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You Can't Win Without Some Bluffing

Jun 24, 2008
If you want to go far in tournaments, you need to win some hands when you don't have the goods. This means you have to make some bluffs. Read on and you'll see some types of bluffs that are used.

The types of moves range from simply stealing the blinds, to complex bluffs. We will be looking at examples where we probably, or definitely, don't have the best hand. In these hands, we will try to convince our opponents to fold.

Stealing the blinds is picking a spot to make a raise with the hope of all remaining players folding. This can be done from any position as long as you are the first to act. When you are a short stack this is usually an all in bet. As a big stack, this can raise will vary to match the situation of the remaining players stacks, and their tendencies.

The check raise bluff is based on the strength of check raising. You're in the big blind, with 78 of diamonds. You call a raise. The flop is AJ4 with no diamonds.

You check your hand and your opponent bets the pot. Now you pause for a moment, and re-raise. This bluff will usually get a fold right here. If he doesn't fold, you will fold to any other betting.

You can also use the semi bluff. You have KQ of hearts. You have called a raise.

The flop comes J74 with two hearts. Your opponent raises the pot, representing a big hand, and discouraging drawing for the flush. This can be a good opportunity to push all in.

You might get a fold. If he calls you have outs, at least nine of them. If he has AJ you will be a mathematical favorite. This is a classic semi-bluff.

Here's a different type of bluff. You are on an open ended straight draw and have called a raise on the flop and the turn. You are first to act and the only chance to win the pot is to get a fold. Your opponent has raised twice so this is tricky, he might be very strong.

In this situation you make a small raise. This bet looks like you want to get called. If you try this play you need your opponent understands that this small bet represents a big hand that wants a call.

There are a lot of other bluffs out there. You need to make moves like these, and others, if you want to win tournaments. You have to be able to make chips without the cards sometimes.
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