Representing a Bluff


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Extracting Value in Poker“Okay, now pay up Dean. I don’t know why you would call that much with bottom pair anyhow!”

All of us were laughing at him. Dean had made a big mistake, he called $300 in a $200 pot with just a pocket pair of twos on the river. It looked obvious to everybody that I either had a strong hand or that I was bluffing. Dean decided my behavior was the latter.

“I thought you had crap! This must be the first hand that you have actually had something all night. Why else would you bet so much into a pot that big? I’d call you again if I had to go back.”

Dean was a stubborn boy. He always thought that he was right, and he usually was. He’s a good player, but the one thing he can’t do very well is represent a bluff.

Normally when players are talking about playing deceptively, they are talking about making some type of a bluff. This is what most of us have learned over the course of our poker education. However, you must learn that the key element to bluffing and that is representing a strong hand when you have a weak one.

The bluff usually works against weak players, but when you are playing against smart players who can pick out bluffs and call your hands to a tee, you need another plan.

Representing a bluff is just the opposite of bluffing. Rather than betting to make your opponent fold their hand when you have a weak one, you want to bet so your opponent thinks that you are bluffing, and therefore calls you. I’ve found the best way to do this is to make a strong bet, usually more than 2/3 of the pot, when a card that doesn’t appear to help anybody comes.

If a 2 or 3 pops up on the river and it doesn’t appear to help anybody, but you have 22 or 33 in your hand, and there is a little bit of action, it would be wise to make a large bet in order to make it appear as if you are just trying to pick up the pot. Your bet will seem ridiculously large and impulsive and any player with a medium pair or top pair, small kicker will consider calling because they “just know” that you are bluffing.

You can set this play up by being very aggressive and placing many well-time bluffs. Your opponents will grow wary and start thinking that you are picking up too many pots and getting greedy. Set this up in their minds and you are ready to make a large bet and get a caller or two. It’s a great way to double up.

If you ever get called down and they see your hand, keep up your aggressive play and add a few more hands to your arsenal. Start bluffing a little bit more if you have the respect of the table. Make sure to mix your game up as usual and nobody will ever catch on.

So don’t make a small bet and try to get them to call you, make it look like you are bluffing by making a larger bet. The good players will call you and the weak-tight players will fold. It’s a good way to get respect at the table.


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