July 7, 2006

Inducing bluffs...

one play that i've tried to introduce into my play is the idea of inducing bluffs. 'inducing a bluff' means that you find a way to encourage a player to bluff at a pot when you're fairly certain that you have the best hand. it's another way to extract value out of a hand.

layne flack (clearly a greatly superior poker player to me) wrote an interesting tip about the idea of inducing a bluff in this full tilt poker tip, but reading the article didn't necessarily help me much because what he is really talking about is inducing a bluff when you have a monster. the example he gives (flopping the K-high flush and extracting chips) is so rare that it's hard to incorporate it consistently into your game.

lately though, i've noticed online that there are many situations to induce a bluff out of a reckless opponent (of which there are certainly MANY online) when you have just a semi-strong hand. last night i observed the following hand in a $1-$2 NLH game on full tilt:

player A was a reckless maniac on the big blind. the kind of player who makes huge bets at unreasonable pots, playing hyper-aggressively. he had shown little ability to slow himself down. he had about $150 in front of him. player B seemed to me to be a solid player who was making good decisions and playing tightly. he was on the button and had about $250.

all the players folded around to player B, who raised to $6. a standard play from the button, he really could be raising with many hands. even for a player as tight as he was, i could imagine a raise with any decent ace, KQ, JT, etc. and any pair larger than 66. (it turned out that he had AcTc)

player A was the only caller. as i noted, being a maniac means that he would defend his blind with a call with really any hand. he would re-raise with most any decent pair or overcards (maybe even all-in), because (of course) he is a maniac. also, player B could be fairly certain that the maniac would throw out a huge overbet of the pot after the flop no matter what. it turned out that he had 8h5h. it's important to note right here that defending his blind with a hand like this is really not all THAT unreasonable, even against a tight player on the button. it's very likely that he has two live cards and the pot is laying him better than 2:1. what he did next, though, IS unreasonable.

the flop came AsKs2c, and player A immediately bet out $27. now leading out with a $27 bet into a $13 pot should really never happen. against hands that can't call, a $10-$13 bet would accomplish the same thing. against hands that can call or raise, you're just giving away money. it's also idiotic because the flop hit so many hands that player B could have.

now the natural reaction if i was player B, would be to raise. the only hands that i could imagine the maniac having to beat me right now are A2, 22, and K2, none of which he would bet that way. considering that information against the flush draw on board, i would be inclined to raise.

but there are a couple of factors to weigh here:

- if he has a flush draw, he's a maniac and will either call without pot odds or re-raise all-in, putting me at a tricky decision. and while the odds would probably dictate a call, who likes to gamble against a flush draw? against a maniac you can still make a lot of money (on this hand or later hands)

- there are lots of hands much worse than mine that he would fold or re-raise all-in with.

when you add all of these things up, it makes a lot of sense to just call and control the pot size. it also adds some deception to your hand. this is exactly what player B did.

on the turn, the 3h came off the deck. and player A checked. now here's where player B induced the bluff. after calling on the flop, he checks behind on the turn. a normal player would probably then put player B (as a tight player) on a weak ace hoping to check the pot down, but certainly willing to call a maniac. the maniac sees this as a chance to rip at the pot. and when the 6c falls on the river, player A puts in an overbet of $100. player B makes a relatively easy call, given the action and has successfully induced a ridiculous bluff by the maniac.

now i don't know whether this method of inducing bluffs is really the correct way to play. the majority of the time i would prefer to raise on the flop and take the pot down with a hand like AT. but it certainly turned out to be the perfect play for player B in this particular hand and it deserves some thinking over. instead of gambling with the maniac, he was able to control the size of the pot until he was fairly certain he had the best hand and induce a bluff out of the maniac player with no outs. that sounds like a pretty good way to play poker to me...

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At 7/07/2006 02:16:00 PM, Blogger skratchnsnift said...

hm... solid post. now lets hear about you winning some bracelets.


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