Poker is a mental game, considered this way in many countries of the world, and as such it has a lot of psychology .
Probably one of the most psychological aspects of this game is bluffing . Bluffing is a strategy that many players use, really any player can do it.
But doing it successfully depends on several factors. Not to mention recognizing them. One of the most complicated tasks, but one that can also bring more benefits to any player.
We must also take into account the variant we play. The most popular is Texas Holdem, which is what most of these theories will hold for, but there are other options as well.
There are tips for winning at Omaha, strategies for winning at three card poker , and tips for succeeding in the pot limit variants. And all this also influences the lanterns, although there are still aspects of universal application and that are valid for all cases.
Keys to spot a lantern
The most fundamental thing that we can find to know how to recognize a bluff is the reading that we do of the rival.
His style of play and the image he has at the table will weigh heavily, as will his previous behaviors in other difficult games.
If you have repeatedly bluffed in other hands, you may be very given to doing so . But it can also happen that he did it because he had no other choice in that specific hand. Being aware of that will give you an advantage.
Of course, the cards that are on the table and taking into account the probabilities of the outs is also decisive.
The cards themselves and the opponent’s projects are what can lead us to recognize a bluff , or to be very sure of it.
And the same with betting. The take the initiative or prefer to be submissive , climbing very aggressively or simply go and wait or just call if your opponent raises. All of that helps us too.
But what you also have to know is that bluffing is one more aspect of the game and as for other arts, for everything you have to achieve a training.
Learn from the Professionals
Above all, the professional player, or who wants to practice as such in the future, has the mission of continuing to train and soak up the game. Not just on his own, but also following the legacy of other great players.
There are great poker books that every geek should have read, even occasionally, and many of them showcase the art of bluffing. Doyle Brunson’s book on His 50 Unforgettable Hands is a good example of how a professional bluffs, or even Dan Harrington’s all- inclusive book Harrington on Hold’em .
Very influential books that allow you to learn about how the great names of the most classic poker manage with the bluff and with many other strategic points of the game.
Having a clear reference of what to do in a specific situation can be decisive for any player.
Although this would be almost more advice than a trick, but it all adds up if what counts is to win and beat your opponent’s hand.
The lantern in the first streets
The flop and pre-flop are probably the least likely your opponent will bluff.
It may be the case that a player has been earning the image that he plays few hands and only opens where he almost certainly has something.
And then he begins to bet and steal small pots, since the rest of the users are not going to want to compete against him in those turns. In that case we will talk about lanterns.
On the flop, especially, you have to be especially careful with the “semi-bluffs” .
Semi-bluffs are hands that are bluffing but have the potential to become a better hand if the cards that come out on the table are the right ones.
Players often use them, sometimes even to spot pure bluffs. Of course, a powerful reraise after a semi-bluff can end in disaster.
And above all, if you see that there is a high probability that the opponent will fold, then bluff on these streets.
If not, it won’t make much sense. And if several players open a hand , then forget it.
The bluff on the River
In the River things are quite different and that is because it is the street where the most lanterns are produced.
The boats in the River are larger than those of the previous turns and therefore more likely to bluff. But following a few bases they can be detected.
Perhaps the most complicated thing is when there are flush or straight projects on the table .
The rival lets you take the initiative and limits himself to calling, and then in the River it rises to an amount close to the pot on the table.
Difficult situation, but in which calling can be a good option. We may be facing a bluff.
The bets are also key for the possible bluffing in the River. A player who has previously bluffed a lot may tend to raise 1/3 the pot on the River with a bluff.
Here again, it will be difficult to decide; but matching may be the answer again.
Especially if you detect a possible project of your opponent that he has not been able to complete in the River, you can also force him to discover himself by passing on your turn.
There he will be the one who has to jump into the pool and you will have caught him completely. Bet and collect your chips.
The margin of error in the bluff
To understand all this, something must be taken into account, and that is that the bluffs depend on the interpretation that the player himself makes of the strategy that the opponents are following.
That is, they are deductions that are not safe. There is always a margin of error.
We may miss some detail or, simply, that the rival is choosing to try to surprise by carrying out a play, for some a teacher, and for others a true madman.
Do not end up ticked if you make a mistake when evaluating a lantern. Turn the page and think about the next move. He even throws down a couple of hands to try and collect yourself from the blow.
Never lose your composure, a lantern is never accurately detected. There are risks and taking them is the true art of poker.