Posts Tagged ‘bluffing’

Traits of Good Postflop Poker Players

Tuesday, April 3rd, 2012

For many beginning poker players, it’s hard enough to get comfortable with the various preflop situations that will arise. But when you add postflop play into the mix, it almost seems like an overload to some players. Of course, this is no excuse to neglect postflop play because it’s extremely important for those who want to experience long-term success in poker. This being said, here are some common traits among good postflop poker players, and ones that you should try to improve upon:

Strong Value Betting – When you’re ahead in a hand, you need to extract maximum value from the situation by getting opponents to call your raises. Of course, there’s a fine line between getting people to call the maximum amount, and betting so much that they fold.

Good Bet Sizing when Bluffing – One pitfall of many beginning poker players is throwing too many chips out on a bluff. However, the key is to size your bluffs so that you’re only risking the minimum amount that would make an opponent fold; anything more puts you at a bigger risk if they call.

Ability to give up when you’re beat – It’s never easy folding on the turn or river – especially when you’ve put a lot of money into the pot. However, it doesn’t help your cause to call with a set when it’s obvious that your opponent rivered a flush.

Balancing Continuation Bets – If you were the initial preflop raiser, it’s often good to show aggression after the flop by firing out another raise (continuation bet). But you need to find the right mix between c-betting too much, and not doing it enough.

Adjusting to the Table – No two poker tables play exactly alike, and skilled postflop players are able to adjust to the situation. So if people are overplaying top pairs and two pairs postflop, you need to adjust to this and take advantage.

Spotting Bluffs in Poker

Wednesday, December 28th, 2011

The most romanticized-about aspect of poker is no doubt bluffing. You see it in movies and TV shows, and all of the beginners want to discuss it. But in reality, bluffing isn’t as big of a part of online poker as everybody makes it out to be. That said, bluffs still happen enough to make them relevant though, so it’s worth discussing how to spot them.

The first thing you need to realize is exactly what we said to open the article in that bluffing isn’t as prevalent as people think. The sooner you understand this, the sooner you’ll get out of the mindset that players are constantly trying to bluff you; in turn, this prevents you from wasting unnecessary chips while calling players all of the time.

In regards to actually catching somebody in a bluff, you need to know their betting tendencies, what range of cards they typically play, and what the board looks like. For example, let’s say your opponent is extremely aggressive, they raise with 66/KJ/etc. from just about any position, and the board reads 5-8-3 rainbow; in this scenario, any raise could be construed as a bluff. But before you call or re-raise here, you need to have enough info on your opponent to make an informed decision.

Assuming you don’t have enough info on an opponent to spot their bluffs, just remember one thing: being bluffed isn’t the worst thing in the world. In fact, it might even be +EV in the long-run to simply fold rather than trying to sniff out a bluff when you’re not quite sure.

Lots of experience with reading opponents and studying their tendencies will definitely help you spot bluffs as well, so keep this in mind while you’re playing poker.

Cold Calling in Poker

Sunday, October 9th, 2011

One concept that beginning poker players may not be totally familiar with is cold calling. Basically, cold calling involves making a call when at least two actions have been made (one involving a raise) before your turn to act. For example, if one opponent bets, another opponent raises, and you call, this would be considered cold calling. Seeing as how two players ahead of you have shown some hand strength, this isn’t exactly the ideal time to be bluffing or trying to draw with a marginal hand.

For example, let’s say that you’re sitting in middle position with KQ(o), and an early position player bets, then the player to your right raises; assuming at least one of the players isn’t a total maniac, you’re facing a dilemma here. Sure K-Q is a solid drawing hand since it has top pair and high-straight potential, but is it really +EV to call in this situation.

Some might consider this to be a good enough starting hand to cold call a raise with, but the majority of skilled poker players will pass on this one – even with position. After all, you’ve got somebody who raised from early-middle position, knowing that they have the potential to be called or re-raised later on.

Assuming you make the call anyways, you’ll often be put into a difficult post-flop position. For example, let’s say that the flop was A-Q-7 rainbow, which isn’t bad for you because you paired the queen. However, you also have to contend with the possibility that your opponent had AK or AQ, and they now have top pair. Of course, they could have pocket jacks as well, and this will take knowing your opponent’s range in order to decide if it’s worth calling any future bets they make.

But long story short, you need a very good hand to make a cold call in online poker because the opponents ahead of you have shown a considerable amount of strength.

To Bluff Or Not To Bluff? That Is The Question

Thursday, January 13th, 2011

When it comes to bluffing in poker, either you’ve got it or you don’t. Some players are masters at bluffing while others are dead giveaways every time. If you are one of those players who haven’t quite got bluffing down yet, here are a few tips to help you along your way.

For starters, you don’t want to become known as a bluffer so don’t bluff on a majority of hands. When you do that it’s like the boy who cried wolf—the other players will expect that you’re bluffing and will call you on it. Bluffing works best when you use it so rarely that no one sees it coming. If you usually only go into the showdown with great hands then you are building up your bluff equity, so when you do bluff everyone will think you’re telling the truth.

Before you bluff you should also consider the type of hands that the other players who are still in are holding. If you suspect that one of the other players has the nuts or a really strong hand then you may want to call it quits rather than bluff a good hand and lose even more money.

Finally, understand that the higher the stakes the better at bluffing your opponents will be and the harder it will be to read them. Start out with free poker and low stakes poker games to practice your bluffing skills and then work your way up through the stakes as you improve.

The Biggest Mistake in Poker Bluffing

Wednesday, December 16th, 2009

When it comes to bluffing in poker there is a right way and a wrong way to do it. The trick is to use common sense but, strangely, a lot of people just don’t seem to do that.

One of the biggest mistakes in the bluffing book is to go all in, or raise almost all of your chips, without taking anything else into consideration. In this no-no move, the player doesn’t think about his position, the cards in his own hand, the cards that have been dealt, his opponents or anything else. He simply goes all in, in an attempt to scare the other players into folding.

You may ask yourself what’s so wrong with that? And the truth is that sometimes this move works. In a No-Limit game you’ll be hard-pressed to find a player who will use a major chunk of their stack to call your huge bluff. However, if you do it too often the other players will begin to catch on and you could wind up losing your entire poker bankroll in one fell swoop.

In lower limit games with pot limits of $10/$20 this radical bluff is an even worse idea. A $20 bluff will nearly always be called by at least one other player at the table and since you haven’t put any thought into your actions there’s a 50/50 chance you’ll lose. Bluffing is a skill that takes practices in free poker and requires strategy and analysis. Going in blind will only hurt you in the long run.

Making Bluffing Work for you Online

Wednesday, October 7th, 2009

A lot of inexperienced poker players think that the strategy of bluffing doesn’t apply when you are playing poker online. After all, when you play on the Web the other players can’t see you so what good does your poker face do you? I’ll admit that I once shared this belief. However, it turns out that there are a few tips and strategies that can help you make bluffing work for you when you play poker online.

You are right that your poker face won’t help you when you play online. However, you can still do a lot by bluffing through your betting patterns. For instance, if you simply call or check on a pair of Aces your opponents will have no idea that you have a good hand. On the other hand, raising on a hand that is only so-so will give your opponents reason to believe that your hand is much better than it is.

By sitting in a late position at the table you can increase the credibility of your bluff. You can also see what the other players are doing first in order to give yourself more information to go on. If the players before you all call then by making a big raise you could get them all to fold.

When it comes to bluffing in online poker, keep in mind that you can’t make it a habit. If you always bluff then you’ll give yourself away. However, if you leave your regular betting habits once in awhile you can use bluffing to your advantage.

Avoiding Common Mistakes in Hold’em

Thursday, September 17th, 2009

In the game of Texas Hold’em there are several mistakes that beginners frequently make. I can admit that I used to make these mistakes myself. However, now that I’ve learned to avoid them my game has improved infinitely.

1. The Golden Pair

It’s a known fact that A-A, K-K and Q-Q are outstanding starting hands in Hold’em. However, it is important to note that if the flop, turn and river don’t come up in your favor your hand is just a pair. Too many players make the mistake of pushing ahead, raising again and again, sure that their big pair is going to win them the hand.
Keep your eyes open and assess the situation. For instance, if the community cards include 3, 4 and 6 it’s possible (and even likely) that one of your opponents has a 2-7 or 3-7 straight or two pairs, both of which will take out your pair. Don’t be overconfident-be cautious.

2. The Bluff

Feigning confidence as you raise on a so-so hand may get your opponents to fold a few times. But making bluffing your primary strategy will get you nowhere fast. Too many beginning players use bluffing as a primary strategy. Take my advice-study up on odds. It will get you a heck of a lot further.

3. Predictability: Friend or Foe?

Always fold, call and raise on the same hands and your opponents will read you like an open book. Avoid predictability-mix up your methods and keep your opponents guessing. On he other hand, look for predictable behavior in the other players to help you with your own strategy.