The Preflop Trap: Turning Opponent Strength into Defenselessness

One of the basics of beginner poker is to learn the “trap.” You may be familiar - flop a hand, bird dog it by laying low, feigning weakness, and spring into action later! Well, here, we show it taken to a higher level - through an anticipatory preflop trap! This is where we apply the experience. By suggesting weakness before we even see the flop. It’s risky but the true player can apply the knowledge and know when it’s right.

Here it is - done right from the book. Hope this helps to show the younger players what it looks like at the next level!

1 Like

Trapping is a beginner move and is usually abandoned as a frequent tactic by most players after sufficient experience. There are rare situations when it can be effective, like when holding very strong hands or against drunken lunatics. It’s very effective at Replay since there will be a bingo idiot blasting off chips at almost every table. Modern poker theory emphasizes balance over simple deception. “Waiting and trapping” won’t work at real poker except a weekend 1/2 game. As soon as you’re marked as a trapper astute players will adjust and you’ll lose a lot of value.


And in a heads up game with 50bb effective stacks all the chips are going in preflop QQvJJ. Playing your hand deceptively changed nothing.

1 Like

that’s not really a trap. heads up both strong pocket pairs. its unlikely that both be holding a pocket pair. your opponent probably figured that you didn’t have one. your hand is known as a cooler. all chips were going in middle no matter what

this is a trap

Nice pot wild! But no trap there. We know it. Ya went ahead and bet small for value but notta a trap around. Gotta spring it! | On my hand, premium or semi premium (QQ) v. non-premium (JJ) makes the difference. Ya overlooked the distinction. In the higher level games all chips not necessarily in the middle there at all. You’re talking what would happen perhaps here. My goal is to show the high level stuff that happens at the bigger money tables!

Thanks for the viewpoint unskilled. We’re showing an example of a high level (next level) technique. For the experienced player it’s not overdone, but carefully and sparingly used - that’s where the experience kicks in. You’re addressing its effectiveness when used as a “frequent tactic” which no high level players discuss. Overuse is simple to diagnose. It’s like someone showing a well played bluff and then addressing it saying bluffing is not used as a frequent tactic because once you’re marked as a bluffer astute players will adjust. Appreciate your point, but we’re going to the next level!

1 Like

I got him to chase his straight/ flush draw. he probably thought that he can catch either one that he would have won. he did catch the straight on river. he even though his straight was good hence the reraise after my bet. he obviously didn’t put me on fullhouse or quads. so yes it was a trap.

Well high level/low level does not appear to be any different than how it should have been played. Not afraid of playing high level players if that is indeed your intent. Bring it on!

When we talk about setting a poker trap we often mean when you have a really good hand and you decide to slowplay it in order to trick your opponent.

And while this is a good strategy to use sometimes, you can actually end up trapping yourself if you are not careful.

This most often happens when you fail to properly assess the strength of your hand preflop.

When I find myself at a table with less experienced players, I like to show a few bluffs. This is usually enough to snap a few of them into “trap” mode.

Those in trap mode will often fold hands they should be playing.

They will often limp big hands they should be raising.

They will often check when they should be betting, and generally take passive lines.

They often refuse to release big pairs no matter what post flop.

All of these are mistakes in my book. OK, I don’t really have a book, but if I did, these would all be in the mistakes chapter. If showing a few bluffs will force 1 or more of my opponents to make so many easily exploitable mistakes, let’s do it.

If someone suddenly goes from playing 1 or 2 hands per orbit to playing 1 hand every 3 or 4 orbits, there’s a good chance they’re going to “wait for a hand, then trap!,” but it’s so easy to detect and counter that it’s rarely worth doing.


Amen sir! The trap, like the bluff cannot universally be heralded or discarded. Sparing, careful, well-timed, very occasional use makes it a weapon. Dismissing either (and you did not do this) on the ground the when you do it too often you get marked, is to raise an objection that the high level player with the experience knows not to do! I like your perspective and while I am an elite player I do like to show the occasional textbook play like the preflop trap to educate.


(You really shouldn’t talk about me like this, SPG.)


A good weapon should be used sparingly and effectively or it becomes a casualty for the user.


No experienced player would ever limp/raise QQ HU. I actually laughed out loud when you referred to this as “next level.” If this thread is a subtle parody of a new player experiencing the Dunning–Kruger effect I salute you for your comedic talents.