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扑克 Bluffing in poker(在扑克中诈骗)

You’re bluffing!





You’re a tricky one. Taking a pot that’s not rightfully yours! The nerve of it.



Bluffing in poker is nervy, but it takes more than just guts to steal a pot. Successful bluffs are the result of observation, timing and ruthless psychological calculation. They can be pretty exciting too.



The more you play, the more you’ll see bets that look like bluffs – especially in no-limit hold ’em. That doesn’t mean that limit hold ’em games don’t see their share of dodgy action, but limited raises tend to tie one arm behind the bluffers’ backs by reducing the amounts they can bet.





Why bluff?





Aw shucks, isn’t it enough just to play well, wait for good hands and capitalize when you’re pretty sure you’re winning? Well, for some people it is. They’re quite happy to treat poker like a math problem and grind their way to mediocrity. Good players recognize these human calculators and consistently take their money away with pressurizing bets.



Besides, when you think about it, if everyone just played their cards poker would be reduced to a mere game of chance. Poker isn’t a card game, it’s a people game. Learning to play people gives you the opportunity to win more often than the cards would otherwise allow.



That’s not to say a good grounding in the principles of poker isn’t fundamentally important – and you’ll want to come to terms with those before you start trying to get cute. But the more you play, the more you’ll recognize good bluffing opportunities (and situations where someone else is trying to bluff you). Getting to grips with bluffing will not only give you opportunities to steal but also help you recognize when a thief is among you.



  

Observation — knowing your enemy





We covered player types in Style notes – if terms like ‘loose-passive’ or ‘tight-aggressive’ mean nothing to you, then you might want to check it out for reference.



Identifying good bluffing targets (and potential bluffers) means paying attention to the competition. That’s why it’s a good idea to keep a good eye on the action even when you’re not involved in a hand and take note when you see something revealing.



Too-tight is the best target for a bluff for obvious reasons – the same reasons that should make you doubt they’re bluffing when they send big bets your way. These types generally assume the worst and are happy to fold in the face of heavy betting, especially if there are lots of ‘scare cards’ on the board (premium cards, flush draws, and straight draws). Players that don’t get involved much and consistently fold in the face of pressuring bets are setting out their stall as too tight.



Tight-aggressive is less vulnerable to the bluff but can still be knocked off a hand. You’ll want to pay attention to the situation (see Timing below), place pressurizing bets (see Psychological calculation below) and be prepared to back off if they don’t look like cracking.



Loose-passive players are a total headache for the bluffer. Calling stations hate to put a hand down that has any chance of winning and bluffing at them just lowers your game to their level. Better to target this player with solid hands.



Loose- aggressive players are also best targeted with good hand selection rather than the bluff. Loose-aggressive will, as often as not, be more than happy to double back your bluff with one of their own and let the cards fall where they may. Loose aggressive is a good target, however, for the slow-play.



Super-aggressive (SAG). They say you should never bluff a bluffer. The disadvantage of trying to bluff a SAG is that they’re far more likely to recognize what your doing (after all, half the time they’re bluffing) and bust you cold. If you want to run something cute on a SAG the slow-play is going to be more successful than a classic bluff.



  

Timing





Timing is everything to an effective bluff. A well- timed bluff can be a powerful weapon in your arsenal – a poorly timed bluff, a damp squib that fizzles and dies.



Think position



As discussed in Betting, good table position can give you a lot of information about the relative strength and weakness around you. A bluff is always going to be strongest against someone who has to act before you because they have to tell you something about their hand before you act.



Think game stage



This applies particularly to tournaments – which tend to go through very distinct stages of tightening and loosening. For example, right before the bubble, players tend to get very tight in tourneys – after all, no one wants to go out right before the money. Players on medium chip stacks know that, as things stand, they’ll likely make the money, but getting involved in a hand could spell disaster – they’re far more likely to fold in the face of strength than they would be in other game stages.



Cash tables also go through fazes of tightening and loosening, though it’s harder to predict when that might happen. If you notice your table is going through a tight stage it might be time to loosen up and try to make a move, but if you’re on a loose aggressive table you best bet is to tighten up.



Think table image



Circumstances on a poker table can conspire to make you look like a very loose player, even if you’re not. If you’ve taken a lot of pots recently without showing your cards or have been forced to fold a lot in big pots you’ll look loose to the table. This is a bad time to bluff – regardless of the righteousness of your play up unt il then, other players are going to peg you as loose.



On the other hand, similar forces can also make you look very tight. Getting dealt a long string of garbage that you fold before the flop or having to fold all your good pockets after the flop because you just never hit can make you look like a rock. This is a strong position to bluff from because your opponents may have observed your play and assume that you must have monsters when you finally do show strength.





The psychology of bluffing





Poker is a high- pressure game – whether you’re playing for $5 or $5 million. Using that pressure to your advantage is the essence of any good bet, and that includes a bluff.



Target the weak



This may sound ruthless (and it is) but good aggressive play – and bluffing is always aggressive – means thinking of yourself as the lioness and the rest of the table as a herd of big, tasty gazelle. You’re constantly scanning the field for struggling, sick and confused prey that you want to separate from the pack and devour.



Tight-aggressive players who’ve just taken a tough beat can be good pickings, they’re unlikely to get into another dust-up so soon after taking a beating. In tournaments, short stacks are good bluff targets too because of the relative amounts they’re being forced to bet – it’s a lot easier to part with 300 chips when you’ve got 5,000 than it is if you’ve only got 900. Small stacks have the added bonus of a stop-loss. T hey can only take you for the amount of chips they’re holding.



Bet smart



A good bet is a pressurizing bet. Too many beginners make the mistake of assuming the bigger the bet, the stronger the bluff. Over-betting is a sign of weakness and often tips an opponent off that you’re bluffing. After all, if your hand is so strong why wouldn’t you want a caller? Over-bets on bluffs also make you look really dumb if you get busted.



Under-betting when you’re bluffing is another mistake. The thought process is sound enough – “ Oh, if I can just nab this pot for a small risk wouldn’t that be nice?”. Hey, if you’re averse to risk you shouldn’t be bluffing in the first place. The idea is to knock your opponent off a hand – if he’s got one he’ll welcome your small bets to build the pot.



Your bluff needs to convey the exact opposite of your actual situation, it needs to tell the world, ‘”I’m strong, I’m confident and I’d like nothing better than for you to call me in this situation” . The best bluffs leave your opponent feeling smug about having the discipline to fold his (winning) hand in the face of such strength. So imagine you’ve got a very strong hand – what would you normally bet? In a cash game probably between half the size of the pot and the size of the pot – though you’ll find yourself fine-tuning these numbers as your play improves.



Betting smart also gives you an out if you get called. If you’ve still got bullets in your gun after the first bet you may want to ‘fire twice’ and make a second bluff or bow out gracefully and preserve some dignity without getting trapped by over-committing.





The dictionary of deception



The semi-bluff



This is a bluff with outs. The goal with the semi- bluff is to take the pot there and then – but with some backup so that you’ve still got a legitimate shot at the pot if you get a caller (and a nicely built up pot in the bargain).



Most semi-bluffs involve betting or re-raising with an unmade flush or straight draw. Though a big bet with small or middle pair also has chances to improve or take the pot with a second bet after the flop … provided your opponent hasn’t hit their cards.



The out-and-out bluff



Also called a naked bluff (you animal!). Yours is a naked bluff if you’ve got no hand and no reasonable hope of one developing – the only way to win is for your opponent to fold. The naked bluff takes more guts than brains … and it’s oh-so-embarrassing if it gets called.



The delayed bluff or set-up



The delayed bluff is sneaky, which is why we like it so much. It takes foresight and planning and is designed to allow the bluffer to steal the pot as the board develops. It often starts with the bluffer calling a weak hand on a dangerous looking board. Let’s say the board has come all hearts, you’re in late position and everyone else has folded to a small bet that matches the big blind. The bluffer doesn’t try to take the hand there and then, he just calls.



If the opponent checks or comes back with another small bet after the turn the bluffer then strikes with a much bigger bet, say triple the original. Making it look like he’s either slow-playing or (in other circumstances) that the turn card has just made his hand.



The delayed bluff can also be worked on a raggy flop with similar weak betting, especially if the turn reveals a premium card, say an ace. Of course if the person you’re bluffing has the ace, or is slow-playing, this style of bluff can quickly turn sour.



The positional bluff



A positional bluff involves using your position to your advantage, despite having a weak hand. A classic is when you’re on the button and everyone’s folded to you – a strong raise with any two cards is sometimes enough at this point to steal the blinds.



Another positional bluff involves the same play but after the flop, with a strong bet on the button if everyone’s checked round.



Don’t make the mistake of going to the well too often with either of these – good players are quick to spot a pattern and you’ll soon be caught out.



Slow-playing



You could think of slow-playing a hand as ‘anti-betting’. It’s purpose is to trick opponents into thinking you’re weak by either checking or under-betting a strong hand. The aim is to induce action – preferably a bluff, but also bets from weaker hands – then pounce with a large bet of your own. The danger with slow- play is that, by giving your opponent free cards, you’re giving them a chance to develop a hand that can beat you. See Betting for a more detailed run down of the slow-play.

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