Sitting on a marginal hand and facing a big bet, but unsure if your opponent is bluffing? This is the toughest situation in poker. It’s certainly never enjoyable to be in one of those “I think he’s bluffing, but I don’t know if I can risk being wrong” situations. Fortunately, I have an advanced poker strategy that will help make this situation easier.
Early in my poker career, I almost always folded when facing a big bet when I had a marginal hand such as middle pair or top pair/weak kicker. By doing so I was easy to bluff. And this caused me to lose pots where I had the best hand far too often. Instead of playing chicken poker, I started learning more and more about how to spot obvious bluffs. Once I did that, I stopped surrendering pots that were mine. I did that simply by using these advanced poker strategy tips:
Top 3 Ways to Catch an Opponent Bluffing
1. Opponent makes it known he’s tired of your act
A few years back I was on a heater at a loose $2-$5 NLH game. I was up at least $1,800 for the day and was constantly raising. What my opponents didn’t realize was I was the deck was smacking me right in the face. I couldn’t miss. Sure, I bluffed a few pots here and there. But my big wins all came on big hands.
There was an opponent across the table that had enough of my act. He was tired of my raising and I heard him whisper to a friend that wasn’t even at our table about how much I was ticking him off. Right then I knew he was going to try to bluff me off a pot. I made a pre-flop raise a few minutes later with a junk hand such as 10-8. I flopped the nut straight but there were 3 clubs on the board. I had no club, and there were 4 players in the pot so I had to be careful.
I put out a decent sized bet and Mr. Frustration called. He then led out on the turn with a $100 bet (about ½ the size of the pot). And then he went all-in on the river for about $400. No additional spade came on the turn or the river, so I had the nut-no-flush. If this were anyone else at the table, I fold, giving them credit for a flush. But in this case, I knew he was bluffing because of how frustrated he was with my aggressive play. I called and my read was spot on. He had ace-high. Pay attention to your opponent’s reaction to your play. Players that are annoyed of your style of play just might make a dumb bluff into your big hands.
2. The check-call, check-call, big bet guy
Most inexperienced or weak poker players really don’t know how to disguise a flush draw. 99 times out of 100, if your opponent is weak, he will play a flush draw by insta-calling the flop and turn and then lead out with a big bet on the river if the 3rd of the suit he’s chasing doesn’t show up. There’s really nothing more to discuss on this one. If you spot this betting pattern from a weak player, your opponent missed his flush.
3. Preflop Raiser Bets in position at paired board
One thing is certain about continuation bettors – they’ve never seen a flop they didn’t like. But they will try to make you think they didn’t like a flop where they hit the nuts by slow playing. So when I see have a habitual continuation bettor (one that bets every flop they raise pre-flop) take a stab at a flop with a paired board, I almost always throw in a check-raise. It’s a great play against this type of player. 90% of the time – maybe even more – your opponent will have missed the flop. Unless they’re holding pocket Aces, you’ll get them off the hand. I won a nice sized pot with 5-high not too long ago on Carbon Poker when a continuation bettor bet at a 7-7-2 flop.
There are many ways to spot bluffs. This advanced poker strategy tips article includes the 3 best bluff spotters.. I guarantee they will help you stop surrendering pots that should be yours!