Sports & Games

Detecting and Executing the Bluff

Daniel Negreanu

Lesson time 14:31 min

A successful bluff requires more than a good poker face. Learn how to use board texture, capped ranges, and blockers to identify an opponent’s bluff and make your own bluffs believable.

Daniel Negreanu
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So bluffing, when you're trying to, you know, bluff a hand through, it's similar to telling a story or a lie. And the facts have to add up. So for example, you know, you come home to your wife and, you know, you tell her, you know, you had a really hard day at work. It's 5:30, but you're wearing golf shoes and, you know, you've got a tan on one hand and not the other because you're wearing a golf glove. She may look at those clues and say, hard day of work, huh? Looks like you might have been golfing. So that relates to poker in a real, substantial way, because we talked about a range of hands that a player can and can't have. So if the range of hands you get to a certain situation doesn't include the hand that you're trying to represent, well then the facts don't add up. So you're trying to pretend, for example, in a situation, that I've got pocket aces. Well, let me see, though. It was raised, two people called, and you just called the button pocket aces? It's not very credible, because everyone knows you are way more likely, if you would have had aces, to reraise before the flop. So when a bluff happens on the river, if you're going to make one that's credible, it's important to look back at what happened before that and make sure that all the facts line up to something that is credible enough to say, yeah, I guess you could have aces in this spot. When you're ever in absolute territory, in situations where the player can say, you know what, he's representing this hand but he can never have it because he would have raised before the flop, you put yourself in a situation where that bluff is never going to work. [MUSIC PLAYS] It's also very important to be adaptable. So you had a plan when you made your continuation bet, and your plan was, you were going to, like, double barrel and triple barrel. Well sometimes, your opponent throws a wrench in that plan by raising you. Sometimes your opponents, you know, give off a physical tell where it looks like he really likes that card. Often the board runs out in such a way where it no longer seems feasible to tell the story that you've been telling. So for example, if it comes, you know, jack nine six, with two spades, and you about to flop, and the turn was the four of spades, and you bet the turn, and the river is the three of spades. Well, you're representing one specific card right now after betting, and it's just the ace of spades. If the ace of spades isn't something your opponent thinks you have, well then your story is just not going to work. So that might be a case-- and I'm not saying it always is-- it might be a case where you're not going to be able to credibly represent what you think you were representing before that point. What is double barreling and triple barreling? OK, so we've talked about what a c-bet is, and that's the continuation bet after the flop, OK? So often, what happens is, you know, you get called and you're on the turn, OK. You have a decision whet...

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I've learned about some of the mathematics that are imperative to strategical decisions.

I loved the course. To get maximum benefit from it, my plan is to watch several times. Excellent presentation.

Very comprehensive course. Covers all aspects of the game in depth. It has improved my game so much. Totally worth every penny spent

This MasterClass helped me learn some of the nuances of live play that I had not picked up in my years of online poker and could not get from a math book.


Hubert S.

these are great lessons, but for players with some experience, even as amateurs. The ranges are great, and the tactics are solid, but to advance for a new starter who play as a hobby. Crawl, walk, run. I'm gonna revisit these lesson for the entire year and try to pick one or two things I wanna work on and then make is stick. This is a lot of content and concepts to grasp, but worth it.


I'm a newer 2-5 player. A lot of the concepts Daniel discusses are too complex for the opponents I play against. I think the concepts are great, but at more advanced levels. Anyone share that thought?

A fellow student

I agree with most of the posts on here. Daniel is the best at what he does but he goes quickly and we could use more visuals. I would also want a quick tip for each module that I can learn and use quickly.

Erin A.

Ok, I almost understood none of that lol - I will finish the whole course, and maybe it will come to me. But even so, more visual examples would be nice.

john F.

Really if you have one card in your hand you are blocking 25 percent of him having it. Isn't that what playing small aces is about. They guy may have abigger ace . You are not blocking squat.

Ilias R.

do you have an ''easy'' way to count the combos that the opponent value bets VS bluffs?? It doesnt sound easy to do when live (or online)

Richard L.

Has anyone used the "Equilab APP"? If so could you give a explanation on how to use it PLEASE???

Sean C.

These videos are so interesting and helpful, but it's like I need each one to be an hour long. These are like trailers for more helpful videos.

A W.

In the blocker bluff example vs Katz (8:10) does this mean Negreanu is trying to represent AK or AQ? Just as well couldn't Katz assume that the two aces visible to him block Negreanu from holding an ace too? What if Katz was holding KQc and had nut flush and straight draw? I guess you just adjust if he ends up calling the turn bet? I also find it disconcerting that Negreanu says he could be holding A4 suited, so top and bottom pair, so is a bluff really expecting someone to fold this hand? I also feel this would be hard to apply in a cash game where players seem incredibly reluctant to let go of a top pair on a board like that. I could imagine them calling down to the river without hesitation.


Just when it started getting very good near the ended. Detecting and executing a bluff and deciding the frequency with which one bluffs or value bet or folds is really another very complex subject, and I think DG ran out of real estate to build the size house this mansion of a subject deserves.