August 28th, 2011

Bluffing

Posted by pokerlover in poker

In the game of poker, bluffing consists in playing as if we had a different hand from that we really hold. The aim is to suggest that we have a good hand while it is truly a weak hand, or to suggest that we have a garbage hand when you have a monster hand.

In the first case, the goal is to win the pot despite a weak hand. For this, we must bet enough to get our opponents to fold. Hopefully they do not have very good hands that lead them to call or raise our bets for us to lose the final round. In the second case, the aim is to slow play despite a strong hand in order to attract other players in the game and extract as much money as possible.

A bluff well done is made with the correct betting. Neither too strong nor too weak not to arouse suspicion. It is also an attitude that must match the one we have if we held a hand equal to the one we represent. When bluffing like in any gamble, you have to control your emotions not to be too transparent for the other players.

One example taken from a WPT table will show how it works. Ken Rosen, 10 of spades and 4 of diamonds throws his hand, followed by Ted Kearly with King of Clubs and 5 of spades who does the same, Jordan Rich button raises $220,000 with a 6 and 3 of diamonds, Eugene Katchalov calls with a pair of jacks and Devilfish Ulliott mocks queen of diamonds and 8 of clubs.

The flop comes 8 of spades, queen of hearts and jack of diamonds. Nothing interesting for Jordan Rich but Eugene Katchalov hits middle set. Jordan tries to bluff by raising to $320,000 but Eugene reraises to $840,000. Jordan tries one last bluff by raising of $1,620,000 but is 5-bet by Eugene for $2,640,000 who won the hand without drawing the last card.

This move is interesting to explain a bluff that fails. Initially, Jordan Rich hoped a color flop, a small pair or a straight. Even without mentioning the hand of Eugene Katchalov after the flop, Jordan cannot expect much. He can dream of a color to the river or a pair, but his hand is really weak now and he should probably anticipate that Eugene has a better hand than him. Despite this, Jordan Rich cannot imagine one second that Eugene hit a set of jacks. If he did he would fold without hesitation. That’s why he tries a bluff by raising the first $ 320,000. When Eugene Katchalov reraised to $840,000, Jordan would normally give up, but he is convinced his opponent does not have a very strong hand. So he tried a big bluff by raising of $1,620,000. The sum is important. Jordan has just bet 28% of his stack on that hand but Eugene with his set cannot pass up. His last revival of 2.64 million U.S. dollars is way too high for Jordan who cannot take more risk. The shot is lost to Jordan. His bluff failed.

The fact that the stroke is lost by Jordan Rich does not mean that he played badly. Instead, he has led his bluff by betting enough to deter to his opponent to call without a great hand. Simply, Eugene Katchalov had an excellent hand. A bluff in poker cannot always work well even if properly conducted. Especially when it is confronted with a hand of high value. Conversely, a poorly played bluff can work very well if the opponent has a small hand.


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