When Are They Bluffing?
This isn't about reading tells. This is about the situations where bluffing is plausible, and when other players will do it. You can generally look at the reasons YOU should bluff and apply them to other players. Of course, you also have to know the player, and evaluate it from there, but here are some ideas...
A. They are keeping the initiative despite a poor flop.
If they bet preflop from a poor position, and the flop is something like 4, 5, 5, they are probably just trying to keep momentum going and bluff their way out of this hand. They probably have genuinely zero drawing chances with overcards or maybe an overpair, but a re-raise could have them rethink that strategy. It might also give you a betting round or two to try and make YOUR hand.
B. Pot Odds are in their favor.
If everyone folds on the turn with a big pot, like when an obvious draw was missed, expect a bluff. It's almost certain that anyone will bluff against a big pot. With the pot odds the way they are, you probably want to stay in those hands also.
C. It's you and them.
The most common time to bluff is when you can pull it off. It's very easy to trick just one person. Use your skills at evaluating the previous rounds and the board to determine what they might have.
D. The flop doesn't have any draws.
Sometimes someone will bet in this case to eliminate the ability to acquire a draw, sometimes because they have a good hand. You really have to know the player.
E. They bet on the Flop, checked on the turn.
If there was a draw, and it didn't hit, they are probably just buying a free card. Bet back against them and take the initiative.
F. Bet on the flop, bet on the turn, checked on the river.
Same as before, but they bought another turn. Might as well bet back at them.
G. They bet and tell you to "save your money".
If they really wanted you to save your money, they wouldn't have bet. Sometimes players say that just to create the opposite image, so look out. Few are that crafty though, so tell Uncle Jessup that he's bluffing and re-raise.
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