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Best poker bluffs

Bluffs in poker game

Success in poker depends on not only a good combination of cards or the ability to make a big raise of your opponent’s bet. Real professionals masterfully control their emotions, and they are capable of insolent bluff even with worthless hands.

Bluff is one of the most popular poker techniques, but the good command of bluffing is a rare thing. It is very difficult to deceive a poker pro, because he knows how to calculate the probabilities and make reads on the opponents.

What is bluff for?

Most of the beginners invest money in the pot with strong and medium strength hands. However, when moving up the limits, the level of opponents' play increases. Experienced players will quickly realize that you play only with strong hands and they will stop paying you off. In addition, when you show weakness by checking, your opponents will bombard you with big bets.

Therefore, bluff is needed in order not to be predictable. In this regard, your opponents will always get confused concerning your hand. Bluffing in the right spot will bring you profit both with bad hands and the strong ones, since your opponent will try to catch you with a potential bluff.

Now that we know what bluff is for, let's get acquainted with the examples of the best poker bluffs.

Bluff in poker

Genius bluff from Tom "Durrrr" Dwan at High Stakes Poker

At the height of his career, Tom "Durrrr" Dwan was one of the most dangerous players both in live poker and online. He was glorious by creative approach to bluffing, and in some hands, he was ready to spend hundreds of thousands of dollars by bluffing several streets in a row.

One of the most famous cases took place in a hand against Barry Greenstein and Peter Eastgate in the 5th season of High Stakes Poker.  

Greenstein opened with raise, which meant that he had a monster hand. He was dealt A♥A♣. In that game with deep stacks, Barry’s bet was called by several players, including Dwan with Q♣10♣ and Eastgate with 4♥2♦.

2♣10♦2♠ appeared on the flop, which brought Peter Eastgate the trips. He made a check, but Barry invested $10 000 with his aces. Dwan raised to $37 300 and turned his top pair into a bluff. Eastgate and Greenstein called, and as a result, the pot reached the mark of $133 500.

7♦ was dealt on the turn. After two checks from the opponents, Dwan decided to bet $104 200. In response to this, Eastgate folded his best hand with 90% advantage! After some deliberation, Greenstein followed suit and folded pocket aces.

This hand is considered the biggest bluff in poker history, because Dwan was fully aware of his decision. He knew that Eastgate's call means the presence of deuce in his hand. He also knew that Greenstein almost certainly had an overpair, aces or kings. In addition, Dwan also assumed that he would be able to force his both opponents to fold. It was a genius hand.

Phil Ivey’s bluff against Paul Jackson’ bluff

Phil Ivey is another player known for his extraordinary cunning and ability to make reads on the opponents’ hands. He demonstrated a noteworthy bluff on several occasions, but his most outstanding hand took place in 2005 in Monte Carlo Millions tournament. In heads-up of this event, Ivey fought against Paul Jackson for the main prize of $1 000 000 and he his advantage was 4 to 1.

Jackson opened with limp with 6♠5♦, and Ivey checked on BB with Q♥8♥. 7♣J♣J♥ appeared on the flop.

It was a good flop for Ivey to try to steal the pot, so he decided to bet. Jackson smelled a rat and made a re-raise. However, Ivey probably figured out that his opponent didn't have a decent hand. Phil made a bluff re-raise of his opponent’s bet.

Both players had “air” and their bets became insane. Jackson made another re-raise. After that, Ivey asked his opponent how many chips he had. When he got the answer, Phil realized that Jackson would be able to step back. Ivey made 5-bet all-in and forced Jackson to fold his cards. As a result, Phil won a huge pot.   

Haxton bluff against Ryan Daut

Isaac Haxton played against Ryan Daut in a heads-up at PokerStars Caribbean Adventure 2007. At that time, Haxton was one of the hyper-aggressive online poker players, who was capable to attack his opponents with a wide range.

Ryan opened with limp with 7♣5♠ and Isaac checked on BB with 3♦2♦. Q♥4♥A♣ came to the flop. Haxton checked again and Daut made a bet. Isaac called with a straight draw, but his hand was not substantial, like his opponent's one. Most likely, after that call, Isaac planned to bluff on one of the next streets.  

K♦ was dealt on the turn, which didn’t improve the players’ hands and they both checked.  

Another Q♣ appeared on the river, which also didn't improve their hands. Isaac Haxton made a bet of 700 000. Ryan decided to check and showed his weakness on the turn, because he had few hands in his range that could make any combination with such a river card.

This hand could finish after Haxton's bet, but Ryan invested 2 000 000 in the pot in order to stop Isaac's bluff. However, this didn’t confuse him and Isaac went all-in by forcing Daut to fold with 7-high.

This hand is similar to the previous one with Phil Ivey, but the action took place on several streets and Isaac put the decisive barrel with 3-bet on the river. That was a top performance.

When is the best time for bluff?

The answer is simple: you should play bluffs poker when there is a high probability that your opponents will fold to your bluff bet.

However, the understanding of this process can only come with experience. The more you play poker, the better you will feel your opponents and their playing styles, as well as anticipate their future decisions.

Reading the books and articles about poker will help you understand the game and successfully apply such a technique as bluffing.

There are no strict rules for bluffing, as every hand in Texas Hold'em is unique and there are many different ways to play each starting hand. Experience is the best way to find the right spots for bluffing.

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Sunrise
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Cardmates journalist, news editor and translator since 2016. Specialization: poker news and review of events.
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