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Expectation And Hourly Rate The Fundamental Theorem Of Poker The Ante Structure Pot Odds Effective Odds Implied Odds and Reverse Implied Odds The Value of Deception Win the Big Pots Right Away The Free Card The Semi-Bluff Defense Against the Semi-Bluff Raising Check-Raising Slowplaying Loose and Tight Play Position Bluffing Game Theory and Bluffing Inducing and Stopping Bluffs Hands-Up On The End Reading Hands The Psychology of Poker Analysis at the Table Evaluating the Game


Stopping Bluffs

Essentially the strategy to stop bluffs is to represent more strength than you actually have. Your opponent will not try   to bluff, thinking you have at least a calling hand and perhaps better. Let’s say you are playing draw poker, jacks or better to open, against someone you want to stop from bluffing. As the dealer in last position, you open with a pair of aces. After having originally checked in a very deep position, the potential bluffer now call s you. There is no chance that player has something like two pair, since in that case he would have opened himself.

Instead he must be on the come. Drawing first, he takes one card, which either makes his hand or doesn ’t. Now you stand pat! Even when you check after the draw, your opponent will almost never bet unless he actually made his hand. He certainly will not try a bluff in the hope that you will throw away a pat hand. He probably won ’t even bet a small straight. If he does bet, he’s made his hand, and you fold, knowing you have not cost yourself any money that is, knowing your opponent did not steal the pot from you.

 To stop a bluff in this spot, some players would draw one card, representing two pair, and many players would  draw two, representing three-of-a-kind. But in either case, their opponent may still bluff, and he will probably  be bluffing approximately correctly. By standing pat, you are stopping the bluff almost completely at almost no cost to yourself. Since you have two aces,   there is no chance your opponent can catch a bigger pair than yours, and the odds are approximately 500-to-1 that you would make a full house by drawing three cards at the same time that your opponent make a straight or flush.

By stopping a bluff in this fashion, you have reduced your opponent’s chances of winning money from you to minimum. Let’s assume the opponent who draws one card makes the hand 20 percent of the time. When that opponent never bluffs and by standing pat you have pretty well forced him no to bluff you win the pot 80 percent of the time. Given the pot’s size, your opponent’s proper bluffing frequency, according to game theory, is about 7 percent.

However, as long as your opponent bluffs anywhere from 1 percent to 20 percent of the time, he does better than if he doesn ’t bluff at all. If, for instance, he bluffs only 2 percent of the time, you still shouldn ’t call when he bets, and now he wins 22 percent of the pots rather than 20 percent. If he bluffs 10 percent of the time, he is still a 2-to-1 favorite to have his hand made when he bets. Since the pot is giving you better than 3-to-1 odds with the antes, you are forced to call, but you will lose that last bet two times out of three. So you clearly fare better when this opponent never bluffs (or, or course, bluffs way too much) than when he bluffs anywhere near correctly. Suppose you are up against an opponent who usually bluffs correctly in hold’em, and the following hand develops:







Your opponent is first to act and he bets. You are worried about a flush or a straight, as well as other hands, but you are also worried about a possible bluff. 

Therefore, after he bets, you should raise with your two small pair. If he calls with, say, a pair of kings or a four-flush,   he will certainly not try to bluff you out on the end. On the other hand, if he reraises or calls and then bets on the end. On the other hand, if he reraises or calls and then bets on the end, you should usually throw your hand away. You know you are beat since your opponent would be afraid to bluff you after you have suggested so much strength.


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