Perception is a lot in poker...what do you perceive someone has or more importantly, what does your opponent perceive you have. Convincing him of this is the key between a successful bluff or an induced call and lost profits followed by immediate shame and frustration. Of course, in order to make them think you have the nuts, you have to pick your spots carefully, which is what I try to do. Also, you have to be prepared to be called down in some instances, because your opponent just didn't believe your story and accept the consequences. In order to make the most profitable situations, you have to have as much information as possible, making you account for all the variables.

Your Opponents:

My goal in poker is to make the most correct decisions that I can make in any given hand, not surprisingly...I still make lots of mistakes. However, if I can make less mistakes then my opponents do, then it will generally end in a profitable situation. If I know my opponent is a calling station, I have to show up with the nuts, plain and simple. If I know my opponent is a nit, then I will barrel into them pretty easily and expect to get folds most of the time, and if they don't fold...its time to give up. Also, I look out for regs at my level, because they usually are the best players and will make more correct decisions, so they will be more willing to call with less if they know your game.

Number of Opponents:

Multiple opponents in a hand are probably the worst situations to bluff, because there are just so many possibilities out there. Here's an example of this. Playing 25PLO zoom about a week ago, i get dealt 10sJs9h7h on the button. UTG+1 raises pot to 85 cents, the CO calls, I call, and both blinds call. Flop is 2c 2h 7d. Everyone checked to me and I checked. Turn is the 8 of spades. Everyone again checks to you. It looked like a good spot to semi-bluff with a nice little wrap draw and a pair, and no one showed anyone aggression so I bet 2.55 into a 4.12 pot. The SB then snap pots and the BB goes all in as the other two fold. Now you have to fold, and you feel like an idiot. Checking the hand replay a couple minutes later, you see the SB had 7753 and the BB had 2299. Now you think, why in the world did they call in first place? The double pair hand has about a 23% chance of flopping a set (Source: 2+2 forums), so he needs about 4.34:1 to call on his money and with 5 opponents, he's getting the correct price. The small blind appears to be making a spewy call, but he can flop some nut straights or sets as well, so they may feel they are priced in as well. Bottom line: bluffing or semi-bluffing in multiway pots is usually bad, but I will still do it in better situations. For example, lets take this same example and say the blinds folded in this situation preflop. Now I would make the same sized bet here on the turn again and continue on a bunch of rivers if i got called because it seems less likely that my opponents would have a 2 in their hands given their raise and calls in early and middle position. BB specials seem to get me a lot, but I just need to be more perceptive.

Board Texture:

If you are an omaha player, youve probably been in this situation before. You flop top set on like a 1054 rainbow board, feeling great about the turn of a 9 and then a dreaded 6 peels off on the river and your opponent, who has just checked called you the whole way now suddenly donk bets pot into you as you vomit into an adjacent waste bin. You tell yourself, "he was waiting for a scare card, he's trying to bluff me, how can i fold top set..." and you make the hero call only to see he had the 6789 double suited and you just lost a healthy pot. Same can be said for flopping the nut straight on a two flush board. Guess what, your opponent is 37% to make his straight on the flop with a wrap and if he has a flush draw, he jumps to almost 48%. This is what I like to call the "sickness factor", and I try to use it to my advantage whenever I can. Scare cards are just as critical to making the nuts as they are to the perception that you made the nuts. About 2 weeks ago, I had an interesting situation develop. I had 8h8s8c5h in the big blind, a truly terrible hand, one where I clearly had the check/fold button clicked. However, the CO limps and the SB completes so I was forced to see a flop of 5c6hJs. I have second pair only, so the SB checks and I check and the CO bets 50 cents in 75 cents. The SB folds and I almost fold, but then I call. It seems like a pretty sick call, but I am banking on the fact that I have wins in the deck. Lets say they had top set here, called preflop with like JJ106, wants to try and flop a set (this is hypothetical, I never saw his hand). So they flop huge, and want to get some value out of it. Now we must try to determine what my opponent thinks my calling range here is. I would think they would assume I do not have a set as well because its a draw heavy board and would want to raise to get as much money in as possible. It seems like its three possibilites. Either I have the case J with some high cards, hoping to float the flop and catch two pair or a straight draw on the turn. Bottom two, where he cant get much more value out of it, or a wrap draw, where I would have a tendency to call him down. Now, if this is the range I perceive that my opponent perceives I have, then I can catch a lot of turn cards that can scare him by the river, anything that isnt a 3 or 2 is good for me seemingly, and backdoors can help. The turn comes a 10 of hearts. Now I have a back flush draw, and could represent two pair with a straight draw. But my opponent also knows that this may have helped me, but also must factor in that I did not raise preflop into their decision, so I cannot have a truly great hand here, but that i must have some piece here. Naturally, they go on the defensive and full pot it for 1.75 and I snap call them. I want to sell the idea that I have something, that I want them to fear the river if it connects with anything on this board. And then boom, the river is a beautiful 7 of clubs. The pot is about 5 dollars now, and I pause for about 15 seconds before I bet out 3.75. I try to bet 3/4 pot to let them know I feel like my hand is strong and trying to get value from it, without snap pot betting which could have been perceived as weak. My opponent tanks at this point, they start eating into their time bank. This is why I assumed their hand was a set at least, I can't see top two on the flop hero calling here on such a wet board. Now, the real question, was my story believeable? I call on two streets here, I did not raise preflop but that could mean I just did not want to bloat the pot OOP. They must assume that I can't call down with two pair on the flop on such a wet board...although I could have jammed on the river with this as a bluff to try and steal it. There are some high cards possible but I probably would raise preflop, no flush comes in and that dang 7 hit. It leaves them with what I believe are only two possibilities: a straight or a bluff. Eventually, I get the fold I desire and don't show my cards, luckily the story I told was convincing enough. Board texture is a big thing to running a bluff, but you need to play as your opponent to make them believe you have the nuts in order to get it through in the end. At least, that's all I am trying to do anyways...

I'm hoping next week to have some video of a couple sessions up to get some analysis which would be great, played a couple good sessions this week and have begun to branch into 5-card omaha as well as courcheval...which seems like an addicting game that I need to keep Until then, I am out, and remeber, even though you may lose in the short term, that set versus a wrap will be profitable in the long least, I hope so....I seem to be on the losing end of that a lot

In Omaha We Trust