My name is Huckleberry Seed
and I play online at Full Tilt
Poker. If you want to learn
more about my poker career,
keep reading. I won my first
World Series of Poker bracelet
in 1994 in a Pot Limit Omaha
tournament.
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Huckleberry Seed
Lesson: 52
Representing a Bluff
March 13, 2006

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

In 1989 I was an engineering student at CalTech when I took a leave of
absence and started playing poker. I never looked back.

I won my first World Series of Poker bracelet in 1994 in a Pot Limit Omaha
tournament. Two years later I won the WSOP Main Event, my second
bracelet, and $1 Million dollars. In 2000, I won my third WSOP bracelet
playing Razz, and I proved my skill at the game again in 2003 when I earned
the fourth WSOP bracelet of my career.

When I'm not playing tournaments, I keep my calendar full playing online at
Full Tilt Poker and at local casinos in Vegas. I'm known for being very quiet at
the tables, since I believe it's always better to have your game do the talking
for you.

Deception is a vital tactic in poker. Usually, when a player talks about a
deceptive play, he's referring to a bluff - a time when he represented a hand
of greater value than the one he held. But this isn't the only deception
available in poker - not by a long shot. If you study your opportunities
thoroughly, you can use the threat of a bluff to engage in another type of
deception, one in which you're trying to convince an opponent that you are
bluffing when, in fact, you have a great hand.

Say you're playing in a No-Limit cash game and things are going well. You've
been playing actively and aggressively. You've been firing at a lot of pots,
using a combination of good cards and well-timed small bluffs to pick up a
number of them. To your table mates, it seems as if you're trying to capture
every chip on the table. They're starting to grow suspicious and feel you're
getting greedy.

With the table in this mindset, you call a middle position raise from the big
blind. You're holding modest cards - 6d-8d. The flop comes 7c-4h-Qs. You now
have a gut shot straight draw and check. You're opponent bets half the pot
and you call, feeling that if you hit, you can win a big pot. The turn is the Tc.
Now you have a double gut shot draw - any 5 or 9 will make a straight.

At this point, put out a large bet. If your opponent holds Jacks or Ace-King,
he'll likely fold. If he's got Aces or Kings, he'll probably call. And, if so, you'll
know he holds a good hand that he's willing to defend.

The river brings a 9, completing your straight. Now you can use you're
aggressive image to your advantage. Move all-in, even if the bet is two, three
or four times the size of the pot. To your opponent, it's bound to look like a
bluff. Your bet will seem ridiculously large and impulsive. If you had the nuts,
he'd reason, you'd bet smaller, trying to get some value. He'll look at his big
pocket pair, feeling that he needs to make a stand against your relentless
play. This deceptive play where you're actually representing a bluff will give
you a chance to win a huge pot.

If your opponent folds, you'll want to make a note. You'll know he folded a
big hand and might be willing to make other lay downs in the future. But, you
don't want to push this guy too hard. If you force him to make two or three
big lay downs, he's sure to call you down later. When he's reached that state
of mind, make sure you have a big hand the next time you play a pot
together.

No-Limit poker offers some great opportunities for deception. As you develop
your game, look for spots where bluffs and the threat of bluffs can win you
big pots.

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