The relationship between bluffing and hand selection is deep-rooted. When you decide to play a hand, you are choosing the frequency with which you will be bluffing on a later street. Therefore, hand selection is crucial to bluffing. The bluffing theory deals with appropriate circumstances, which makes bluffing profitable. To bluff a good value for your starting hands, you need to understand which games are profitable to bluff. Here are the Components of a Bluff—Part 1 for you!
Every poker player bluffs. Every hand you hold contains an element of bluff. In essence, every hand you choose to play has two components: the value component and the bluff component. The value component is the likelihood that you might win with the best hand. Whereas, the bluff component is the likelihood that you would have to bluff to take the pot. Hands like pocket Aces have no bluff component at all but, an underdog hand like 72 is almost a bluff.
All other hands that fall somewhere in between have a sliding relationship between the value component and the bluff component. It is crucial to remember that the stronger the hand, the higher the value-to-bluff ratio. Usually, marginal hands, like AJ or pocket 7, have a fair amount of both value and bluff.
For example, AJ is often the best hand before the flop, but would in some bluff post-flop if it misses. While, with a hand like pocket 7, you might be betting to see a board like J-10-3 without really understanding if you are betting the value component, the bluff component, or a little of both.
Therefore, anytime you play a hand you know isn’t the best possible theoretical hand, you add some extra bluff to your game. If you choose to play with a weak hand, you are bluffing pre-flop or end up bluffing after the flop. Thus, understanding hand selection is vital.
Understanding Tight and Loose
Let’s say that you are in a game with Rs.1 and Rs. 2 blinds, and the average pot size is Rs.200. You should play tight as the size of the game is huge in comparison to the size of the blinds. You are risking a mere Rs.3 in a round to win a monster pot.
Conversely, let’s say if you are in an Rs. 1 and Rs. 2 game, and the average pot size is Rs. 20. In this case, the size of the blinds is greater than that of the game. Therefore, you should play loose or quit the game if you are at a tournament table. In such games, you have to play more hands and win more pots to stay ahead of the blinds.
You play tight in a loose game because a loose game means bigger pots, less risk of ruin, and you can afford to be more patient, mathematically. While you play loose in a tight game, because tighter games have small pots, so you should be active to avoid getting eaten up by the blinds.
Present Equity and Future Equity
The probability that if you execute a bluff right now, it works, and you win the pot is present equity. Whereas, future equity is a probability that showing the bluff right now earns you extra calls downstream. The existence of future equity means that your present equity does not have to be greater than breakeven. Therefore, if you are a tight player who plays only aces, you would not get any action. You would have to change your tactic and play a less than premium hand to surprise your opponents.
By bluffing, you not only loosen your opponent’s play but also make it hard for them to make decisions against you. Therefore, bluffing becomes a necessity. But if your bluff gets called, there is nothing to worry about since you haven’t been caught. The bluff that gets called builds future equity. It is crucial to remember that bluffs don’t need to be money makers at this point. Bluffs can be breakeven (or even a bit less) because you’ll make future money on them.
Points to Remember:
- There is a value of getting called in the future when you have a real hand.
- There is continuous value in keeping your opponents guessing about your real strength.
- You should not be too nervous to bluff because if you don’t get caught sometimes, you are just not playing right.
This was the the end of the Components of a Bluff -Part 1.
Next up is the Components of a Bluff -Part 2. See you there!