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thoughts on bluffing in hold-e

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  • thoughts on bluffing in hold-e

    ffing in hold-em

    We are told, that in the long run, big cards will win more than small
    cards. let's assume that means several years, and that during that time you will frequently play poker

    in casinow, they deal an average of 30 hands per hour, or a bit more. on line, it may be double that. anyway, you do the math and
    you will see that in a period of several years you are likely to play
    thousands of hands. and in "the long run" it seems that all players will have an equal number of big cards

    so if all that is true(and we know how to beat the weak players) how then can we beat the good players? we may need to bluff because that may be our only edge against the better players

  • #2
    I don't bluff that often, but I believe you are correct Jellow. You can't play just big cards and win. You have to get a good read on the players you are playing - this is when I will bluff. There are sometimes I will be in a ring game or a tourney and I will just know that my opponent open raised with AK or AQ. I will have 48 off in the BB - and will complete. The flop will come 269. Nothing for me. I check. I let the fairly tight raiser bet. I check raise a pot sized bet. He folds.

    That's usually the type of bluff I will do. I might do it two to three times in a tourney, and maybe get caught once in a blue moon (go ahead and try to catch me doing it here, I might surprise you).

    I think the key is letting people believe you NEVER bluff.


    • #3
      You can't play just big cards and win.
      Yes, you can. You may not win as much as someone who plays otherly, but that doesn't mean (in a great many games), you can't win just playing big cards. The trick is that you must not play "weak".



      • #4
        Originally posted by thehazyone
        There are sometimes I will be in a ring game or a tourney and I will just know that my opponent open raised with AK or AQ.
        Are you trying to tell me you played a HUNCH or a FEELING?

        How could that be?



        • #5
          Even a tight player will loosen up his starting hands as position dictates. A weak-tight player who folds AT or even KJ when first to act in late position is missing an opportunity to win some chips. Some might consider raising with KJ or 55 on the button (when first to act) bluffing, but as has often been discussed in this forum, that player probably has the best openers.

          A player who only plays "Group One" hands is not using positional advantage when s/he has it, and is a weak-tight player.


          • #6
            Spenser, 2 comments:

            1) my definition of weak-tight would not be someone folding the hands you mentioned in those positions. It is someone who limps in with those and plays passively after the flop...calling a lot.

            2) On the KJ, 55: A lot depends on table composition, where you are in the tournament, stack size, etc... I am less apt to raise with those hands early in a NLHE tourney, simply due to Risk/Reward Ratio. You are taking a small-moderate risk (i.e., that the SB or BB wake up with a hand) to get a very small return.



            • #7
              Well geezer, here we go again.

              Sure you can win playing ONLY big cards, but how many tourneys have you played in where you aren't dealt anything worthwhile at all, find yourself blinded down and have absolutely no chance at winning. I can't count the number of times that has happened to me. What I am saying is that a good player will play big cards properly PLUS they will look for situations where a less than marginal hand has a chance of winning. The situation I described above is one of those.

              Any player can sit back and wait for pocket pairs and big aces and hope to God they double up when they get them. To win tournament's consistently however that is not the best way to play. Hey when I first got here, I was strictly a big card only kinda guy - it had worked well for me in limit tourneys (and still does) and limit ring games, but I have learned that it is not the BEST strategy for big bet poker. It is something that apryll drilled into my head over and over and over, and that I am finally starting to understand.

              It's all about table dynamics. Play the people.


              • #8
                rggator, I would think that someone calling with KJ without raising is just weak . Weak-tight implies that they are indeed tight, which might exclude someone who plays such marginal hands.

                I also should have clarified that I was writing of side game play, rather than tournamnet play. In tournament play, the value of such plays does indeed depend on where in the tournament you are, how big the blinds are, and the relative size of your stack.


                • #9
                  I think geezer and jellow are speaking of "casino poker," which I take to mean regular limit ring games.

                  You are correct that in tournament poker, playing only big cards may get you to the late stages of the tournament, but you'll get blinded off if you stay tight during the late stages.


                  • #10
                    I look at it this way: if you pitch in baseball you need a fast ball, (group 1 hands) but in order to be a complete player you need other stuff in your arsenal, like a curve, slider, or knuckle ball. Can you win the game throwing only the heat? Sure, but the extra pitches help a lot. It helps your game to have your bluffs, slow plays, and check raises.



                    • #11
                      Originally posted by thehazyone
                      IThere are sometimes I will be in a ring game or a tourney and I will just know that my opponent open raised with AK or AQ. I will have 48 off in the BB - and will complete. The flop will come 269. Nothing for me. I check. I let the fairly tight raiser bet. I check raise a pot sized bet. He folds.
                      Isn't that the same sort of thing you were calling another player out for a few weeks ago?

                      I, personally, never bluff, as many of you know. I only play solid/tight and always have the good when I bet.



                      • #12
                        well certainly in casino ring games, big cards is the way to go, and that's how I play. I was talking tourneys.

                        Greagar, I was not calling out someone for situational play like that. I was calling someone out for their "I had a feeling." "I knew I'd get lucky" play.


                        • #13
                 many tourneys have you played in...
                          Now we find where the "disagreement" is. Tourneys are indeed a different matter. Apryll is obviously quite right therein. One's outcome in tournament play is largely based on favorable outcomes of what would be bad long-term plays in real games.

                          There will be no long term in tournaments because nobody can play 100,000 events, but they can play 100,000 hands. An entire tournament hinges on success at things which are essentially unpredictable.

                          E.g., say you are midway through a tournament and decide that from your read of the table dynamics you can feel sure that your opposition will fold unless they have a great hand and you bet about 40% of your stack with a 3h2s. All but one fold but the caller (with a big stack) has JJ and a J flops. Now comes the part that is beyond accounting but enables a tournament win later. Because you are "commited" [or should be for making this stupid play] you push all in since the largest card on the board is a J and you "represented" at least QQ and you were, after all, commited. The board comes with 4 spades and neither J is a spade. You beat his flopped set with a miracle flush. If you want to describe this as a reward for "correct" play, then go right ahead. I still think of it as getting lucky.

                          Of course, your read of table dynamics will have made the play worthwhile on other occasions but there is a great deal of "versa" along with that "vice". An old race track saying by long-shot players is "chalk players also die broke". If you draw conclusions about the short term outcome of really small edges from a thousand tournaments you are likely (in the long run!) to be very disappointed. Maybe not you, but most who take that "marginal hand" route.

                          If a thousand player pool containing about 100 players of similar "skill" at its top plays a thousand tournaments the forum will be full of dozens of "why me?" posts asking "what did I do wrong - my AA keeps getting cracked?" You didn't do anything "wrong", when you correctly bluffed with the 32o, it's just that your deuce didn't make a flush often enough to be in the elite class.

                          The sample size (despite there being 10,000,000 hands dealt so far) just isn't big enough for ANY means of evaluation to be very reliably predictive.

                          In a later post than the one I responded that big cards win you acknowledged that in ring games, they in fact do, so we have no real disagreement.

                          There are a couple of Sophoclean quotes from Oedipus Rex that are paraphrased as: "whom the gods would destroy they first make mighty" and "count no man [MCP old Greek] fortunate until he has lived a whole life without pain." Stu Ungar and Phil Hellmuth (and possibly Daniel Negreanu) spring to mind as examples of both.

                          For every player here who feels good at winning an event (which likely includes us all) there are a great many in the event who wonder "why not me". If you are "running good" be careful about huge mood swings - don't get too up for a down. As Boris Becker said after a rare loss at Wimbledon "it's just a game, it's not World War III". But go ahead and throw the mouse through the CRT monitor, you'll be better off with a thin plasma display anyhow.


                          • #14
                            Geezer said:
                            As Boris Becker said after a rare loss at Wimbledon "it's just a game, it's not World War III". But go ahead and throw the mouse through the CRT monitor, you'll be better off with a thin plasma display anyhow.


                            • #15
                              In response to the original question about beating good players, I assume we are talking about a limit game since a casino is mentioned.

                              Bluffing to beat the good players isn't necessary. Your profit in any "good" game comes not from beating good players, rather from beating the bad players. A good player is going to win his money in the long run, so you as another good player, have to beat the bad players.

                              If I see a game with three "world champions" and three complete fish, I am gonna sit down, play tight and agressive and the majority of the times will walk away a winner.

                              As for tourneys playing against good players, I have always found that if I feel someone is a better player than myself (and I am very hard headed and don't think this much, hehe), my plan is to always put this better player to a decision, not giving him a chance to put me at a decision for all my chips.

                              There are some good thoughts on this same subject in "Tournament Poker for Advanced Players" by Sklansky. It gives you some ideas on how to reduce the considerable edge that a great player has over a lesser player when playing no limit. You may want to check it out, the book has some good ideas in it, not my favorite, but worth the price if you plan on playing a lot of tournament poker for $$$.




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