Help Your Opponents To Bluff

There are so many techniques to make a good bluff and it will lean on numerous influences. The flip side of the coin is to know how to entice your opponent to bluff to take a lot of his money.

The key for profit is to understand the best situations for succeeding with this kind of play. Also it is crucial to have a good idea of poker players capable of getting caught in such a trap.

One first situation where you’d like to be bluffed is when you are sure to win the hand. In this scenario, several choices are possible for you. First, you can check from the flop to the river if you think that your opponent will react to apparent weakness. You therefore will content yourself with simply calling each of his bet. He may guess that you are on a draw for example if the board is somehow drawy.

Secondly, you can make a min-raise, thus leaving him room for a 4-bet. If your stacks are deep enough, performing the min raise will in some situations push him to send all of his remaining chips. Leading to an amazing victory for you.

The opponent type is the main factor to consider next. It is quite clear that to induce an opponent to bluff, it will be better for you than he is aggressive enough and able to go far enough with his continuation bets. To perform this maneuver, you have to select your targets and to know who you are dealing with. Theoretically, the more your opponent is aggressive and a bluffer, the easier it will be to take a maximum of his chips with a bluff induction move.

Conversely, a very tight or very suspicious player will rarely continue to bet after being paid the first time. You must therefore in this case find another way to extract his chips from him.

To induce your opponent to bluff is not easy in general and you must fully control the situation. Note that you should not float too often, as it will be costly in the long term. Use floating with parsimony.

Inducing a bluff and consequently winning a large pot is one of the most enjoyable feelings in poker. So practice the skill of this trap for future pleasure at the poker table.

The Evolution of Weak-Tight Players in Poker

It used to be that poker players were a wild, unpredictable bunch. Loose-passive or loose-aggressive would probably typify the typical hold ‘em player 10 to 20 years ago. Interestingly enough, however, it seems like the typical poker player has evolved to meet this changing landscape and now most players could be classified as weak-tight players.

There are many explanations for this change, but probably the most influential is the explosion of poker literature from numerous pros and other successful players, such as Phil Hellmuth, Lee Jones, TJ Cloutier, etc. (all weak-tight players IMHO). These pros have been attacking the game for decades and their style produced consistent profits for them. What’s interesting, though, is that as more and more amateur poker players read the poker literature out there, more of them are becoming weak-tight, thus making a weak-tight playing style no longer as profitable as it used to be. It’s an interesting example of poker evolving to match the style of players.

Let me explain: Weak-tight play is extremely effective in a loose-passive game, which is what I said used to be the norm 10 or 20 years ago. It’s the style that Johnny Chan credits for winning back-to-back championships in the WSOP. However, nowadays, if you are just going to sit back and wait for premium cards, it won’t win you as much as it used to because play in general is a lot tighter – you won’t be getting as much easy money from loose players any more.

What’s also interesting is that the most profitable style of play nowadays is probably much more loose. There are two reasons for this:

1) More weak-tight players out there
2) The development of deep stack, low blind NL ring games

I’ve already explained reason #1 so let me go a little bit into reason #2. Playing a looser style is a more profitable way of playing nowadays in deep-stack NL ring games because of the concept of implied odds or +EV (expected value). Nowadays, a typical game is something like a $1/2 blind, $100-300 buyin game. With blinds costing less than 1/50 of your stack, you almost always have a +EV on any hand you play, especially in late position, given you can limp in for a relatively cheap price. You’re investing an incredibly small portion of your stack with a decent possibility that you may double up.

What makes playing junk cards even more profitable is reason #1, that most players nowadays are weak-tight. This means that most of the time, you’re going to be facing a strong hand and if you can hit a monster, you will get paid off by your opponent. This is extremely important – if you can exploit a loose image, you can ALWAYS get weak-tight players to call you down. When amateurish, tight-weak players see loose play, they immediately assume that they are playing against a bad player (it’s what the poker books tell them). That means that they’ll always think their top pair is good because you are probably just playing some junk against them. While you indeed ARE playing junk, a lot of times junk can destroy top pair if you hit three of a kind or two pair.

Weak-tight players will also pay you off because they are usually incapable of making the big lay-down. After folding a large majority of their cards, once they hit top pair, they get way too excited and become “married” to their hand. They will not lay it down to two pair because they’re been waiting way too long to look for another opportunity.

Any style you play, of course, can be profitable. If you’re a good weak-tight player, you’ll make a lot of money against bad weak-tight players and bad loose players. But if you want to exploit the biggest profit, I think that loose play is absolutely the best way to make the most money fastest. Of course, it also takes the most skill – you’ll be forced into tough decisions a lot more often because you’ll be playing a lot more hands – but it will also most importantly let you learn the game the quickest, because you’ll be forced to think all the time.

Tight-Passive Opponents

Tight-passive players include anyone with scores of 1-3 on both dimensions of tightness-aggression (scale 1-10). Many of these principles and examples refer primarily to rocks (1,1). The lower a player’s scores, the more likely he is to act, think, and feel like a rock.

Most rocks are heavily influenced by their inherent conservatism, but they are not as dominated by their emotions as maniacs and calling stations. Those loose players’ emotions make them choose a self-defeating style, while the tight-passive style can often lead to success, especially in smaller limit games which have many weak players. This is not true in higher stakes games where such players have predictable and transparent betting patterns for observant players who will exploit their style without mercy.

Like the maniacs and calling stations (in fact more than them), rocks are rigid and predictable. You know that they are going to fold hand after hand, call with only premium cards, and raise only with excellent ones.

Less extreme tight passive players have more self-control and flexibility. When dealing with a 3,3, you must be more cautious in applying these principles. You still have to make the same sorts of adjustments, but you must use more judgment and expect a more effective and unpredictable opponent. You must constantly look for variations in his style and adjust to how he is playing now.

Rocks have half of a winning style, and, if they choose their games carefully, it is enough to win a little. If they do not choose well, they will lose, but they may not lose much. Less extreme tight-passive players will win more, and they can beat more games.

If either score is 4 or more, a player is outside of the corner labeled “tight-passive,” and some of these principles may not apply to him. Since tight passive players share passivity and tightness with the adjacent “corners,” some parts of this section will overlap with the sections on loose-passive and tight-aggressive players.

In summary, spot these tight-passive players early and know how to read them like books. And make sure to not play this way, this is not the way to make money playing poker.