A bluff in poker is a bluff. We understand by bluff any action carried out intentionally to cause an erroneous reading in the opponent, making him perceive that we are going in a direction opposite to the one we really want to direct it.
Bluffing in poker is something very spectacular when seen from the outside, but it is not something that novices should try. The risk of getting it wrong and being exposed is too high, and sometimes not even the bankroll could withstand that exposure to error.
But there’s a first time for everything, and when you reach a certain level, you will surely want to put into practice what is probably the most spectacular move in any live or online poker game.
To familiarize yourself with some basic aspects about the execution of a bluff and the importance it can have in your game, we have prepared this post with some of the key points to start bluffing well.
Bluff: meaning in poker
Knowing what a bluff is and understanding what it implies is the basis to begin to understand the importance of this action. In poker, a bluff has an especially important meaning, especially in high-stakes games, where the ability to play the role well or not is key to opt or not to the jackpot.
A bluff in Spanish is nothing more than a bluff, a trick, a lie that you are trying to slip under the noses of your opponents to make them see what it is not. If they buy it, success. If you get caught, you’re pretty much screwed. And the worst thing that can happen to you is that they make a hero call on the last street while they have made you think that the bluff was going well, when in truth they were just waiting for the right moment to give you the lunge.
Because being caught in the middle of a bluff not only has dire consequences in the round in which you play it, but implies much more. Your playing style will be exposed. Your tells will be exposed. And, most likely, if you have made a hero call you will fall into the tilt and it will be time for you to either take a break, or start playing from a much more conservative position.
Whoever catches you in the middle of a bluff has you for the rest of the game, hence the importance of knowing how to mask your tells and keep your game opaque. Otherwise, the next time you dare to bluff, your opponents will already have twice as much information as before, and you will have half the chance of getting it right.
What is a “squeeze” bluff
Now that you know the basics about bluffing, its meaning and its basic implications in the game, let’s focus on a particular type of bluff: the squeeze bluff. It is also known as “aggressive bluffing” or just plain “squeeze”, and it consists of re-raising before the flop after there has been a raise and one or more callers.
If a weak player raises, and another one calls that raise, in case he calls or raises again, it opens a great window to catch the pot, because more than half of the time everyone will fold.
Watch out for players who open too many hands: this means that none of them is too strong. And beware of limpers, those who pay without re-raising. But their strength is relative, they look very tough, but in reality, when they have to raise, they will fold. It is at that moment when you can score a championship squeeze by re-raising, demonstrating your strength. It is difficult to hesitate here, and when in doubt taking a risk does not pay off either, so a well-timed bluff squeeze at the right time can be a powerful ally.
You may be interested in:
Squeeze in online poker: all about aggressive bluffing
To make it clear to you when it is convenient for you to try a squeeze, watch out for these tips:
- Massive withdrawal. The main objective of the squeeze is to provoke the rest to withdraw. If it goes well, it is an intimidating bluff that no one will want to expose themselves to, even if they are hesitant. Putting them between the choice of folding or risking exposure and exposing yourself to major losses is the main ace in the hole of the aggressive bluff.
- Don’t target tight opponents. It makes sense to avoid this type of players, as aggressive bluffing is meaningless against them.
- Master your tells. This is basic in any bluff you try to execute, but in a bluff squeeze it is even more important. Any inconsistency in your body language can make your worked bluff fall apart like a house of cards.
- Play position. OOP play is not an option for bluffing, let alone attempting a squeeze.
- Reserve it for high-stakes. Squeeze play is only valid in high-stakes games. For lower stakes games, don’t even consider it.
- Big stacks almost always pay. You should almost always focus on players with bigger stacks, because they are the ones who almost always tend to pay.
- Don’t use it as a rule. Staying a credible and consistent player is everything in poker, but you have to master everything about your game and what you convey to others for a squeeze to work. A player who ceases to be credible will automatically cease to be able to squeeze, at least with the same players.