Thursday, September 23, 2004
My Bluffing Strategy
Most people's bluffing strategy has a lot to do with position. If you're acting in late position, you have the opportunity to see what the other players are doing before you act. So if you see a raise, a re-raise, and another re-raise, then you probably know that it's not a very good time to try to bluff your way into a pot. You also consider who's stayed in the hand up until that point--it's hard to bluff down a calling station, but it's easy to bluff a rock sometimes.
On the other hand, if no one behind you has a really strong hand, you can come out with a really strong bet in early position and look even more believable with your bluff, especially if you're playing online and make a quick large bet. Problem is, someone behind you might have AA or KK. But if you catch a scare card or two on the flop, your bluff still might work. A check-raise is often a really good bluffing strategy too.
Semi-bluffing is when you bet a hand really hard when it's not the strongest hand on the board, but has a good chance at making a draw. I like to semi bluff when I have four to a flush in Texas Holdem. Especially if there are scare cards on the flop. Even if my opponent doesn't fold, I still have a reasonable chance of picking up the flop in that situation. Especially if I have other outs.
Something else to consider when bluffing or semi-bluffing is the odds that the situation offers. Your bluffs must work a certain percentage of the time for them to be profitable, but they don't have to work all the time, or even most of the time. Also--if you get caught bluffing, you might think it's embarassing, but it's probably good advertising for later in the game, because you'll get more action after you've tightened up. Most players will remember that you played 10-2 really hard earlier in the evening, but won't have noticed that you've folded the last 20 hands in a row.
My bluffing strategy usually works like this: I bluff early in the evening when I start playing. It gives everyone reason to believe that I play loose or that I might be bluffing. I might bluff a couple or three times in the first hour or so. Then I tighten up significantly for the rest of the evening, and count on my earlier bluffs to get me the action I need with my really monster hands.