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    Inducing Bluffs

When you are up against a player who bluffs too much, rather than stop his bluffs, you should usually induce one. Let’s take an example similar to the draw poker example earlier. Once again as the dealer you open with two aces or even two queens, and an aggressive player who originally checked now calls.

This player takes one card, and you’re sure he’s on the come. Since you want this player to bluff, you should go out of your way to take three cards, making it clear you’re starting off with only one pair. Now if he bets, you call. Even if you’ve succeeded in increasing the player’s tendency to bluff only slightly, you have gained by inducing a bluff. You have given yourself more winning chances when you call that last bet than you would have otherwise had.

Just as you try to stop a bluff by representing strength, you try to induce a bluff by representing weakness. Let’s say you have a high pair in the hole in hold’em, and on fourth street the board is something like:


You should check behind an opponent who checks if you want to induce him to bluff on the end. The only dangerous thing about this play is that you are giving your opponent a free card. If he has an ace, any ace on the end gives him the best hand. However, if he has a small pair, the odds are a long 21-to-1 that he will improve to three-of-a-kind.

 Of course, if your opponent is slowplaying three 9s, you are already beat, and you save a bet. The question you must ask yourself is whether you want to bet on fourth street to avoid giving a free card or whether it’s worth trying to induce a bluff on the end. Sometimes inducing a bluff is nearly the same as slowplaying. Take this hand from Seven Card razz:





You have the best possible first four cards. Yet you should frequently check and call if your opponent bets. Besides disguising your hand, you are inducing a bluff on a future betting round. When you are inducing opponents to bluff, it isn ’t necessary to lure them so far away from correct bluffing strategy that they are favorites to be bluffing when they bet.

 All you want to do is lead them to bluff significantly more than the correct frequency. Clearly you should never stop bluffs by people who bluff way too much. However, it may by correct to induce bluffs from people who rarely bluff if you can induce them to bluff more often than their chances of making the hand.


Players who bluff with approximately the correct frequency are dangerous opponents because they often force you into the position of making an incorrect play. Therefore, it is important to try to stop or induce bluffs to lead opponents away from correct bluffing strategy. You should normally induce a bluff against players who already bluff too much and stop bluffs against players who already bluff too little. In the first case, you are in a situation where you would have to call if your opponent bets. By inducing a bluff, you increase your chances of winning that last bet since your opponent will bet more hands including his bluffs that you can beat than he otherwise would.

In the second case, against someone who bluffs too little, you feel you would have to fold if that opponent bets, even though there is some chance he might be bluffing. By stopping his bluffs, you reduce the opponent’s chances of winning since he will bet only when the has made his hand, and you can comfortably fold. Besides artificial means, you try to induce a bluff you by showing weakness on a earlier round; you stop a bluff by showing strength on an round. Thus, inducing a bluff is something akin a slowplaying, and stopping a bluff is something akin to semi-bluffing. When you induce a bluff, you plan to call if your opponent bets since you have increased the chances he is bluffing. When you stop a bluff, you plan to fold if your opponent bets since you have reduced or even completely eliminated the chances he is bluffing.


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