Poker Strategy – The Bluff
When it comes to one of the most popular – even legendary – poker strategy pieces, the bluff, there are two radically different kinds of animals we need to cover. The first one is the semi-bluff, which is in fact a rather intricate and in the same time much less “desperate” move than the pure bluff. The semi bluff is made when a player has outs to make a solid hand, but decides to take down the pot right there and then, without waiting for any of those outs to hit. The primary objective of the semi-bluff is to force a fold, but if he fails to achieve that objective, the semi-bluffer can always fall back to plan B, which may indeed end up reaping even bigger dividends for him. The bottom line is that the semi-bluff sees much more control retained by the bluffer than the pure bluff.
According to most players, there are few things as satisfying as pulling off a pure bluff and seeing those chips shipped across the table. It is this extreme satisfaction and mystique that surrounds bluffing that lures many players into the pitfalls blind bluffing usually entails.
Pulling off a pure bluff is a much more intricate undertaking than most beginners would think, that is of course if one intends to be successful with it. One’s position, the texture of the board and most importantly, the reads one has on the other players are all involved in pushing that bluff button. Those who bluff well do so by slipping into a role as an actor. They visualize that they do indeed have the hand they’re trying to represent and they do everything while staying in character.
Floating is one of the most common bluffing techniques. When floating, one is essentially stalking his opponent, applying some amount of pressure while looking for a sign of weakness this pressure may elicit. As soon as the opponent caves and checks, the bluffer pounces on him and forces the fold.
The logic behind floating resides in a weakness most players exhibit when they fire a bullet on the flop after a preflop raise. While most players are indeed perfectly willing to commit to this degree, most of them are reluctant to fire a second bullet, and that’s where floaters can swoop in on them for the kill.
Probe betting is another form of pure bluffing. Probe betting is basically about turning the tables on one’s opponents from a bad position (preferably, from under the gun). The probe bet is nothing more than a jab at the pot, when the read tells one that the flop has missed the other players. The secret of the probe bet is in its size: it has to be small enough to be profitable even as most of the time it ends up shot down.
If you’re looking to become a poker prop, make sure you read the propping rules thoroughly. The devil’s always in the fine print you know…