Tips Wanted For Improving Bluffing Game

CheezeWiz

CheezeWiz

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bluffing is not something that comes natural to me, so it is always something that I have to consciously remind myself to watch for and attempt to take advantage of when the opportunity presents itself (ie - do not just look at your hole cards and board, if applicable, and look for the fold button), wait and see how action plays out.

Conceptually, I feel like adding chips to your stack via bluffing is often necessary to keep you in the game until the better hands come along. Picking-up a pot here and there can help you maintain a chip stack while you wait.

Having said the above, I feel like this is an area of game that has a lot of room for improvement!

I would appreciate hearing from others regarding how they decide when to bluff and how much, either as a % of the pot, or your own chip stack.

Best of Luck at The Tables All,

CheezeWiz
 
ChickenArise

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This is an advanced topic which you really dont have much business focusing on until you establish a solid core foundation. There are no 'tips' only textures and setups. Knowing when to fire the third barrel and when to put the breaks on. You need to study range advantage and studying blockers, and GTO would help.

I am coaching my son for 2 years now and we are just now going to begin studying this aspect of the game. He has a solid foundation. You will destroy your game beyond repair if you start with bluffing.

Once you have a solid foundation getting a coach for this aspect of the game is money well spent.
 
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fundiver199

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Here are some points to begin with:

1) Am I purely bluffing or do I have some sort of equity (semi-bluff)?

C-betting the flop is rarely a pure bluff. If you have AQ on T42, there is a good chance, you still have the best hand, and even when you are behind, you usually have decent equity with two overcards and a backdoor straightdraw.

2) Does my story make sense?

Always ask yourself, which strong hands you would have played the same way? If the answer is none, its typically best to just give up, especially against players, who are good enough to think about, what you are representing (level 2 thinkers or higher).

3) Have my opponent shown interest in the hand?

If your opponent has called you preflop, called you on the flop, called you on the turn, and the river changed nothing, chances are, he is probably willing to call you yet again, unless he has a busted draw.

4) Do I have showdown value?

Even though you have missed, you might actually still have some showdown value. A hand like AQ beat most busted draws, so maybe you dont need to turn it into a big river bluff.

5) Do I have relevant blockers?

This is an advanced point, which has gotten a lot of attention a recent years and sometimes perhaps even to much. But against good players it is important to mostly bluff with hands, that block some of their continuence range.

6) Is the opponent willing to fold?

This is maybe the most important of all, and where a lot of people go wrong in the micros. There is no point in trying to bluff someone, who will make a huge hero call on the river with bottom pair, because he is the table sheriff, and nobody is going to bluff him.
 
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619Leafs

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The key to bluffing is the hand ranges your opponent could be holding.

1. Starting with position and how aggressive or loose your opponent is. If you see them they calling street after street its not going work. Your going lose chips on an empty bluff that don't work.

2. Flop texture. If you see face cards on the flop assuming you have low cards. Can you bluff your opponent off? That depends on if your opponent range is tight, loose or in the middle. If your opponent constantly calls you can't bluff that player. If your opponent is more tight and cautious you can try to c-bet air with your preflop raise to try and steal it. If that player calls. Don't bluff anymore.

Essentially try to set up small bluff rather than trying to make a big tv bluff.
 
CheezeWiz

CheezeWiz

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Thank You for the Response

This is an advanced topic which you really dont have much business focusing on until you establish a solid core foundation. There are no 'tips' only textures and setups. Knowing when to fire the third barrel and when to put the breaks on. You need to study range advantage and studying blockers, and GTO would help.

I am coaching my son for 2 years now and we are just now going to begin studying this aspect of the game. He has a solid foundation. You will destroy your game beyond repair if you start with bluffing.

Once you have a solid foundation getting a coach for this aspect of the game is money well spent.

Ok, I at least feel a little bit better by you mentioning that it is an advanced topic.:) I feel like I do have a decent core foundation, as I have been playing recreationally for approximately 15 years, and somewhat successfully. I do sense though, that this is a very underdeveloped part of my game. You are correct, I should do more studying on this topic and thank you for your specific suggestions.

As for paying for coaching, as a recreational player, I am more inclined to go the studying approach, but I never say never.

Best of Luck at The Tables All,

CheezeWiz
 
CheezeWiz

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What A Great Response!

Here are some points to begin with:

1) Am I purely bluffing or do I have some sort of equity (semi-bluff)?

C-betting the flop is rarely a pure bluff. If you have AQ on T42, there is a good chance, you still have the best hand, and even when you are behind, you usually have decent equity with two overcards and a backdoor straightdraw.

2) Does my story make sense?

Always ask yourself, which strong hands you would have played the same way? If the answer is none, its typically best to just give up, especially against players, who are good enough to think about, what you are representing (level 2 thinkers or higher).

3) Have my opponent shown interest in the hand?

If your opponent has called you preflop, called you on the flop, called you on the turn, and the river changed nothing, chances are, he is probably willing to call you yet again, unless he has a busted draw.

4) Do I have showdown value?

Even though you have missed, you might actually still have some showdown value. A hand like AQ beat most busted draws, so maybe you dont need to turn it into a big river bluff.

5) Do I have relevant blockers?

This is an advanced point, which has gotten a lot of attention a recent years and sometimes perhaps even to much. But against good players it is important to mostly bluff with hands, that block some of their continuence range.

6) Is the opponent willing to fold?

This is maybe the most important of all, and where a lot of people go wrong in the micros. There is no point in trying to bluff someone, who will make a huge hero call on the river with bottom pair, because he is the table sheriff, and nobody is going to bluff him.

Again, thank you very much for that EXCELLENT and well laid out response! I think each one of your six points could be a discussion topic of its own!

All six of these points resonate with me, and they are things I try to think about during the hand. I am starting to think that I have a problem with pulling the trigger (especially in early stages of a game when I have ok but not great chip stack)! I will say that my natural playing style is a bit too much on the tight side, which contributes to this challenge for me. And with that, my standard approach is to survive and then make a move when on life-support or later in tournaments, when playing more aggressive seems to come more natural to me.

I will say, I do take great satisfaction in taking down a pot with a smallish bluff bet when others do not seem interested. :p However, to your Point #6, I often kick myself when I make a smallish bluff bet on the river to the "table sheriff" and then say to myself "What the hell did I expect that to accomplish!" No chance he was not going to call that! Sigh!

Best of Luck at The Tables fundiver199 And All,

CheezeWiz
 
CheezeWiz

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This is Where My Mind Always Gets Scrambled...

The key to bluffing is the hand ranges your opponent could be holding.

1. Starting with position and how aggressive or loose your opponent is. If you see them they calling street after street its not going work. Your going lose chips on an empty bluff that don't work.

2. Flop texture. If you see face cards on the flop assuming you have low cards. Can you bluff your opponent off? That depends on if your opponent range is tight, loose or in the middle. If your opponent constantly calls you can't bluff that player. If your opponent is more tight and cautious you can try to c-bet air with your preflop raise to try and steal it. If that player calls. Don't bluff anymore.

Essentially try to set up small bluff rather than trying to make a big tv bluff.

Thank you, 619leafs for taking the time to respond. I agree totally with your 2 points, I think I just need to get better at implementing them. I also feel like I am too often the tighter player who gets raised off an "ok" hand by a pot-size raise by a bigger stack. This gets annoying folding to heister, but my hope is that I can get those chips back later in the game with a better hand.

I especially like your closing comment regarding the small bluff vs tv bluff! :D That is my favorite and brings me the most satisfaction. I try to save the TV bluffs for the Final Table!

But, back to the Title of my response, understanding "the hand ranges my opponent could be holding". Blows my mind how many times I watch someone play every hand and raise people out of pots.. and I finally catch something decent.. and they reveal AA, KK, straight or flush.. whatever they need to beat me... lol!

Best of Luck at the Tables All,

CheezeWiz
 
Last edited:
Collin Moshman

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Some great answers ITT, definitely read FunDiver's and other's replies a few times :)

If you're ever not sure, just ask yourself one question:

"Would I play a lot of strong hands the same way?"

If so, then so long as your opponent folds occasionally, it's reasonable to bluff sometimes!
 
CheezeWiz

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Thank You, Collin!

Some great answers ITT, definitely read FunDiver's and other's replies a few times :)

If you're ever not sure, just ask yourself one question:

"Would I play a lot of strong hands the same way?"

If so, then so long as your opponent folds occasionally, it's reasonable to bluff sometimes!

That is a very good perspective to have in mind when contemplating a bluff.

Best of Luck At the Tables All,

CheezeWiz
 
KozakAlex

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Bluffing is not something that comes natural to me, so it is always something that I have to consciously remind myself to watch for and attempt to take advantage of when the opportunity presents itself (ie - do not just look at your hole cards and board, if applicable, and look for the fold button), wait and see how action plays out.

Conceptually, I feel like adding chips to your stack via bluffing is often necessary to keep you in the game until the better hands come along. Picking-up a pot here and there can help you maintain a chip stack while you wait.

Having said the above, I feel like this is an area of game that has a lot of room for improvement!

I would appreciate hearing from others regarding how they decide when to bluff and how much, either as a % of the pot, or your own chip stack.

Best of Luck at The Tables All,

CheezeWiz



When I see my opponents playing poorly, I always bluff them. In most cases, this helps to collect a good number of chips to stay in the tournament.
 
Evan Jarvis

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Bluffing is not something that comes natural to me, so it is always something that I have to consciously remind myself to watch for and attempt to take advantage of when the opportunity presents itself (ie - do not just look at your hole cards and board, if applicable, and look for the fold button), wait and see how action plays out.

Conceptually, I feel like adding chips to your stack via bluffing is often necessary to keep you in the game until the better hands come along. Picking-up a pot here and there can help you maintain a chip stack while you wait.

Having said the above, I feel like this is an area of game that has a lot of room for improvement!

I would appreciate hearing from others regarding how they decide when to bluff and how much, either as a % of the pot, or your own chip stack.

Best of Luck at The Tables All,

CheezeWiz

Hey CheezeWiz, this is a great question.

The main thing with bluffing is to understand that you are always betting with a mix of hands: Strong hands (for value), Strong draws (for equity), Weak draws/air (for your pure bluffs).

There will be very few situations where you will only be betting bluffs and this is where having an understanding of the big picture helps a lot.

Knowing your opponent will help you decide when you want to focus on having more bluffs, more strong hands, or a balance in your betting range.

This video should help you with it (and understand that bluffing is just one component of the complete strategy)


Good luck and Happy stackin on the tables my friend!
 
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zerosalex

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Tip #1 don't bluff. Tip #2 if you bluff make it reasonable, don't bluff when you are one of the first to act, bluff only when a player/s has checked 2 times in a row you have better chances of them folding. Tip#3 don't bluff if you don't have to. Some times you have to bluff, like if you have 2,3 and play the board or have 3 high card. and player check check check to you, you can bluff and pretend you have something on the board and they will probably fold. if you check your low high card wont do much meaning take a stab at winning the pot instead of showdown and losing it.
 
CheezeWiz

CheezeWiz

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I like the Big Picture Concept...

Hey CheezeWiz, this is a great question.

The main thing with bluffing is to understand that you are always betting with a mix of hands: Strong hands (for value), Strong draws (for equity), Weak draws/air (for your pure bluffs).

There will be very few situations where you will only be betting bluffs and this is where having an understanding of the big picture helps a lot.

Knowing your opponent will help you decide when you want to focus on having more bluffs, more strong hands, or a balance in your betting range.

This video should help you with it (and understand that bluffing is just one component of the complete strategy)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IrBxYW66cYs

Good luck and Happy stackin on the tables my friend!

Thank you for the response and the link to the video, Evan Jarvis.

First of all, I would like to say that I have no intention of making bluffing the cornerstone of my game. I totally understand that it is just one piece of developing a complete game. Being a numbers/odds kind a guy, it is just a part of the game that does not come naturally to me and I have recognized that I have be more conscious of this and work to improve on it.

I have watched the video a few times now and I like it a lot. It is thought provoking and helpful. I got hung-up early on the heavy emphasis of the player classification aspect of it, but after watching it a few times, I get the concept. Even though I may not have every player pegged into a specific category, the general thought process seems sound and useful.

Best of Luck at The Tables All, and Happy stackin to you as well, Evan!

CheezeWiz
 
CheezeWiz

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Looking For a Bit More Elaboration on Pt#5

Here are some points to begin with:

1) Am I purely bluffing or do I have some sort of equity (semi-bluff)?

C-betting the flop is rarely a pure bluff. If you have AQ on T42, there is a good chance, you still have the best hand, and even when you are behind, you usually have decent equity with two overcards and a backdoor straightdraw.

2) Does my story make sense?

Always ask yourself, which strong hands you would have played the same way? If the answer is none, its typically best to just give up, especially against players, who are good enough to think about, what you are representing (level 2 thinkers or higher).

3) Have my opponent shown interest in the hand?

If your opponent has called you preflop, called you on the flop, called you on the turn, and the river changed nothing, chances are, he is probably willing to call you yet again, unless he has a busted draw.

4) Do I have showdown value?

Even though you have missed, you might actually still have some showdown value. A hand like AQ beat most busted draws, so maybe you dont need to turn it into a big river bluff.

5) Do I have relevant blockers?

This is an advanced point, which has gotten a lot of attention a recent years and sometimes perhaps even to much. But against good players it is important to mostly bluff with hands, that block some of their continuence range.

6) Is the opponent willing to fold?

This is maybe the most important of all, and where a lot of people go wrong in the micros. There is no point in trying to bluff someone, who will make a huge hero call on the river with bottom pair, because he is the table sheriff, and nobody is going to bluff him.

Hey Fundiver,

Thanks again for the very helpful post. I am continuing to work on this and wanted to go back and take a look at a recent game or two of mine and kind of "Grade Myself" based on the points in your post. I realize this will be a small sample size, but it will give me a starting point for evaluation.


RE: Point #5, if you could provide a little bit of elaboration on "blocking their continuance range" I would appreciate it. I am guessing it relates to possible straights / flushes / maybe pair the board fullhouse possibilities, A high, etc (but I could be offbase, here). If I am correct in that interpretation, then any input on bluffsizing would also be appreciated.

Sheepishly, I will also say, since you mentioned that this has got a lot of attention in recent years (no doubt I was doing something more important:confused:), or maybe it is because I am new in the last monthish to the forum. If others would like to provide me with some guidance, I would welcome that, as well.


Best of Luck at The Tables FunDiver and All,


CheezeWiz
 
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