Sports & Gaming

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.

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Topics include: Make Sure Your Story Adds Up • Track How Your Story Changes With New Cards • Double- and Triple-Barreling • Equity and Semi-Bluffing • Blockers Can Make Your Bluff Credible • Blockers in Action • Exploiting Capped Ranges • Value-to-Bluff Ratios


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...

About the Instructor

Put yourself across the felt from Daniel Negreanu, the biggest live tournament poker winner of all time. The six-time World Series of Poker champion teaches poker strategy, advanced theory, and practice through hand-reviews of his winning games. Learn how to sharpen your mental game through demos on reading opponents and spotting tells. Join Daniel at the table to increase your win rate, grow your ROI, and get your game “in the money.”

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