Calling a bluff

There are two ways to catch and call a bluff. One way is to look at the physical behavior of the players and see if there is a sign that tells you they may be bluffing. Another way is to deduce from the board and their actions to see if there is a chance your opponent may be bluffing.

A great skill to have in poker is picking up tells. These tells can show a player whether or not to call another player's bet. That is beyond the scope of this book, although there is a book that is perfect for this issue, and it is The Book of Tells, the Body Language of Poker by Mike Caro. In that book, he has a chapter titled "Strong Means Weak," in which he describes how players will sometimes act strong when in fact they are weak. This may be a sign that they have a higher chance of bluffing than normal. For example, they may stare right at you and look confrontational or they may throw their chips out like they are strong. Of course many players will do this when they actually are strong indeed, so it may not work with some players. I find it useful to keep an eye out for these types of actions when it is out of the norm for the player and see how the hand proceeds.

The other way to catch a bluff is to deduce from the board and the opponent's previous actions to see if there is a chance that he may be bluffing. The opponent may be one that likes to raise with draws, in which case seeing a draw on the board that missed may tell you that there is a chance that he was raising on previous rounds with a draw and now betting on the river hoping he wins with a bluff.

This is the first draft of the chapter Semi-Bluffing in Hold'em Brain by King Yao. Please email feedback, suggestions, comments, opinions, questions to [email protected] or you could use the Feedback Form to email me at the bottom of the page.

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