You do go through an evolutionary process with poker and it is a game that you never stop learning about.
That is its fascination for me and if poker were a game that you could ever solve then it would become a much more boring game ans people wouldn’t come to poker sites like 888poker for example. Each of us has our own individual interpretation of just what “poker” actually is.
No two knowledge sets are the same and so this means that no two poker players can ever be the same. It was only a couple of years ago that I learned of aggressive bluffing based on the two main reasons for placing money into the pot. These are namely for value or to bluff. If you think that you have the best hand and that if you bet or raise then you will be called then you are either betting or raising for value. You cannot be betting for value if there is zero chance of you being called.
That isn’t a value bet…….it is just a bet. Likewise with bluffing, we bluff to make our opponents fold incorrectly had they known the content of our hand as in the fundamental theorem by David Sklansky. But also making your opponent fold their equity is another reason to bet…….or is it? Let us look at a flop like 10d-8c-4s and we were the pre-flop raiser before the flop. We were called in the big blind by a LAG player.
There are 7.5bb in the pot and the LAG donk bets into us for 6bb and our hand is the 3d-3s. In times gone by then I would have either folded this hand or called. However I have often called only to then face another turn barrel in what is a very difficult situation. I could still be ahead in the hand but I cannot know that. So I can call down and lose when I was behind or fold the best hand……not a good situation to be in.
These days I will raise the flop which a lot of people find bad. They often say that how can you raise the flop for value when no worse hand can call? That much is true but I am not raising for value. Then they say…. but you could have the best hand and so why do you want the worst hand to fold……bottom line…..it is a bad bluff.
I don’t think that way and I have turned my hand into a thin bluff. If my hand is worse then my raise makes my opponent not only fold their equity share of the pot but they also make a mistake even if my hand is best.
This is because if they knew the content of my hand then they would re-raise me forcing me to fold. So I have turned a small made hand with equity into a bluff. The fact that I don’t “need” to bluff because my hand could be best is not sufficient.
My hand just plays badly and against an opponent that is looking to take the pot away from me then I re-exert control with the raise. Let us say that our opponent had pocket sevens on that board to our pocket threes.
Here we are crushed equity wise and only have around 8% unless we force a fold. The combination of the 8% equity and the fact that our opponent likely has no hand and the fact that we could make a mistake by calling or folding means that we can “bluff” with a made hand as well.