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Bluff Catching Strategy

Bluff Catching Strategy

Bluff catching in poker is the art of catching an opponent for “selling” a fake story. It is an indispensable weapon at the table, both in tournaments and at the cash tables. Reading the other person’s game and interpreting the bluffing moments correctly is a difficult task even for some professionals. However, this sixth sense is necessary, as it often differentiates between good and very good players.
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How do you catch those who bluff?

I’ve talked extensively about poker bluffing here; now I’m going to talk about the clues that make you pay an opponent who tries to “steal the pot.” “How do you catch those who bluff” is a question that many friends have asked me. The question is legitimate, and a very clear answer can hardly be given. Specifically, I try not to chase after such a “witch hunt”, I do not set a goal in myself to catch those who bluff. A bluff catching in the good poker is done exactly when you are not running after it. In other words, I try to pay close attention to the following variables:

  • against whom I play;
  • what general trends do the player, I suspect, have to bluff;
  • what is its stack;
  • the value of the bet made;
  • the logic of the hand and the extent to which the story it wants to sell fits;
  • table position;
  • the game as a whole. It is essential to pay constant attention to the action and connect the present hand and what has happened in the recent past. You will thus have access to a series of information that supports you in your decision.

Below I will refer to what I consider essential in applying a bluff catching in poker.

The image of the opponent

Except for a few isolated cases – players at the beginning of the road who are afraid to play – most of those at the table, regardless of the form of the game (omaha, hold’em, 5 card stud, etc.) or stake, bluff at at some point.

Some do this more often, the bluff being an important weapon in their game; others prefer to be more responsible. In general, the latter has a tight player image on the table. Even if the term refers to the selection of playing cards and not to aggression, the two elements overlap in many moments.

Watching the game closely, you will notice the analytical opponents, who usually evolve in the book. No doubt you will feel at times that they are trying to steal. I avoid trying to trap such opponents. I prefer to believe their story because they bluff too few times. As a result, such an opponent will often turn a better hand. The right solution for them is to fold in poker most of the time.

My advice is to give credit to a tight-passive player most of the time and identify your targets among the very active ones. I’m talking about players with a loose-aggressive style. They will bet more often and are more likely to bluff. Even if you don’t interpret all the elements of the hand correctly, you will most likely benefit if you try to trap them. Because the rate at which he tries to “steal” is much higher than in the case of other players.

Bluff catching in poker: the value of the opponent’s bet

“How big is a bluff for not being paid?” It is a question that will only partially answer when you want to know if a poker-catching bluff is justified.

If your opponent asks you for very little, you will tend to call more often. But, in the same way, it can be a value bet, which will determine you to put a few more chips in the fight. Distributive attention and analysis are needed, and the study of other variables. I mean the stacks, the blinds, or the table position.

Many resorts to an overbet to steal, convinced that you would only be able to pay with a very good hand. A correct strategy, in principle, but up to a point. If such a raise does not follow the logic of the hands, I often choose to pay because there’s no viable argument for the one in front of me to ask for so much unless he wants to bluff.

In general, however, I advise you to relate to pot odds and player trends. This mix will tell you if the value of his bet is worth paying. Specifically, I propose to refer to an example; on the one hand. The opponent demands two-thirds of the pot on the river (pot odds 2.5 / 1). From a statistical point of view, however, you noticed that in such situations, on the last street, he tries to steal in more than one case out of 2.5. Your call here is justified; you will be on the plus side in the long run. In the end, it’s about math and probability.

Your decision is covered; it is justified because, with many identical hands played, you will end up winning.

Bluff catching in poker: your hand

It is not uncommon for me to read and interpret one hand correctly and try a bluff. But I didn’t get a decent hand either. What do I do in this case? An option would be to re-raise, but I only recommend it as long as you are sure that your opponent is stealing.

I’m afraid I disagree with the “hero call” variant. The opponent often has a small hand, but he thinks he is not good enough at the showdown. As such, paying only with Ace high or the third pair, for example, is not the wisest thing to do.

I advise you almost always to guarantee that you can beat a bluff before calling. The moment you realize you can’t do that, turn to re-raise. However, such a variant can be very expensive, so you need to be very sure that you have correctly interpreted and analyzed all the data provided by your opponent.

In conclusion, he tries to trap opponents who are likely to be “stolen,” but he does not abuse this strategy. A correctly detected bluff will solidify your image at the table and make your opponents think in perspective, but the game’s purpose is to collect chips, not play a “cop” role. Be careful, especially in online games, where bluffs are much less common than live poker.

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