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Game Theory as a Tool for Bluffing
When using game theory to decide whether to bluff, you must first determine your chances of making your hand. You must then determine the odds your opponent is getting on that bet. Then you must randomly bluff in such a way that the odds against your bluffing are identical to your opponent's pot odds.

Here's one more example. Suppose you have a 20 percent chance of making your hand, there's $100 in the pot, and the bet is $25. Your opponent is then getting $125-to-$25 or 5-to-1 odds if you bet. The ratio of your good hands to your bluffs should, therefore, be 5-to-1. Since you have a 20 percent chance of making your hand, you should randomly bluff 4 percent of the time. (20 percent-to-4 percent equals 5-to-1.) When you bluff in this fashion, you take optimum advantage of the situation.

A good, convenient way to randomize your bluffs, as we have seen, is to pick cards from among those you haven't seen. If, for example, ten cards make your hand and you need a 5-to-1 bluffing ratio, then you should pick two additional cards to bluff with.

Here is another example. You draw one card to a spade flush in draw poker, and your opponent draws three cards. Therefore, the chances are enormous that your opponent will not be able to beat a flush, only a bluff. The pot contains $20. The bet is $10. If you bet, your opponent is getting $30-to-$10 or 9-to-3 odds from the pot. Since nine unseen spades make your flush, you should pick three additional cards to bluff with, such as the two red 4s and the 4 of clubs. You now bet with twelve cards creating a 9-to-3 ratio between your good hands and your bluffs.

It is not always possible to use cards to arrive at exactly the ratio you need to bluff optimally. However, as long as you are close, you can still expect to gain. You recall that choosing six cards to bluff with in the draw lowball example created exactly the right proportion vis-à-vis the pot odds my opponent was getting; nevertheless, I still ended up with a profit when I bluffed with five or with seven cards whether my opponent called or folded. Of course, the closer you are to the exact ratio, the better, in terms of game theory.
Multiway Hands on the Flop
But most of the time you won't be heads up. You need to make a judgment about your hand and how it stacks up to all the other hands that are still active. When this involves four, five, or six players, this judgment can be problematic.

If there are three or four (or more) active hands seeing the flop, it's important to bet your good hands like top pair with a good kicker. Try to drop as many players as you can. In accomplishing this, your position relative to the button isn't as important as your position relative to a likely bettor or raiser. For example, if you are in early position in a raised pot and a very aggressive player is on the button, then it might be a good idea to check your strong hands, expecting him to bet so that you can raise, facing those players after you with two bets cold, and putting pressure on them to fold. The more active hands there are on the flop, the more important this is. With few opponents, it's often right to slowplay on the flop, waiting until the turn when the bet size doubles before you raise. Waiting is seldom a good idea against a large field. There's just too many bad things that can happen on later streets if you let a lot of opponents in cheaply on the flop.
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