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Things To Remember

While calling may be a good defense against the semi-bluff in situations similar to the three described, remember that normally the correct play is to fold with marginal hands, and if folding isn't correct, then you should raise. We'll conclude this topic with an example of each response to the possible semi-bluff:

Your opponent bets. How should you play?

You should fold without hesitation. Even though your opponent may be betting four-flush or a straight draw, you have too many ways to lose. Your opponent might not even get the flush or straight but make a pair of l0s or kings to beat you

games theory cannot replace sound judgment. It should only be used when you think your opponent's judgment is as good as or better than yours or when you simply don't know your opponent. Furthermore, games theory can be used accurately to bluff or call a possible bluff only in a situation where the bettor obviously either has the best hand or is bluffing - for example, a player in seven-card stud betting into your pair of aces with an obvious flush draw. However, if the bettor may be betting a legitimate hand that is not the best hand, then normal Heads-Up-play would apply.

When using games theory to decide whether to bluff, you must determine the pot odds your opponent is getting if you bet and then randomly bluff in such a way that the odds against your bluffing are identical to or almost identical to your opponent's pot odds. If your opponent is getting 5-to-l, the odds against your bluffing should be 5-to-1. By playing this way, you give your opponent no correct decision. He does just as well - or badly - in the long run by calling or folding.

When using games theory to decide whether to call a possible bluff - assuming your hand can beat only a bluff and assuming your judgment doesn't give you a hint-you must determine the odds your opponent is getting on a bluff. Make the ratio of your calls to your folds the same as those odds. If your opponent is getting 4-to-1 odds on a bluff, you must call randomly four out of five times to make that bluffing unprofitable.

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