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Arrow   Bluffing Odds: Using Odds during a Bluff

Poker is all about Maths and that even applies to bluffing. It is possible to calculate percentages that tell you if it is an excellent time to bluff in financial terms. This is crucial when there are only one or two players and there is a very large pot.


The best use of these calculations is if you?ve gone for potential straights or flushes that appeared on the river, but that didn?t materialise. Lets say the flop was Club, Club, Spade, and the next two cards were both Spades. You had two low Clubs. If you and your opponent show your hands it is inevitable that you will lose, however how likely is it that your opponent will fold if you raise? Or put another way how likely is it that your opponent doesn?t have the nuts?


Let's say that the above case occurred in a $10/$20 game and on the river there is $400 in the pot. Your only opponent checks to you. If you check, you know you've lost. So you bluff. The reasoning is that if you invest another $20, you're getting 20 to 1 odds. As a percent that's around 5%. If they fold more than 5% of the time when you do this, you make money in the long run, and it really is the long run which you should be thinking.

Obviously you still have to use judgement and evaluate your opponent, but from a purely mathematical perspective hopefully you understand. Another way of looking at it is that they missed their draw more than 5% of the time and will fold.

If two players are involved in the pot, the odds half. With three, it becomes 1/3rd of 5%. You can hopefully see why it is best to bluff against as low a number of players as possible.

The caveat to place on this is that some players will stay in purely based on Pot Odds . So bluffing can never be just about odds. You need to understand the mindset of your opponents.

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