If youre anything like me, bluffing is a big part of your game. 2 common problems people have in poker are A) bluffing too much, and B) not bluffing enough.

Its true, you may think its admirable to get through your poker career honest and clean without ever having to perfect your ability to “get away” with a few dishonest representations, but the honest truth here is that until you can master bluffing, your potential is finite. There is a line in the sand of poker, and I am afraid that those of us who neglect the art of bluffing, will forever be behind it.

The key is quality. Hear this? All things in life that I can think of, can be measured by quality vs quantity. In this case (like most cases) quality is superior. Bluff too much, and you become exposed. Debunked. Predictable. Avoid bluffing at all times and you become the very same. Youve all met the lady who never bluffs? You remember, horse shoe up her ass the whole time, every pot she entered, she won. Every time she bet, she was called, and had the best hand, even if the best hand required her to have 83. Well I assure you those games with her were luck, and if you followed her around and watched her play 10 more games you would witness her lose a whole bunch. And next time you play her you know that she doesnt bluff so you can always predict your odds accurately when facing her in a hand. And that makes her very beatable.

Whether you bluff too much, or dont bluff enough, its important to keep it in check, and be aware of where you sit in relations to your bluff attempts. Quality is key. So is timing. How many people are in the hand? Obviously it becomes more difficult to bluff 4 people than it is to bluff one or 2. Have you been caught bluffing yet? If youre one of those lizards that bluff every hand you play and show a crappy hand when everyone folds, chances are people are going to start calling your bets. If you get caught bluffing, probably wait a few minutes or win a couple of good hands before you attempt to pull off a slick bluff again. Then again, its some peoples strategy to get caught bluffing intentionally, including myself, so that it buys me a few heavy calls when I do have the bomb.

And second of all, you have to really know what a good bluff is. Its pretty evident that some people think they can bluff every hand and steal pots that arent bet into, each time its their turn. Some people think that they can go all in over and over on the flop or the turn and people will keep folding. Those really arent good bluffs, those are fate-tempters, and it’s those people who are feeding online poker with brand new money. They might get called and get lucky with j9off, but in the long run, that shit doesnt work, stupid.

A good bluff requires vigilance, and I speak at a table with about 2-4 people in the hand. You can pull off a bluff every 2 hands risking half your stack for the wee blinds, or you can pull off a nice bluff every 11 hands for a fat pot. I like to limp in from small blind or call a small raise before the flop with decent cards, and when the flop comes 427, ill wait about 6 seconds and bet about 1/2 or 3/4 the pot. Ya I might get reraised if someone has something, but usually the case is that their full of shit. And so ill get a caller and since i am first to act again, I bet bigger. Basically saying hey, I have one of these cards or an over pair, you really want to keep chasing your AToffsuit? I win a lot of hands this way.

Another good bluff is the suited flop. the flop comes 3 clubs. Somebody bets, you raise. Then they check next round, and you bet again. The river is not a club, and you can bet here too. Im sure this doesnt work at higher levels, but it works at the levels I play at, and the home games.  The odds of getting a 4th card of the same suit are pretty slim.  especially if you have one of those suits in your hand.   The number of people that invest lots of money hoping for that 4th suited card, is phenomenal.     Its my favorite thing in the world to flop a flush, and bet like….  twice the pot, and watch as 2 or 3 people call or even raise.  

Lets look at this visually.  There are thirteen cards per suit.  “Per suit,” lol.  I am in pursuit of one face-card per suit!   Nevermind..

Ok, there are 13 spades.  There are 3 on the flop, which leaves 10 left.  You have one, so theres 9 left.  52 cards in a deck.  52 cards – 9 spades = 43 cards left that you cant see.  your other card is not a spade so it can be discounted, so 42 cards have a possiblity of falling.   9 of them are spades. 

this represents spades :                    *********  

this represents all other cards :        *********************************

If you have the ace, and the bets are small and the pot odds are good, then yes, call!  but if I bet twice the pot and you have the ace or the king or even the queen, look at those asterisks and think about it again.  

And, lets look at the pot visually.

Here is the pot before the flop :  ******

Here is my bet after the flop :      ************

Making the pot :                              ******************

now it costs you :                           ************

to potentially win :                          ******************

Its costing you almost the entire price of the pot to win the pot, with odds so poorly against you as shown in my first asterisk drawing.  SURE it will happen once in a while, but can you afford once in a while?   Thats like trading 5 dollars worth of gasoline for a coupon worth 4 dollars in gas, that is only valid in a different city, every second Sunday! 

Im losing my patience writing cause Im taking some bad beats while I play and write. You should see this game. blinds are 50/100, and people are raising to 700 and getting 4 callers out of position. more-so than not. So far I have lost with QQ to A4off, and AKsuited to Q9suited. And I am crippled.

Its unreal, I raise 3xbb with AKsuited, the dealer calls, everyone else CALLS. the flop comes JTx, one spade.  Since everyone is ok with putting there chips in the middle, Im on a real aggressive swing with good hands.  They check I bet pretty big. everyone folds except the button. OK, I think, she has a Jack or a Ten. Gotta keep betting here just me and her, and hope for my card. The turn comes its a blank, I wait a while and bet very big as to be representing QQ or KK. She calls of course, so the jig is up.  I need a Q or an Ace to continue happily.  and the river comes its a king. Great. Couldnt have been an ace or queen! so I wait a few minutes I have top pair and now I am hoping she has jack or ten x, but there are other possibilities now. no way she chased a draw THAT far THAT expensive!  I already know I played this hand way too hard and I have a lot invested.  But simple awareness of that fact under-weighs my aggression in this situation, and I convince myself I have no choice but to bet again. 

So I bet about half the pot and she raises me all in. I know I am beat but I call because fuck you, thats why, she has Q9 like I said. Not the best lesson in bluffing!   Chased the open ender for half her stack early-mid tourney. Thats just a joke to me. Chasing half your stack is equivalent to betting half your stack one hand, and half your stack the next hand. if you lose, thats it, half your stack gone. chasing one of two cards. You cant overlook pot odds.  So many people do.  The call is right for her if I bet small enough to give her good pot odds, but I bet large and her pot odds were like 1.5:1, meaning it will cost her 10 apples to MAYBE win 15 apples.  but whatever, Im over it. Its just amazing to me that people take such risk with their money. I did too, I recognize that, with nothing but a draw.  But its always better to be the bettor 🙂 I just made that up.  Remember to quote me! 

They should invent a game played online where you deposit, and play against people rolling dice. They can go all in and if the dice is a one, they win, if its a 2,3,4,5, or 6, they lose. Because thats whats happening here with cards, people are folding appropriately for minutes and minutes, then they pick a hand to play and the slightest draw they call their whole stack off hoping to roll that “one”

Ive even upped my stakes like I said I would, and fuck man, the first few games were decent, I got first place once and second place once, but I just lost 2 in a row to noobs chasing shit right to the last card. like fuck off!

anyways, bluffing, LOL. I am so good at ranting I just get carried away..

I dont know, I was on to something when I started writing this yesterday, but today im not sure where to continue. My biggest point was bluffing too much. So many people do it, and really, you have to find opportunities for good bluffs. instead of 6 bluffs in 10 hands, try one good bluff in 8 hands.

Sometimes, you have to call the last bet too when you know your beat, just to save the image you are representing. Say you were on a semi-bluff betting into a Ks 9s Th flop. You had Q9 one spade. You bet, they call, the turn comes 7h. You bet again, they call. The river comes Adiamonds. You wait a bit and check. They bet small like 1/3 pot, or min bet even. If you make that call, people wont catch on to you that you bet so aggressively on draws. The guy will show his cards and you will get to muck yours, making it look like you had a hand the whole time, and got rivered or something. If you fold, people will think you bet like that on flush draws and straight draws, and theyll make sure you dont get away with that kind of stuff.  If you call for the purpose of mucking, it will buy you points because when you enter a hand, you HAVE a hand, and youll not be pushed off it, even after a river bet!  It makes people think twice.

Sometimes it takes a lot of sand to keep running with a bluff. You raise 57hearts on the button. Two callers. Flop comes 4Q8, one heart. You make a continuation bet here hoping for a 6 of course, or a low heart. The guy with the ace calls, the guy with the 8 calls. The turn is another Q. Do you bet? I do because in most cases the first call was a statement saying “I cant be pushed off hands this easy” and they stick around one more card hoping for an ace or whatever. A lot of people might check here allowing the guy with the 8 to think his hand is best, who will then likely bet and you are faced with the decision to call. Which, hoping for a 6 is usually a bad call. So you bet instead, bigger, and put the decision making on the other people. The ace guy folds, the guy with the 8 thinks for a while and calls. Now the river comes and its a 5. no flush, no straight. But you have a pair of fives.

You may check and so will the guy with the 8, allowing him to win, unless he thinks youve been chasing a draw the whole time and missed, and he may bet.  But from your initial bet you represented at least top pair. If you bet again here, high enough, they just might believe that you had the Q the whole time, and fold his 8. It takes courage. If i didnt hit that 5, I may not bet as often in that situation on the river, but since I hit it, I have another reason to bet. And by now I have lots of money invested in this pot. Its not the best idea to put so much money into a pot with 57hearts and bet it home with nothing, but if your on an aggressive run then this is a typical play. You make the big bet and say “how do you like your 8’s, Billy?” He folds and you take a huge pot.

Its important to get that first bit of information, like when he called the original bet, instead of raising. Yeah its possible he had a Q the whole time too, or something else like 66! But since you ballsed up and fired three times its that action that makes him think his hand is not the best here, and with no reraises and hesitations, its pretty likely he did not have the Q, or a higher pair. But of course there will be times when you run into a reraise here and hell have had Q8 the whole time 😛  Thats why I like to bet mid-low bets mostly, it saves me from losing 2 tonnes of chips when I am getting schooled, it entices people to reraise me big when I have a monster and they have no clue, it offers good pot odds to people who want to make bad decisions, and its a cheap way to “ask questions” and possibly take down the pot then and there with minimum risk.

But if the turn card was not a second Q, the hand would be a little different. If it was an ace or a king, I would not be so anxious to bet here, as its likely those cards would help someone. If it was a 2 or a 3, its pretty neutral, you may still get ace high callers and the guy with the 8 may still think he has the best hand. If it was a ten or a jack, its a good idea not to proceed any further as now there are bigger straights on board. and if it was a 7 8 or 9, same deal. You already suspected one player had an 8. And anyone can be hoping for those middle cards to complete a straight too!

Of course this is a fictional hand, and everything depends on everything, right! but its a formula and if you broke it down into some kind of algebra problem, the same patterns would show up and yield the same results over time. Its not easy to understand and Im not even sure if Im explaining my thoughts accurately, but hopefully it makes a bit of sense.

Ive been aggressive lately, not very conservative, and its paying off. Im reading a few books again for the third time! Ive upped my stakes, and something occurred to me. Normally, Il up my stakes, and win one or two games, and then I will lose a few and go down in my bankroll. Its at this point where I LOWER my stakes again, because the losses and the bankroll thing are chipping at my confidence, so lowering my stakes after that was always my safe-bet play. Then I would win the lower stakes a few more times and be back where I started. Breaking even.

Well, something different happened yeterday. I upped my stakes, and lost a couple of games, and my confidence was affected. Normally I would lower my stakes and make a comeback, but this time, I remained at the higher stakes. And when I won, it paid off well and I found myself a lot higher in bankroll than I imagined. SO ive been sticking with the higher stakes and won a few and lost a few but I am still ahead.

Lets say you play 3 dollar games mostly, and one day you up your stakes to 6 dollars. Well when you win a 3 dollar tourney, you get about 12, and when you win a 6 dollar tourney you get about 24.
If you have 100 dollars in your bankroll, and you join a 6 dollar and lose, you go down to 94 dollars. If you lose again you go down to 88 dollars. At this point your confidence starts to worry and your bankroll is flashing amber, trying to alert you to proceed with caution, or stop. So you would go down to 3 dollar games and win 12, which brings you back up to 97. Well, instead, if your doing everything right and just getting bad beats, stay at 6 dollars and if you win youll go to 106$.

It may look like your losing cash rapidly when you play these stakes, but if your on top of your game, you will win money rapidlier!

Once again, Ive strayed from “bluffing” 🙂 But whatever. Its my blog Ill do what I want! 😉 Youve all learned not to judge a post by its title already anyways. Ive had a hankering to write and its nice to have something to do while I fold hands! But seriously, assess your bluffing skills, they may need attention. Tone it down a bit, or crank it up a bit, whatever the case. Unless you are consistently winning and your game is in harmony with the universe, then you need to make a few adjustments, and bluff honing is not a bad place to start.