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  • Bluffing the River

    Monday, October 24th, 2011 by Ryan

When it comes to bluffing in general in poker, one thing to remember is that you have to really sell it. This may sound simple, but it’s actually much tougher than most people think. One of the hardest things to sell in bluffing, is attempting to bluff your opponent on the river. The reason for this is that your opponent doesn’t have to worry about calling off anymore chips at a later time in the hand, and they also can base their decisions off of how the hand has played out to that point. That is exactly where most players make their biggest mistake, as they will either check both the flop and the turn, and then attempt to bluff the river; or not bet out enough on the flop or turn, and fire out a bet on the river that your opponent will call with a wide range of hands. We are going to give some tips and thoughts as to ways that you can make a profitable river bluff, and also ways to make sure that your opponent feels the pressure.

*Don’t Let Up*

This is an important one, as many players will actually lower their bet sizing on the river if they have been betting out on the flop and/or turn. The reason for this is typically because players just don’t want to risk as much with their last bluff bet, but the thing is; if you are going to bluff out at your opponent, you have to go all the way. You are literally just wasting chips if you aren’t going to actually sell the fact that you have a real hand and put a bet out there. So for example, if you are in a tournament and you’re betting 300 on the flop, and 500 on the turn, you should come out with between 600 and 800 on the river at the least.

*Not Knowing When to Fold*

Looking at the example above, we assumed that you bluffed out on each of the three streets. This is normally not the best idea, and you should definitely know when it is time to just throw in the towel on your bluff and check. The reason for this is that if your opponent has called both your bets on the flop and the turn, more often than not (unless it is a very draw-ey board that doesn’t hit) your opponent is strong enough to continue calling on the river. This is just a spot where you should check on the river and cut your losses.

*It’s Best to Give Yourself Outs*

This is a pretty obvious statement, but it is always a good idea to leave yourself ways to hit a card that can help your hand quite a bit. What this means basically is that it’s a better idea to semi-bluff than bluff with two random cards. So if you have two connectors, or two suited cards, and you are able to hit a board that has draws that can help your hand; that is a great spot to put out a bluff. So just try to put yourself in situations where you can go from nothing to being in a great spot!

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