How many kinds of bluffs are there?

Bluffing in Multi Table Tournaments is not just about shoving in your chips with nothing to see if an opponent will fold, but an art of creating uncertainty in your opponents. Does your small bet on the river mean that you are scared, or is it a lure to make an opponent bet when he is well beaten? Or are you bluffing with nothing, but making it look as if you want villain to call, but the last thing you want is to have to show your 5 high?

Some kinds of bluffs:

  1. Preflop bluff. You just raise to steal the blinds. This is useful in the final stages of tournaments when the blinds are so high that even for BB to call a miniraise and lose the pot will be very costly to him. Also when you come up against your final opponent on the final table, and a mixture of limps and raises will help to disguise your monsters, plus you can win some pots with utterly worthless hands that you would never normally play.

But even in the earlier stages of MTTs, this preflop bluff raise can be useful, especially in button and blinds play, because having repped a big hand, any A or K that comes on the flop looks to your opponents that it falls within your range, whereas if you limp in from the SB, it is much harder to convince opponent that you have an A when one appears, and he may summon up to the courage to call your bet with a hand that is ahead of yours. And if an A or K does not come, then haven’t your represented an overpair?

  1. Flop bluffs. Usually these are semi-bluffs, where you do not have a made hand, but you do have a strong draw, so many outs if called. Best done from late position. However, with second or third pair on the flop, you may also represent top pair with a large bet hoping no one will call. This works best if you also have some sort of backdoor draws to a flush or straight, as that gives you many outs. With a pair AND a flush draw on the flop, you may be drawing to a flush, 2 pairs, or trips, so it is not all over until the fat mermaid sings at the river.

  2. Turn bluffs. A scare card falls that may complete a flush, straight, or trips if it pairs a card on the flop. A bluff from early position will sort out the men from the boys.

  3. River bluffs. You have missed your draw, but the pot is too large to ignore. Maybe you can get top pair to fold. (This does not often happen on RP as most players will call with top pair, bottom kicker, but second pair will occasionally fold.)

The latest addition to my armory has been the faux flush bluff, which I had never used before. I had been studying strategies to deal with a very annoying, but crafty calling station who keeps hitting flushes on the river, and noticed that when flush cards fell, if he bet the river, it meant he had the flush, and if he checked,it meant he did not have the flush, so I figured out a way to bet him off the pot when it looked like there could be a flush, but he did not have it. Seems to be working well. I used to dread having him on my table, but now I welcome him and his followers and regard them as a source of chip revenue.

This was a nice example, where with the board flushing on the river, I was able to knock down a nice pot with a river bet that made 4 opponents fold. My hand was T7o, and unlikely to win the pot without a bluff to help my opponents with their decision making.

You may well say that this looks like an incredibly passive table, and you would be right, but it is a 1-million chip buy-in tournament in which the players are mostly in the top 1000 on RP and if no one wants to raise and lets me check into many pots with trash, I have no particular objection.

https://www.replaypoker.com/hand/replay/748192684

And here is another one where a bluff on the river folded 4 players a few hands later where my hand was J6o. In this case nobody had bet the flop and when the 8 from the flop paired with the river, it looked like the pot would go to whoever had the best kicker. Since there was an ace on the flop, the pot might have been shared 5 ways.

https://www.replaypoker.com/hand/replay/748193270

My tournament strategy is constantly evolving and the latest thing in early play (the first hour on RP) is to just avoid confrontations with the sharks who don’t play nice and go spearfishing for limpers when there is a trail of blood in the water.

Would be interested to hear from others on successful bluffing formats and which kind of bluff is the most profitable. In RP MTTs I am inclined to think that the preflop bluff is the most profitable and the simplest as it sets the scene for the bluff on the flop with a large pot, but this may not be equally applicable to other poker formats.

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Oooh! Who knew?! Thanks for this.

I am sure not a very good player, but i has lern something on this site: 1:When a limper put 1bb-2bb turn is because he has close something on the flop or more probably on the turn (only midle pair too) so… Yes is only 1bb but probably he will not fold with a mini rise on the river. 2: When the flop is paired is so easy to take it with a 1/3 pot bet. These are my most easy and profitable bluff and lecture. I also try to do a bet on the turn after the 3d card of colour came after i did a c-bet, but i think is not so profitable in a SnG (or a mtt )because you risk a lot of chips and in my experience the limper pass this too rarely (and they have many suited trash).

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Good reading!!

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Addendum: Bluffing on the flop.

Tournaments on RP usually have 4 stages, which we can call the beginning, the end of the beginning, the beginning of the end, and the end.

It is a bit like the psychology of human development, as you cannot move on to the next stage until you have completed the current stage and mastered it.

Hence the type of bluffs and the inherent riskiness of them and the size of them will depend on which stage of the tournament you are at and what the relevant stack sizes are.

Two truisms about Multi Table Tournaments in poker:

  1. Every single player in a tournament apart from the winner will eventually be all-in and get beaten, the only question is when.
  2. If you are going to be all-in, it is always best to be the first person to shove, unless you have the nuts, in which case it is obviously fine to call. Also if you have AA it is nearly always right to call a preflop shove (though there could be certain situations in multiway pots where it would be diplomatic to fold and let other players knock each other out.)

The typical RP poker MTT I play in has about 30 entrants, but there are some small buy-in tourneys where the entrants go well over 100 participants. Either way, in the beginning stage you need to win enough chips to keep up with the blind increases and grow your stack. If your stack is dwindling and other players are building monster stacks, bluffing may be your best bet for survival, or at least winning enough chips to enable you to wait a bit longer for a monster hand.

One good move here is the premeditated flop shove. This move must be executed while you still have enough chips to hurt someone. If you started with 5000 and you are now down to 3900 chips, you still have just about enough chips to make an opponent think twice about calling your shove. If you have only 1200 chips, you will be swatted like a fly.

So it goes like this: Big stack table bully raises from early position, you 3 bet with about half your stack from BB. He calls. The pot is now (let’s say) 4100. The flop comes paired or suited or rags. You shove. That’s it. The odds are that opponent cannot call the flush or the pair on the flop, and even if rags you may have hit a set, so he folds. Your stack is now 6000 and you are back in contention and table bully is licking his wounds, and hopefully tilting. If the flop looks really bad for you, like it comes AKQ to your 2 5, you can give up the hand and conserve your ammunition for one last shot.

The last shot will also be a kind of bluff. There are at least two limpers, or better still a raiser and a caller ahead of you, and you shove will suited connectors or even something like 97o (at least a nondominated hand) and hope that the two or more opponents will block each other. Maybe you get called by three hands that each have an A and you will triple up and be back in the contest.

Of course these strategies will not always succeed, but then everyone will be knocked out eventually except for the winner, and in some ways it is better to be knocked out early than to hang on for a long time with a microstack and then have your aces busted anyway. You can always enter another tournament.

The important thing is to have a plan and a proactive strategy of how you are going to play a tournament and not let your fate be driven too much by waiting for good cards. If you get down to 1000 chips and you pick up AA and just win the blinds, or even double your stack, you are still in the shitter.

The other day I had AA 4 times in a tournament and AK 6 times, but still didn’t win, because those hands came at the wrong time.

Sometimes they come at the right time, and that is very nice. This hand is from the final table of a recent tournament.

https://www.replaypoker.com/hand/replay/748216297

But a lot of times AA and AK are not all they are cracked up to be, and they often don’t win big pots in Multi Table Tournaments. While you may get AA only one time in over 200 deals, you get bluffing cards at least 50% of the time. It could be 100% of the time, but I would exclude dominated hands like K5, Q4, J3, and T2.

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One more comment.

Whether bluffs work or not depends, like so much in poker, on the whole situation or gestalt as we might call it if we want to throw around terms from psychoanalysis.

In many tournaments on RP, especially the low entry ones, people play in a pretty reckless manner and will automatically call off their whole stack on draws to flushes and straights.

Once you move up in the ranks that diminished a bit. Not completely. It costs about $30 to buy enough chips to compete in a 1-million chip tournament, and you would think that no one would pay that to participate in a tournament in which there is no prize money,but you would be wrong, it seems.

You would think that when a player is putting his last million chips into entering a tournament, that the would really value his chips and not want to have to pay for more chips, but actually these players are the loosest of all and often play like maniacs.

However, once players get a decent stack and see that they might be in with a whiff of a chance of winning one of these tournaments, they become much more cautious and are much easier to bluff.

As the blinds get higher and higher in a MTT, the cost of entering any kind of pot or calling any bet and not winning the pot becomes deadly. Even if you call a miniraise from the BB and then flop a flush or straight draw, the cost of calling a bet on the flop may leave you stack-committed. And as we know, the probability of making the flush or draw on the turn or river is not in your favor, so you can only call with the very strongest draws like a nut flush draw with a pair or 2 overcards to the flop.

At this stage of the tournament the player who is FIRST to bet can considerably neutralize the advantage of position on flops that do not help the putative range of the raiser. On the other hand, if you notice that a player to your left tends to flat call bets on the BB with excessive frequency and with trash hands, then you can put more pressure on them with bluffs. Usually this type of player will shove the flop if they actually make something like top or second pair, which gives the raiser the opportunity to bow out, but 2 times out of 3 they will not make a pair. Of course if they shove the flop when it hits them it makes them relatively easy to read, and as a bonus, if you raise preflop and BB re-raises all in, it most likely means that they have a pocket pair and your decision to call that bet or fold may be determined by relative stack sizes.

For example, you have a stack about the same size as the BB and both of you have about 12BB and there are 6 players left on the final table and 4 will get paid, and you raise to 2.5 BB with AJo, and BB reraises all-in with an overbet. Do you call?

I would say not, because although it would be nice to double up and get onto the bubble in a good position, you have already come a long way and the most likely hands of your opponent are either a pocket pair or an Ace that dominates you. Better to back down. Calling odds become irrelevant here, because your tournament life is at stake.*

However if BB’s stack is 3.5BB, then yes, you can call because you only have to add 1 BB to have a shot at a pot that already contains 6BB, and even if you lose, you are not out of it. Very likely the next time around when he is in the BB you will get back a good percentage of the chips you just lost with a bluff.

  • Here I am talking about the kind of loose calling opponent who loves to call raises to see what they can flop. If he 3-bets all-in this is a signal that he is not looking for a flop and suggests a made hand or at least one with showdown value.

Any attempt to divine what opponents are holding is doomed to fail much of the time, but think how much better your tournament results would be if you could figure out an opponent every time has has AA, so it is worth a try. If you never, ever figure out that an opponent has AA, then you are surely doomed to failure.

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You might want to play with your sizing here.

The problem with 1/2 stack is that you are obviously pot committed (whether you actually are or not) and your opponents are less likely to call with hands they will give up on the flop.

You also don’t leave yourself enough behind to get the fold equity you want on the flop. Betting 1/2 pot pre means your flop shove is giving your opponent 3-1 pot odds, which is good enough to chase a lot of draws, so draw they will.

I like to bet 1/4 to 1/3 there, depending on my stack depth relative to the blinds. If 1/4 is at least 5BB or 3x any open, I like that sizing, otherwise, I go 1/3.

The smaller sizing pre lets your opponent call wider, and I want that call. A 1/4 stack raise or bet pre still lets me get away from the hand on bad boards, but it let’s me make a 1.5x pot overbet if everything looks good to continue. So let him call pre, then maximize your fold equity on the flop.

A 1/3 stack bet pre leaves you a pot sized jam on the flop, which does all of that stuff too, just to a lesser degree.

Anyway, that’s the way I do it.

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the best bluff is when you are short stacked blinds are high and you need to pee - ALL IN

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I aktuellt dont bluff so much haha why I dont have so much chips,but if I do is if I get pissed of lossing to one who did or if I am so short of chips but you can lie,is that bluffing :slight_smile: anyway my first goal is to win with a better hand,that is what I go for not to bluff but its part of the game! I hate the guys who do all in all the time,its not fun,destroy the thrill of the game! Evryone bluff and I belive evryone dont want too but as a poker player you need too!

Apparently you do not know that maniac is a common poker term to describe a certain style of extremely loose, wild, and aggressive play. It is not defined by buying chips and playing loose.

It is not a term of hatred. Perhaps you think that donkey and fish are also hateful words.

https://www.888poker.com/magazine/poker-terms/maniac

Yes, I believe I have seen you play that bluff a few times, but I did not know the reason. Please continue to play it whenever you feel the need.

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There is your reason :rofl:

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Yes, your suggestions are very good and I may adopt them. I must admit that I am very lazy on bet sizing and prefer to use the preset buttons for half or full pot most of the time. I wish there were more buttons. The reason for this is that I find it quite difficult to set a bet size accurately using the mouse and may massively overbet, yet typing in the number can lead to you being folded before completing the bet if you are not very quick, especially as my cell phone connection that I have tethered to my desktop can be unreliable* and fold me out even when I do bet on time. What would be really useful would be to have some user defined preset buttons or some buttons that would specify a number of BBs to be bet, again preferable player could choose size for button. Whether such a thing is possible, I have no idea.

  • Movistar in Ecuador.

There are 3 Types of Bluffs

!) Those u win
2) Those u lose
3) Those u hope to lose on purpose early in a session or tourney that hopefully reap rewards later on

The art of “Bluffing” or “Betting ur opponent doesn’t have it” is very hard to learn and takes practice and the will to pay for ur lessons learned

Given that in my opinion the examples shown of a 1st bluff at a pot being the river is the worst way to go b/c it is the most easily exploitable

Best of luck at the table … and remember The Goat is only bluffing 1/4 of time out of respect … It is your job to choose wisely :slight_smile: :goat:

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This is a good way to get your bet close to the size you want, but you don’t have to use the slider or type in your actual bet.

Use whatever button gets you the closest, then click to the right of the slider to increase about 1BB per click, and to the left to reduce by about 1BB per click.

This is pretty fast, and gives you better control than using the slider.

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Thanks, I never knew about that, and it could make a significant improvement to my game.

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Actually I have already used it and have probably got more folds from preflop raises that were half the pot plus one blind, or overbets that were pot plus one blind.

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