it is checked to them they will raise it, sometimes with nothing and just looking to buy the preflop pot.

Semi Bluff  is where you have something of a hand (like a low or middle pair or perhaps a flush draw with overcards) and you raise in the hopes to either get a fold or to build the pot so that when you do hit your hand on the next street you can clean up.

Check-Raise isn't always a bluff-play and it depends on the cards showing but can often be used as a bluff where someone out of position checks it, induces a bet after and then goes over the top. They are trying to represent a hand here but rarely do you see this used anywhere other than on the river and if it is used it is often a weak play used to intimidate.

 

I am sure there are others as well but those are the big ones.

 

So what about the conditions that need to be present for a bluff to work well?

Are there less opponents to act after the better?

>> A greater amount of players is a biger job that the bluffer has to fool vs. The more there are the less likely someone will try and bluff

Does the better have a very short or very big stack in relation to those he is betting against?

>> A very short stack and very large stack are often positions that represent weak holding. I wouldn't recommend challenging a Big Stack even if you do think he is weak though, just worth noting that if you do get into a hand chances are they have less than you if you have a good hand

Is the better making the play from early position?

>> A play from early position represents strength. It is less likely someone bluffing with try and do so with so many people left to act yet.

Is the player tight or loose?

>> Tight players typically dont bluff but loose players do

Is the size of the bet high or low?

>> A large bet represents strength. Nuff said really

 

 

Now given the right Opportunity, players will attempt to bluff but without these opportunities they wont. Most of the time they wont even think about it and just act on their gut but if you know what conditions are needed to make a bluff work you can work better to avoid them.

 

So how is this useful?

Do i suggest you use this to start calling bluffs..........NOOOOOOOOOO!!!!

 

That isn't the purpose of this, the purpose is the opposite just to spot when an opponent ISNT bluffing so you can avoid it.

 

So if you say to yourself "Is this opponent bluffing? Should I lay down my AK with Top Pair because he seems to say he has better?

Ask yourself if he has met the conditions of a bluffer...

Was he the preflop raiser?

Did he bet strong (50%+) from a weaker position?

Is he a tight or loose player?

Is his stack size very small or very large compared to yours (and to the size of the bet)?

Is he just bluffing you or are there others in the hand?

 

If you can answer that he is showing strength in some, most or all of these factors - you can do well to lay it down.

If you don't and see it as a bluff, challenge it if you like but remember that someone will not typically bluff off all their chips (especially deeper into a game) so if you raise them and they repop it - chances are they have it.

 

In any time before when I have AK and have a board with Aces or even A-K-X I bet it, get raised, re-raise it and then if my opponent comes over the top of me... 99/100 they have trips or some other hand that has me beat.

Any time I have done that and the opponent folded... well they didnt have trips lol obviously

 

So with this information you can use it to sidestep powerful plays by your opponent that although they might not realize it, they are giving off a VERY STRONG image with their betting and unless you have a dominating hand to challenge them with, assume they are NOT BLUFFING and save yourself chips.