two preceding pages demonstrated how, with sound judgment
or poker game theory, a poker player who bluffs correctly
gains a tremendous edge over his opponents. In fact,
given two games - one with otherwise poor poker players
who bluff approximately correctly and another with
solid poker players who do not bluff - you do better
to play in the solid poker game. When I started playing
draw poker for a living in Gardena, California, I
intuitively suspected I was better off playing in
games with the typically tight Gardena players than
in the looser poker games with poker players who played
too many hands. I realize now what the difference
was. The tight poker players never bluffed, which
was profitable for me, whereas in the looser poker
games players were bluffing more or less correctly
- and that hurt me.
Good bluffing strategy is such a powerful weapon that
it is important to develop tactics to keep your opponents
from bluffing correctly. Naturally you are not concerned
about changing the habits of opponents who almost
never bluff or bluff far too much. But when you find
yourself up against a player whose occasional bluffing
keeps you on the defensive, you want to try to lead
that opponent away from correct bluffing strategy.
You want to induce him to bluff more than he should
or stop him from bluffing as often as he should.
Whether you try to induce a bluff or to stop a bluff
depends upon your opponent. If you are playing against
a relatively tight player who nevertheless seems to
be winning too many hands without getting called,
suggesting he may be stealing some pots, you want
to stop him from bluffing. That is, you want to push
him away from optimum bluffing strategy to the point
where he is afraid to bluff you at all. On the other
hand, you want to push an aggressive player who may
be bluffing slightly more than optimally into bluffing
even more. In other words, against an opponent who
seems to bluff a little more than is correct, induce
a bluff and make that player bluff more. Against an
opponent who tends to bluff less than is correct,
stop him and make him bluff even less. In either case,
you are stopping bluffs or inducing bluffs to make
your opponents bluff incorrectly.
stud is a game of live cards. You have to be alert
to other players' upcards, not just how it might effect
their hand, but also how it effects your hand.
Every betting round brings a new set of upcards and
a new situation.
Use the upcards and your opponents' actions to put
them on a hand. Does he have a straight draw? A flush
Many players will bet automatically if they have three
cards to a flush showing, trying to represent a hand
they don't have. A corollary to this Is that a player
who is aggressive with a completely uncoordinated
board and has no possible straight or flush is probably
not bluffing. He isn't representing anything, so he
probably has a hand.