Layne Flack, Inducing a Bluff
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Layne Flack
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Layne Flack
Lesson: 54
Inducing a Bluff

My name is Layne Flack and I play online poker at Full Tilt Poker. If you want
to learn more about my poker career, keep reading...

I was dealing poker in Montana when I decided to check out life on the other
side of the table. After finishing my shift at one casino, I'd head over to a
different casino and see what my experience as a dealer had taught me. I
guess I've learned quite a bit.

I've got five World Series of Poker bracelets and multiple final table finishes. I
won my first bracelet in 1999 in the $3,000 Pot-Limit Hold 'em event. My next
two bracelets, won in consecutive events in 2002, earned me the nickname
Back-to-Back Flack. Before I won my next two bracelets in 2003, I finished
second at a WPT event and won the WPT Pro-Celebrity Invitational. With a
second and a fourth place WSOP finish in 2005, I feel certain that I'm on this
side of the table to stay.

Beginners come to poker thinking that the bluff has one simple purpose: To
take pots when you don't have a hand that can win at showdown. In
No-Limit Hold 'em, however, the bluff can be used in many different ways. As
a recent tip by Huck Seed pointed out, a good player can use the threat of a
bluff to force an opponent into making a very bad call.

For this tip, I thought I'd show another way you can use the bluff to your
advantage. Using this technique, you'll neither be bluffing nor threatening to
bluff, but rather, you'll be convincing an opponent to bluff in a situation where
you almost certainly have the best hand.

Say you're playing a game of No-Limit Hold 'em and you raise in middle
position with Kh-Qh. You're called by two players - one behind you and one in
the blind. You're thrilled to see the flop: 2h-7h-Th. You flopped a flush. The
big blind checks to you and you bet. (Note that I highly recommend betting in
this sort of situation. Betting the made hand often does more to disguise the
strength of your holding than slow playing does.)

Your bet is called by the late position player. What's he calling with? Maybe
he has a Ten or the Ah. The turn is a blank, the 3c. You bet again, and once
again are called. Now the river is another blank, the 4d, making the board
2h-7h-Th-3c-4d. What's your play?

On the river you should consider checking - but not because you're worried
that your opponent has a better hand. Rather, since your opponent called on
the river, you have to consider what he may have. It's hard to bluff on three
consecutive streets, and most players won't launch that third bullet. So, after
calling you on the flop and turn, your opponent may look at something like
top pair and give up, thinking that you must have him beat if you're willing to
fire at this pot three times. Or, if he only has the Ah, he'll have no choice but
to fold. Either way, there'll be essentially no way for you to get any value out
of the hand by betting.

If you check, however, you let your opponent stab at the pot. If he's got just
the Ah, he may be inclined to see your check as a sign of weakness. He'll fire
at the pot in desperation, hopeful that he can force a fold. Then you'll call and
take a nice pot.

Remember, your opponent's broken draws offer great opportunities for you
to induce bluffs. When you have a hand and you appear to be up against a
draw that doesn't get there by the river, you stand to make the most by
checking to your opponent, who can then do his best to pick up the pot by
betting. It's a great technique, and yet another way you can use the bluff to
your advantage.

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