Picking off desperation bluffs (By Betfairpoker.com)

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Picking off desperation bluffs


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Betfairpoker.com

One of the key leaks in weak players games is that they bluff for very obvious reasons.

The most obvious of these is desperation, usually in situations where their hand has missed and the only real option that they have to win the hand is to bluff - regardless of what signals of strength have been given off by their opponents.


This kind bluff nearly always occurs on the river, when they have missed their hand, and are basically thinking along the lines of 'Well I'm at the river, my hand can't win at showdown, I was hoping to hit my gutshot/flushdraw/straightdraw/over cards/whatever, and now my only option left is to bluff'. This is not their only option of course, as they could fold or check fold, saving themselves a great deal of money over the long run.

The main reason for these situations occurring with bad players is they usually have not planned the hand in advance. They have fired on flop and turn, built a large pot out of position, and are now left in a horrible spot on the river. If you can plan your actions for multiple streets you can avoid ever getting in these situations.
Once you have taken these sorts of plays out of yoru game, you can start taking advantage of other players making them. These bluffs are nearly always the same, in that the line taken by the player makes no sense considering their normal style of play. Much of this is up to the read on the player, but typically they happen on boards that just don't fit the story that you are being told.

A typical example of this is when an opponent raises pre flop, you defend on the button with a suited connector, flop middle pair and call a flop bet. Both players check a low turn, and then the pre flop raiser fires out a big bet on another low river. This nearly always indicates a desperate attempt to win with their two high cards (God forbid a bad player should ever lose a pot where they started with ace king), as they would have usually bet the turn with any hand that was made.

Bad players actually bluff a great deal, they just tend to do it out of frustration and desperation more than for reasons to do with a certain player or a certain board. Always remember that bluffs have to form a coherent story that you are telling about your hand, and vice versa, and if you ever see that story start to breakdown, it is probably worth your while making a few thin calls.

Related Readings
Bluffing - How to pull the trigger - Marcus Bateman
Beating weak poker games - Marcus Bateman
Bluffing in PLO - Marcus Bateman


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