all the cards are out, you obviously can no longer
semi-bluff. You have either made your hand or you
haven't. So all bluffs on the end are pure bluffs.
They are bets or raises that you do not expect to
win if you are called.
When you are sitting there knowing you have the worst
hand, knowing you cannot win by checking, knowing
you cannot win by calling your opponent's bet, the
only question is whether or not to try to bluff. You
should not if you think the chances your opponent
will call are too great in relation to the pot odds
you are getting. You should if you think your opponent
will fold often enough for a bluff to show a profit.
If there is $100 in the pot, you should make a $20
bluff if you think your opponent will fold more than
once in six times. If there is $60 in the pot, you
must assume your opponent will fold more than once
in four times before you try to bluff. If there is
$140 in the pot, your opponent needs to fold more
than once in eight times. But, of course, the larger
the pot, the better pot odds your opponent is getting
to call your bet and the more likely it is he will
call with any kind of a fair hand.
Accurate assessment of your chances of pulling off
a bluff comes, like so many advanced online poker
games plays, only with experience. You must first
be able to read hands. You are obviously not going
to bluff out an opponent with a lock or any sort of
big hand. In general, the weaker you think your opponent's
hand is, the higher the chances your bluff will succeed.
Second, you must be able to read opponents. It's generally
easier to bluff out a timid opponent than a loose
opponent, and it's generally easier to bluff out a
tough opponent than a weak one who looks for any reason
to call, including the possibility that you might
be bluffing. In essence, you must consider your specific
opponent in each situation before deciding whether
to try a bluff. Even the way in which play developed
in previous hands can have a bearing on whether a
bluff is now right or not.
keep records, right? You log your sessions in and
out, note how much you won or lost, and at what limit
you played and for how long. As I've said before,
individual outcomes don't matter. So you lost during
this last session, or even the last five sessions
in a row. Doesn't matter. All that matters is going
home and recording that information faithfully and
honestly, and then analyzing the information to see
what you can glean. Are you playing so many hours
that you become fatigued? Are you playing beyond your
bankroll? Or could it be that you're playing so small
that you can't take the game seriously? Should you
even be playing hold'em in the first place (your seven-card
stud results having been consistently superior)? Whether
you can extract meaningful information from your records
or not, you will prosper from the effort you make
at extraction. You can't avoid it. Keeping and analyzing
your records leads you naturally to a deeper, more
articulate appraisal of your performance over time.
Highly effective players know the difference between
review and regret. Regret is the useless ruing of
adverse outcomes. If only I'd hit my flush on the
river, I'd have raked a monster pot and quit winners
for the day! Review is the thoughtful inspection of
past play in search of alternate strategies and lessons
to be learned. I three-bet pre flop with pocket jacks,
and that put me in an exposed position on the flop.
Perhaps I should have flat-called there, for deception
if my hand looked good and for an easier escape if
I had to bail.