Calling Depending on What Your Rival Thinks

There is a very vital concept based on thinking about what your rival thinks you have and it is this: When a rival bets in a circumstance where he is sure you are going to call, he is not bluffing. Generally, this point is a fact but though many players ignore it. It means that if you create the impression by the way you have played your hand, by the look of your board, by the action you have put in the pot, or even by synthetic means that you are going to call a bet, a rival who bets is betting for amount. He wants to have you beat because he knows you are going to call. Hence, you should fold if he bets unless your hand deserves a call on the value of the hand. Of course, you can fold with average reading hands hand that can beat only a bluff; precisely no one but a fool would bluff when he is sure he is going to get called.

A basic example of such a case emerges when you bet on the end and the player raises you. It is less often to find a rival who is competent of raising on the end as a bluff. It is also very less often to find a rival who would raise on a bluff when you have been betting all through the way and have thus, giving each clue of paying off a raise. Hence, against all but very rigid player competent of such a bluff raise, you should fold a normal hand because your rival would not raise without a good hand. Likewise, if you raise on the end and your rival re-raises, you should generally fold unless your hand can beat some of the legitimate hands with which he might be re-raising. All the same, when ascertaining whether to call a bet or a raise, it is significant to think about what your rival thinks you are going to do. A rival who is certain you are going to call will not be bluffing when he bets or raises.

The result to this rule is if your rival bets when there happens to be a good chance you will fold, that rival may be surely bluffing. Practically, it means that if your rival bets in a situation where he thinks he might be able to get away with a bluff, you have to determine to call him even with an average hand.

Amateurs will have observed that this rule and results are the bases of preventing and persuading bluffs, which were explained in Chapter Twenty. When you reveal strength especially more strength than you actually have, to prevent a bluff, you should be ready to fold when your rival bets into you because that rival is hoping you to call; thus he has a hand. However, when you have revealed more weakness than you actually have, you must ultimately call a player who bets on the end because you have persuaded a bluff. That player may be betting and gaming because he thinks you will fold.

Bet Depending on What Your Rival Thinks

To determine whether to bet, it is significant to think about what your rival thinks you have. If you know your rival doubts you have a strong hand, you would bluff frequently with a weak hands because the opportunity are good your rival will fold. Moreover, you should not bet a decent hand for the amount in this situation. Your rival's afraid of your strong hand will possibly make him fold all the hands he might have without those which have you beat.

However, if your rival doubts you are weak, you must not try to bluff because you will get caught, but you must bet with decent hands for amount because he will pay you off.

Psychology and Future Impressions

Diverting the play and making an "incorrect" play purposefully are also the aspect of the psychology of poker because you are trying to affect the thinking of your rivals for future hands. To simplify, we take an easy example that in seven card stud you might make three-of-a-kind on fourth street with two of the cards showing and check your open pair on a slowplay. We assume that your rival saw your hand in a showdown, if you make a same three-of-a-kind further in the session, you might bet it then. As you have checked three-of-a-kind before, your rival will possibly think you do not have three-of-a-kind, but something like two small pair or one pair and a three-flush. In the sense, you take the benefit of the impression you developed earlier to get paid off further when you bet.

Similarly, suppose you make an open pair on fourth street , but you have only so much this time. You check. Now your rival will doubt that you may have three-of-a-kind. They may give you a free card and if one of them bets, you can be reasonably sure that the player has a good hand.

Generally, you should consider any play you make depending on the expectation in a given case. But, as we have discussed in the chapter of bluffing, you rarely hope to do something that is incorrect from the theoretical point of view especially in a no-limit poker game. You may either bluff a hand when you are almost certain you will not get away with it or fold a legitimate hand when you think you are getting bluffed and then show the hand. We are trying to create an impression for the future. You are making a bad play so that everybody thinks it the same. Once you have made your rival think in one way, you take the benefit of that thinking future. Such kind of play will succeed against players who are good enough to try to take benefit of their new talented knowledge but who are not good enough to analyze that you know they are trying to take the benefit of it and that they should therefore overlook it. Once again it comes down to knowing your rivals. You have to know how they think and whether they are competent of thinking on the stage you are giving them account for. If they think on a great stage, you have to step up that stage as well.


The psychology of poker is a significant part of the game. Not only you should think about what your rival has but also what they think you have and about what they think you think they have. You must go through such thought procedures against good players specifically, but better they are, the more difficult it is to figure them out. When you get to the expert stage, the procedure sometime becomes so complicated and fragile that you have to come down to the game theory.

However, these thought procedures can be expensive against weak players as we saw in Chapter Eight because your rival are not thinking on such an standard stage. Against weak players, the good strategy is to play your cards in a general, straightforward way.

When thinking about what your rival is thinking will improve your calling and betting approach. If a rival is sure you will call his bet, he is not bluffing. Likewise, if your rival thinks you are strong, you may be able to bluff, but you should not bet a fair hand for amount. If a rival thinks you are weak, you cannot bluff, but you can bet your decent hands for value.

Normally, you consider a poker play on its own advantages but you can rarely make a bad play for psychological effect to make an impression for the future.

The psychology of poker is an expansion of reading hands and using deception in the play of your own hands, and therefore it is an expansion of the Fundamental Theorem of Poker.