Learning to bluff post flop

by Carl Sampson on January 25, 2013

There are many lessons that you learn as a poker player and years ago when I first started to play no limit Texas hold’em then I simply didn’t know a thing about good bluffing strategy however you can read more here. For example if I raised on the turn then I didn’t really give myself enough leeway to make money on the river. If you have a draw for example or any equity that can allow you to overtake your opponent on the final card then you have to give that a chance to work.

For example let us say that the pot on the turn is $80 and you have $200 behind. If your opponent bets say $50 and you raise to $150 on a semi-bluff and get called then not only have you committed yourself for almost your entire stack but you only have an extra $50 that you can win from your opponent if you improve to the best hand. So bet sizing is important along with your level of fold equity on the turn.

I used to bluff raise an awful lot in the old days and I was obviously what is known as a “dumb LAG”. Your bluff can often be far less on the turn for several reasons but let us play through a hand to highlight what I mean. It has been raised from middle position to 3.5bb in a $1-$2 no limit game with $200 effective stacks and you call on the button with the 10c-9c. The flop comes Jd-8h-4s and your opponent c-bets for 5.5bb with you calling making the pot 19.5bb (less the rake). The turn card is the 3s and your opponent bets 14bb. If you raise here to say 45bb then you opponent is going to fold all of his fresh air hands.

However you could have got them to fold with a smaller raise size. Also if you get called then your opponent is almost telling you that they are committing to the pot. You have risked 54bb so far and the pot is now 109.5bb and you only have 46bb left which isn’t enough for a river barrel to be credible even if an overcard comes. If your opponent checks and you shove then the pot is 155bb and your opponent is getting good odds to call which they almost certainly will even if they don’t like it. Also if you make your draw then your reward is only a further 46bb.

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