Friday, April 13, 2012

Bluff Good Players...And Beat Bad Players

As I've frequently stated on this blog, there are two--and only two--ways to win a hand of poker. First, you can turn over the best hand at showdown. Second, you can get the other player to fold. That's it; only two ways to drag a pot....

...ah, but this doesn't necessarily mean that you will actually be able to win both ways against every opponent you face. In fact, against one particular class of villain, your options are usually just limited to showing down value hands. I'm of course referring to bad players that are, in effect, un-bluffable.

By "bad players" I really just mean those players that are operating at Level-1. They're thinking about their own cards and little else. They're oblivious to what you're representing, and you need to understand this to win against them. For instance, let's say that you have A♠-K♦ and you raise preflop from MP. The 55/5 villain in the big blind calls, and the flop comes out J♠-T♠-8.  You fire a c-bet and the villain calls. The turn is a 7. You fire again, and again he calls. The river is the 8♠. Once again you fire, thinking this is one scary ass board, so he's going to finally give up... but again he calls. He then tables 4-4♣ for the win.

Just what the freak was he thinking!? Didn't he realize he was almost certainly beat?! There were flushes and straights all over the place, plus the damn board had paired. Is he an idiot or what?!

Well, yes, he kind of is an idiot. But in reality you're the bigger idiot for trying to bluff an obvious calling station off what he perceived to be a "made" hand. He wasn't going away, so you have to give him credit for some kind of made hand. So what the freak were you thinking?

I've said it before, and I'll say it again: You can't bluff bad players. You can, however, make a ton of money from them. You do this by betting your value hands strongly against them, and by giving up when you miss and they won't go away. Save your bluffs for the L2 players who can actually lay down a strong hand.

All-in for now...

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