We’re continually adding poker strategy articles to www.PokerBankrolls.org. Hopefully, by reading through these different articles you can improve different areas of your game including both pre-flop and post-flop. All of this will help you to build a bankroll more effectively and make it last longer.
A major reason why you should take some time to learn poker strategy is because 85% of online poker players lose money. While this statistic may surprise you, you need to bear in mind that making money in poker is incredibly easy, especially when there are so many weak players and fish. The majority of losing poker players have not bothered to learn any strategy. As a consequence they will bleed chips too quickly and will be calling to see the flop with all kinds of crap and junk hands. At PlayersOnly Poker for example, a lot of the players in the micro-stakes tournments are weak players who’ve hopped over from the joint wallet casino and sportsbook. Hence, you can make a ton of money here if you optimise a winning poker strategy.
5 Types of Bluff Poker
The key to becoming a winning online poker player is being able to read your opponents, narrow down their hand range and be able to take advantage of them when they’re weak, i.e. by bluffing.
However unlike movies and TV shows which make bluffing look as simple as sticking your chips into the middle of the table and waiting for the other guy to fold, there is a lot more to it than that. You need to be able to understand flop texture, sense weakness in your opponent, analyse his previous hands and patterns in his play, and then most importantly you need to have a “balanced hand rage” to extract maximum value and fold equity from you bluffs. Basically, picking the right time to bluff is a skill in itself, and not only do you need to bluff, but you also need to “out-level” your opponent psychologically.
Pure Bluff: The pure-bluff has gains to most popularity and exploits in TV and movies. It is the stereotypical bluff where an opponent shoves all of his chips (or overbets) the pot hoping to pressure his opponent into folding. Although this seems simple, in reality it is anything but and it’s a great way to lose your entire poker bankroll. The majority of the time a pure-bluff show a lot of weakness and is generally done by poor, inexperienced players finding themselves stuck in a corner by the river. In many ways it is a last resort and I think that 99% of the time you’ll get called by a better player like myself.
Semi-Bluff: The semi-bluff is one of my favourites because it is so flexible and easy to pull off. A semi-bluff is essentially bluffing with a hand that still has “outs” in case you get called. The most typical hands to semi-bluff with are combo-draws, over cards or Ax. The main advantages of semi-bluffing is that you can win chips if your opponent folds, however even if you get called you still have a chance to win the pot at showdown plus you can balance your range more.
Continuation Bet: By far the most common bluff on the poker tables is the continuation bet. This is when you bet a missed-flop having been the last pre-fop raiser. It’s profitable because it requires only a small commitment of chips and a lot of the time your opponent will miss the flop and just fold. In fact, your opponent is likely to miss the flop over 66% of the time which means a half-pot c-bet only has to work 1/3 times to break-even. If you bluff two consecutive streets than it’s known as double-barrelling (a third street, i.e. betting the flop, turn and river is known as triple barrelling).
Check-Raise: The check-raise is used by players out of position to take advantage of loose-aggressive players (LAGs). Unlike the previous 3 types of bluffs, a check-raise involves feigning a weak hand when you actually have a monster. The aim is that you pretend to be weak so that your aggressive opponent raises/bluff the pot, to which you can then re-raise him. The main advantage that you an end up building bigger pots and taking down more dead money then raising first to act. Notably, bluff-raising is when you check-raise the board with a weak hand (rather than a strong holding) to make it look as though you have a really strong hand and force your opponent to fold (reverse-psychology).
Post-Oak Bluff: It’s unlikely that you’ll ever use or come across this type of bluff. Mainly used by professional or high stakes players, the post-oak bluff involves making a thin bet (e.g. ¼ pot-size bet) on the river in order to make it look like you want your opponent to call. Under the right sort of conditions you can make your opponent fold because it looks so much like you have him dominated that he’ll be prepared to lay down the hand (thinking that you have the nuts of something). Importantly, this type of bluff doesn’t work against calling stations an players who aren’t capable of reading strength properly.
Although the above 5 bluffs are the most common and well-known, in the last few years or so a number of other types of bluffs have found there way into mainstream poker literature. For example, “squeeze play” is a common bluff that is used in MTTs whereby a player in MP will 3bet-shove over the top of an LP steal and EP re-raise with the aim of “squeezing” them both out of the pot because of your perceived hand strength and the fact that both of the other players were likely re-raising each other with nothing.