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Blind mans bluff

By: baud2death @ 07:07 (EST) / 111 / Comment ( 6 )

I wanted to say a few words about bluffing in this post and more specifically bluffing in the micros.




Before I begin, I want to reitorrate that whilst I have some good insights into Poker and feel I am an OK player, I am still new at this in relation to a lot of people so please take any of my suggestions, thoughts or general musings with that in mind. I am not a Poker Pro offering expert guidiance, I am just another grunt in the trenches grinding his way up the Micro's but eager to share my experiences with any it might help.


Bluffing in the micro stakes is pointless.


Its a bold statement but I said it.

For a decent bluff to work you need to rely on your opponent being able to put you on a good hand. That means if you bet it up strong from the flop with AK at UTG, get a caller and the board comes Q | T | 4, if you are first to act and put in a good 50% bet, you are basically saying to any player that has the aptitude to understand that "I have either a Pair of Aces, Kings or have paired my Queen"

Sadly if your opponent came in with 45 and he hit bottom pair, he doesn't notice your tight 10% image or that any hand you have been involved in ended up with a fold to you or a showdown where you had a premium hand. He doesn't understand that your 3Bet from the flop from UTG was your way of telling the table "I have a VERY strong hand"

All he cares about is that he put a lot of money in the pot to call your raise and he could win it with a pair of 4s.


With this in mind, you really shouldn't be trying to bluff your opponents in Micro stakes with nothing.


On the flip side of this, the players who are silly enough to come into your pots where you are dominating will often pay you off when you hit a hand so there is a payoff eventually against these types of players.


Just try and assume everyone you are playing in Micro stakes is new, knows little to nothing about Poker and you far excel them in every way. This won't be the case all of the time but with this mindset you have to assume that every player will bet without purpose, play weak hand and chase very poor hands to the river.

You can't plan on getting lucky against these players, luck shines on them a lot stronger than it does on you... believe me! The only hope you have is to crush them with a hand when you dominate knowing that they will often bet you with trash and you will get paid off... just don't assume they are as smart at Poker as you are, its their luck that gets them by and its your skill that gets you by. Step aside whenever luck is a factor (you are semi-bluffing or drawing) against these types of players and rely only on spots where you have them nailed to the wall with your skillfull betting, use of position and choice hands... they will have no hope.


An example of this in action (and such a beautiful example) is as follows

You can either watch it with the hand replayer here :

Or you can watch it in Boom Player here :


With this hand I got in nice and cheap with a speculative starter hand. For this I wanted to either see Aces, Tens (or both), a straight or a flush or I would want to get out sharpish.

Flopping the nut straight with a draw to the nut flush and the absolute nuts, i wasn't going anywhere and considering the paint on the board I was expecting a lot of action so really didnt need to bet this much.

I didn't need to worry as my opp was happy to oblige betting into me and when the turn fell filling my Royal Flush (first ever for me) I was more than happy to sit back and wait for my monies.


When he turned his cards over and showed T9, I wasn't surprised but was expecting a fullhouse with all the diamonds on the board, it didn't really matter at this point, obviously


Aside from bragging, I bring this up because this is a classic example of where a bluff just wouldn't work. When this guy hit his straight, he was committed to taking down the pot. It didn't matter that a flush came on the turn or the board paired... he just saw his straight and he was winning as far as he was concerned.

If I did have nothing, perhaps a 4-flush draw, an Ace but not Ten (or vice versa) or absolute rags, if I had made an attempt to bluff it on the turn with the diamond falling shouting out that "I have the flush, go away because you can't win", he wouldn't have paid any attention and I would have lost.

In contrast a board like that on a higher skill level table would have put so many questions into the mind of my opponent that he could have well put me on a suited connector with diamonds and if I had bluffed it here, I could have got him to lay it down with nothing... but sadly in the micros, this doesn't work because the ability level is so low, your opponent isn't capable in a poker-intelligence sense to put you on a hand so why try and represent something in the first place.


The reason I chose this as something to talk about was that with my desire to be more patient still strong, I still get stuck with the idea that I can get away with bluffing an opponent on occasion.

I get stuck because I give my opponent far too much credit than they deserve. They arent paying attention to my 1/4 stacked strong UTG preflop raise and are happy to bet their pair of 9s against my bluff because they have no real idea to put me on a strong hand... it just doesn't occur to them, like its a different language almost.


I have a battleplan (shhh its a secret) I am sticking to and it pretty much involves playing strong hands strong from the flop, if the flop shows me dominating - bet it strong. If I am weak to the board (a draw, no made hand, overcards) then check/call if its cheap enough to do so but overall I am waiting either for a big card to put me ahead (such as a completed flush or straight, trips) so I can consider betting at it or a strong enough bet from my opponent to push me out of the hand.

Ideally I don't want to be chasing cards to the river as well if I can avoid it.


AK when the flop doesnt hit and there is action at you... fold

AK when the flop doesnt hit and there is no action to you... perhaps a free card here can put you ahead with an Ace or King (but are keen to get out of the way if the action gets heated)

AK when the flop hits your hand... bet it strong

NEVER NEVER NEVER... Bluff with AK, you opponent probably hit a flush draw, a strange kind of gutshot or have bottom pair... any board with T 7 2 has you beat if even one of those matches their hand to a pair and without improvement even a pair of ducks has your hand beat.


Overall... bluffing in Micros is bad.. Your opponents are too green to know when they are behind and will call your bets, even sometimes your all-ins with bottom pair or even an underpair!




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