Saturday, December 12, 2009

Analyzing NLHE:TAP Concept 48

From No Limit Hold 'Em: Theory and Practice by David Sklansky and Ed Miller.

Concept No. 48: Often make small bluffs (about one-third the size of the pot) in multiway pots when it appears no one has hit the flop. Balance those bluffs by also sometimes making small bets with good hands.

This is too general. It's also rather vague as to how it can "appear" that no one has hit the flop, but I'll take this to mean that most players have checked (as in the discussion in the book).

Yes, there are situations where a small bluff into a multiway pot can be profitable, but you will probably lose money if you apply this advice indiscriminately. Whether such bluffs are profitable depends on your opponents and on the flop texture. There are lots of players who will call small bets with weak hands or will check-call with relatively strong hands when they are out of position. Also, bluffing small on flops with straight draws usually won't work, because people can call a small bet with a gutshot. In general, your best chance will be on boards with the fewest draws, such as paired boards or A- or K-high boards. Boards with these textures are also the best for making small bets with your good hands, so it will be difficult for observant players to exploit you.

You also might want to use your hand as a guide to when you should bluff. If you have a backdoor draw or overcards, your bluff will have some of the benefits of a semi-bluff, since you will have at least a slim chance to outdraw your opponent if you get called.

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