Persuading and Preventing Bluffs
With good judgment or game theory, a player who bluffs perfectly gains a large surface over his rivals. Given in two games – one with poor poker players who bluff somewhat correctly and another with hard players who do not bluff – you would do much better to play the game in the second situation. When I, in Gardena, California, started playing draw poker for a living, I naturally suspected I was good off playing in games with rigid Gardena players as compared to the looser games with the players who played too many hands. I consider what the dissimilarity was. It was gainful for me when the rigid players never bluffed but even harm me the same when loser games players were bluffing somewhat correctly.
Better bluffing strategy is such a strong tool that it is essential to use methods to keep your rivals from bluffing perfectly. Obviously, you are not taking into account changing the habits of rivals who more or less never bluff or bluff too much. However, when you make up yourself against the player whose rare bluffing keeps you on the defensive, you make an attempt to lead that rival away from correct bluffing strategy. You want to encourage him to bluff more than he should or prevent him from bluffing as frequently as he should.
Whether you try to persuade a bluff or to prevent a bluff, rely upon your rival. If you are playing against a rigid player who on the other hand looks like to be winning too many hands without getting called, considering he may be stealing some pots, you expect to prevent him from bluffing. This means you want to throw him away from the optimal bluffing strategy to the point where he fears you will bluff at all. However, you want to throw away a hostile player who might be bluffing more than optimally into bluffing even more. In other words, persuade a bluff against a rival who looks to bluff a bit more than is correct and make that player bluff more. Against a rival who stands to bluff less than is right, prevent him and encourage him to bluff less. In any case, you are preventing bluffs or persuading bluffs to make your rivals bluff wrongly.
Correct Bluffing Approach
Many expert poker players are conscious of the strength of the correct bluffing approach, therefore they try to persuade bluffs or prevent bluffs. But, sometimes do not remember the significant rule: If you try to persuade a player to bluff and that player bets, then you should call. This rule is straightforward but many of them go against it. If you try to persuade a bluff and fold when your rival bets; all the things that work out would be helping that player bluff you out of even more pots than he otherwise would have.
Likewise, if you do something to prevent a bluff and then call when your rival bets, you would be in a good position and chase more bluffs if you haven’t tried to prevent his bluffing in the first position. In other words, if you believe your hand is worth a call after having tried to prevent a bluff, it’s foolish to have tried to prevent the bluff. You unnecessarily decrease the possible hands your rival may have bet with and so the number of hands he may have that can beat when you call.
These two rules about persuading and preventing bluffs should be clear. When you try to persuade a bluff, you will always call if your rival bets. When you try to prevent a bluff, you will fold always if your rival bets. However, it is entirely counter-productive and it would be better not to try to persuade or prevent a bluff in the first position.
There are two general types of methods to persuade and prevent bluff – strategic methods and artificial methods. Artificial methods are simple to understand. It can be used only against average to little-above-average players, for they occasionally work against hard rivals who would see through them quicker.
The trick to stopping a bluff is to get on your chips as if you are eager to call. Still, if your rival comes out with betting rules, fully hoping you to call, just throw away your hand. In fact, you have to use this to play against the correct player. A skilled player who observes you getting on the chips and suspects what you are up to is all the more likely to come out bluffing, fully hoping you fold.
The trick to persuading a bluff is to give the impression that you want to fold your hand. Now, if your rival bets, you call. But once again the skillful player who observes you through the tricks may not bet except with a good hand; thinking a bluff will not succeed, that player saves money when he or she has nothing.
There are various other artificial tricks – pretending to lack interest in the hand to persuade a bluff, pretending tremendous interest to prevent a bluff – however, they will not win frequently against expert players. Against such players, you should use strategic poker skills and tricks.
Strategic Methods: Preventing Bluffs
Significantly, the ploy to prevent bluffs is to consider more strength than you really have. Your rival may not try to bluff, considering that you have a calling hand or indeed much better hands. Suppose in draw poker, you are playing with jacks or better to open with, against someone you want to prevent from bluffing. You open with a pair of aces as the dealer is in the last position. After having been checked in a deep position, the potential bluffer calls you now.
There is no option that the player has something like two pairs, as in that situation he would have opened himself. Otherwise, he must have been on the come. He draws one card which may have made his hand or may not. Now, you stand pat! Even when you check after the draw poker, your rival will never bet until and unless he has made his own hands. He, of course, will not try a bluff in the hope that you will throw away a pat hand. He possibly will not even bet a small straight. If he bets, he had made his hand and you fold, thinking you have not cost yourself any money – that is thinking that your rival did not steal the pot from you.
To prevent a bluff in this situation, some players draw one card representing two pair and many players draw two representing three-of-a-kind. But in any case, their rival may still bluff, and he will possibly be bluffing almost correctly. If you stand pat, you prevent the bluff completely at no cost to yourself. If you have two aces, there is no chance your rival can chase a larger pair than yours, and the odds are about 500-to-1 which will make a full house by drawing three cards and the rival making a straight or flush.
You have definitely decreased your rival’s chances of winning money from you to the minimum by stopping the bluff in this manner. Suppose the rival who draws one card makes the hand 20 percent of the time. When that rival does not bluff – and by standing pat you have somewhat forced him to bluff – 80 percent of the time you can win the pot. Given the size of the pot, your rival’s optimal bluffing frequency, according to the game theory, is approximately 7 percent.
If your rival bluffs between 1 percent to 20 percent of the time, he makes it better than if he doesn’t bluff at all. If, for example, he bluffs only 2 percent of the time, you should not call when he bets, and he wins 22 percent of the pots instead of 20 percent. If he bluffs 10 percent of the time, he is a 2-to-1 favorite to have his hand made when he bets. As the pot gives you 3-to-1 odds with the antes, you are forced to call, but however, you will lose last bet two times out of three. So you precisely progress better when your rival never bluffs (or bluffs too much) than when he bluffs anywhere near correctly.
Rival (Hidden cards)
Your rival performs first and he bets. You are afraid of a flush or a straight, and even the other hands, but you are afraid of a possible bluff. Thus, after the bets, you should raise your two small pair. If he has made a pair of kings or four-flush, then he calls but he will not try to bluff you out on the end. However, if he re-raises or calls and then bets on the end; you should throw away your hand. You know you are beaten as your rival would be in fear after you have considered so much strength.
When you are against a player who often bluffs, other than to prevent his bluffs, you should normally persuade one. Suppose take an example similar to the previous example of draw poker. Once again as a dealer, you open with two aces or maybe two queens, and a hostile player who checked now calls. This player takes one card and you are certain he’s on the come. If you want this player to bluff, you have to go out and take three cards, making it clear you are starting off with only one pair.
Now if he bets, you call. Even if you have increased the player’s capacity to bluff little, you profit by persuading a bluff. You have made your chances of winning more when you call that last bet you would otherwise have. As you try to prevent a bluff by representing strength, you even try to persuade a bluff by representing weakness.
You should check behind the rival who checks if you want to persuade him to bluff in the end. The risk that you take in this play is that you are giving a free card to your rival. If he has an ace, any ace on the end gives him the best hand. On the other hand, if he has a small pair, the odds are 21-to-1 that he will improve to three-of-a-kind. If your rival is slowplaying three 9s, you are already beat and you save a bet. You must ask yourself whether you want to bet on the fourth street to prevent giving a free poker card or whether it’s worth trying to persuade a bluff on the end.
You have the best first four cards. Nevertheless, you should often check and call if your rival bets. Besides concealing your hand, you are persuading a bluff on a future round of betting. When you are persuading your rival to bluff, there is no need to lure them so far away from a correct bluffing approach that they are favorites to bluff when they bet. The important thing is to lead them to bluff more than the correct frequency. Precisely, you should never prevent bluffs by people who bluff way too much. Moreover, it may be correct to persuade bluffs from people who occasionally bluff if you can persuade them to bluff more frequently than their chances of making the poker reading hand.
Players who bluff with almost the correct frequency are dangerous rivals because they force you often into the position of making an incorrect play. Thus, it is essential to try to prevent or persuade bluffs to lead rivals away from the correct bluffing strategy. You should usually persuade a bluff against players who already bluff too much and prevent bluffs against players who already bluff too little.
In the first situation, you are in a position where you would have to call if your rival bets. If you persuade a bluff, you increase your chances of winning that last bet as your rival will bet more hands – in addition to bluffs – that you can beat than he otherwise would. In the second situation, against someone who bluffs too little, you know you would have to fold if that rival bets, even if there is little chance he might be bluffing. If you prevent his bluffs, you reduce his chances of winning as he will bet only when he has made his hand, and then you can easily fold.
Other than the artificial methods, you try to persuade a bluff by showing weakness in the previous round and prevent a bluff by showing strength in the previous round. Therefore, persuading a bluff is something similar to slowplaying, and preventing a bluff is something similar to semi-bluffing. When you persuade a bluff, you want to call if your rival bets as you have increased the chances he might be bluffing. When you prevent a bluff, you want to fold if your rival calls as you have reduced or extremely removed the chances he is bluffing.