Bluffs and Believability

zachvac

zachvac

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So you hear it all the time, bluffs have to be believable.

Now if this is true, it implies that if your bluff is not believable that you will be called down with a decent but not great hand.

How about an example. I'm playing this kid live heads-up, I have something like J7 (all these cards are pretty much made-up, I remember what happened just not the exact cards). I'm on the button, I call, he raises 3x (we're playing 25c/50c so he raises to $1.50), I call. Flop comes something like K53. He checks, I check behind. Turn is a 6. He bets $2, I come over the top to $6, and he flat calls (pot size is now $15). River brings another K. He checks, I bet $13. He thinks for a long time, says something like "well there's no way that K helped you, and if you hit the 6 you wouldn't have raised then bet that strong after the call. I call, I've got A high". He made a really good call on a not so well-executed bluff, and I imagine some people here would have made that call too.

Now what if I had something like 33 or 55 for a set and a rivered full house? Most of the time betting strong is a mistake as it mostly folds out the worse hands, but when you have a thinking opponent, betting really strong with a strong hand will make your opponent put you on a bluff and maybe make a call.

Well that's basically what happened. Same HU session and I flopped a set. I tried to play it exactly the same way. This time I check-called the flop, bet the turn hard, and bet over pot on the river. Now he may have called me anyway, as he had top pair that hand, but he called and I made up for my failed bluff.

Now I know people have thought that before, but let's take it one step further. If you're playing a thinking opponent, who may make a move like that, raising hard with a hand trying to make it look like a not very good bluff, than calling down a bet that looks like a bluff may not be a very good play because you know your opponent will represent a bluff to you with a monster hand. So of course against most online players or any players that we'd play against in home games and casinos and such bluffs must be believable, but when you are playing very good players, who may take that one step further and put you on perhaps a good hand trying to represent a bluff and get their big bet called, is it sometimes good to mix in a bluff that makes no sense?
 
c9h13no3

c9h13no3

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Sure, if you throw in some oddball bluffs, it may give you some more action when you make an oddball play with a made hand later. But it works the other way around as well. If you play your bluffs standard, you'll make more on your bluffs, but lose more when playing your made hands in a standard way.

And it all depends on your opponent knows. If he knows the standard line of play, but knows nothing about how you play, then use that to your advantage. Play standard when you want a standard result out of him. Play non-standard when you want a non-standard result (for example, him calling you down with A high when you're holding J7 would be a non-standard play IMO).
 
zachvac

zachvac

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Sure, if you throw in some oddball bluffs, it may give you some more action when you make an oddball play with a made hand later. But it works the other way around as well. If you play your bluffs standard, you'll make more on your bluffs, but lose more when playing your made hands in a standard way.

And it all depends on your opponent knows. If he knows the standard line of play, but knows nothing about how you play, then use that to your advantage. Play standard when you want a standard result out of him. Play non-standard when you want a non-standard result (for example, him calling you down with A high when you're holding J7 would be a non-standard play IMO).

You need to define the "standard" play. If you think it's pretty probable that your opponent has no pair and you have A high, wouldn't you make that call? He said his biggest worry was me having a low pair and me thinking it was a bluff yet still having him beat. I've made similar calls in the past, it's all about getting a read. And I emphasized before as well, this only works if both people know poker very well. It's just an example of multi-level thinking, and trying to go one step further than the opponent.
 
ChuckTs

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What you're talking about is in essence a balancing play, right?

ie usually you'd be making bluffs that fit a certain hand range and give your opponent a hard time calling since you'd play those hands you're representing in a very similar way. Now you throw in an odd bluff that makes no sense so that you can get paid off when you play your monster hands this way?

If so, there's really no need to get this in-depth with multilevel thinking and balancing plays probably until like 400nl or better - just ballparking here.

200nl and worse you should basically be sticking to playing standard abc poker, throwing in more positional bluffs as you get closer to 200nl where they're respected more often. Balancing really isn't all that important at micro/low limits.
 
zachvac

zachvac

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What you're talking about is in essence a balancing play, right?

ie usually you'd be making bluffs that fit a certain hand range and give your opponent a hard time calling since you'd play those hands you're representing in a very similar way. Now you throw in an odd bluff that makes no sense so that you can get paid off when you play your monster hands this way?

If so, there's really no need to get this in-depth with multilevel thinking and balancing plays probably until like 400nl or better - just ballparking here.

200nl and worse you should basically be sticking to playing standard abc poker, throwing in more positional bluffs as you get closer to 200nl where they're respected more often. Balancing really isn't all that important at micro/low limits.

Somewhat. I'm also saying make these plays just to get paid off sometimes. I did mention that this would only apply against good players, and it's probably useless at the limits most of us are at currently, but if you're playing someone who thinks and is able to read betting patterns very well, this may work. Although I am still able to profit from these games, the people I play with are very very good from what I've heard for 50nl players. The one kid I played that HU game with is on the sharkscope leaderboard for low limit HU average and total profit.

But for example say an example would be playing in a CC event.

But the other problem is that these chances only come about once in a while, and if you make a huge bet and get a fold when you could have gotten value out of it it'll seem like a very bonehead play. I mean I'm sure you've been in a hand where you'll think "I'm almost sure they're bluffing and that I probably have them beat, but I still can't call that big of a bet into this small of a pot, I fold". But if you know for a fact that your opponent is willing to trust their read so much that they'll call a river pot+ bet if they think you're bluffing, then I'd say make a pot+ bet as a value bet. And then you're right, the result is that in the future you can get away with a bluff against that opponent, because they're going to remember the play before.
 
jaketrevvor

jaketrevvor

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Hevad Khan is a great example of a player who makes non-standard crazyass plays but not always as bluffs; par example I've seen him multiple times overbet the pot on the river for value as it looks like a classic bluffwuff somewhat like what you were mentioning zach.

As far as really psychological bluffing goes, when you get two meant poker players in a room it's inevitable, especially in hu where it's so psychological.

See here

and here

^ although these two weren't as geniusy lol
 
zachvac

zachvac

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I've seen the first one, Phil Ivey is seriously amazing. He's also able to see when he's beat though. If I hadn't seen him lay down a decent hand to a better hand and bluff out a weak hand so much I'd almost say he's just lucky for example here that he didn't run into a jack, but Phil Ivey definitely knows what he's doing.
 
aliengenius

aliengenius

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Here is a good one-- commentator is dead on with "this bet looks like it doesn't want to get called". Later, Ivey made the same move with a bluff and got caught and Fitt commented something to the effect of "Guess I should have called in that earlier hand". As Chris Ferguson has pointed out, it's better to "mix up your play" by playing different hands the same, than by playing the same hand differently.
 
zachvac

zachvac

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Here is a good one-- commentator is dead on with "this bet looks like it doesn't want to get called". Later, Ivey made the same move with a bluff and got caught and Fitt commented something to the effect of "Guess I should have called in that earlier hand". As Chris Ferguson has pointed out, it's better to "mix up your play" by playing different hands the same, than by playing the same hand differently.

This actually makes a lot of sense, hadn't thought about this too much, good concept though. Of course I don't see how the announcers are going crazy about the 9 being the worst card in the deck for him, when unless Ivey has a PP it does absolutely nothing. Beforehand he's wondering "does Ivey have the King?". If he does have the King, he's still ahead. If he doesn't have it, he's still behind. I mean I guess a pocket pair is possible, they just make a huge deal about a full house. It's like the people who tell me about how they couldn't believe they lost with 2 pair, when there was one on the board. When the board's 2 pair, a full house isn't that amazing of a hand. Quads on the other hand...
 
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