During a recent poker game, I took a pretty large pot with a 7 of hearts and 2 of clubs. A novice player, who was watching the action, asked me a frequently asked question in poker. He wanted to know “when is it a good time to bluff?” I gave him a couple of tips and after thanking me and patting me on the back for taking that hefty pot with just a 7 and 2 off suit, he left.
I thought about his question and decided that although bluffing has been a topic in many “How To Play Poker” books and I had written about it and talked about it many times, I would revisit the topic once again.
Best times to bluff:
Bluff if you only have one other player still at the table.
Hit it hard if the board cards or the cards you have showing allow you to represent a winning hand.
When your image at the table is that you are a very strong player.
If you are in late position and no one has represented any kind of strong hand.
If you can read your opponents and you really believe that they will fold to your bet or raise.
But you have to tread carefully through the bluffing canyons or you could slip and fall pretty heavily. You really need to try to read your opponents and especially pick up on how they played any of their winning hands. There are very definite times when you should not bluff:
Worst times to bluff:
If you know of any player still in the hand who will always call even when he has nothing. When you meet a player like this it’s best to let him or her shoot themselves in the foot!
If one of the players has raked in a huge pile of poker chips and he can easily cover your bet or raise without much damage to him. Stay away; play it safe!
If there are still a lot of players at the table. Don’t do it!
Just remember these simple do’s and don’ts and be a winner! And while you are wondering about bluffing, remember that we co-wrote the song “I May Be Bluffin’ “. Here it is for your enjoyment:
We all know how good a poker player Daniel Negreanu is, but how many of you knew that he has a huge advantage because he is also a psychic? Watch this little video where he is playing against Jerry Buss, best known as the owner of the Los Angeles Lakers. Daniel actually calls for an 8 of diamonds and a jack of diamonds and gets them both on the turn and the river to beat Buss with a straight flush against his ace high flush.
When I saw this my immediate thought was that I would give up any of my poker chip sets to become a poker psychic. And my second thought was to never ever play against Daniel Negreanu. How about you; are you a poker psychic? What would you give up to become the Edgar Cayce of the Poker World?
So you finally decide that you want to start hosting poker games at your place. Maybe you’ve got the perfect man cave underway, or you’re just starting out in the living room or garage. Either way you’ll need the basics and arguably the most fundamental purchase is a set of chips that any self-respecting host would be proud of. Now before you start down the road of composite vs. clay or 11.5 gram vs. heavier, you need to decide how large your chip-set needs to be.
Luckily I have come up with this handy guide:
Set of 300 chips can support up to 25 buy-ins or 1 table (typically up to 8-12 players)
Set of 500 can support up to 47 buy-ins or 2 tables (typically up to 16-20 players)
Set of 600 can support up to 56 buy-ins or 3 tables (typically up to 24-30 players)
Set of 1000 can support up to 175 buy-ins or 10 tables (typically up to 75-100 players)
Of course, this guide makes a number of assumptions to achieve an apples to apples comparison:
Chip values: assuming unmarked chips valued at $.25, $.50, $1, $5, $10, $20 depending on the size of the set. This works roughly the same for $25, $50, $100, $500, $1000, $2000 so you can make adjustments.
Starting stacks: assuming $20 stacks
Tournament style: assuming you are playing tournaments where multiple buy-ins can occur up to a certain cutoff point. However, you can use the same comparison for cash games and make adjustments as needed. For example, a 500 chip set can support 47 $20 buy-ins so you could roughly support 20 $40 buy-ins. A typical home cash game may have anywhere from 6 to 10 players so 500 should be enough for every player to dump $80 in which would be plenty and would, in all likelihood, never happen.
Hopefully this little cheat sheet can help you zero in on the size of the chip-set you need so you can focus your remaining energy on finding a set that channels your inner casino. It’s hard to go wrong with a set of 600 unless you are preparing to host large charity games. Now go to the Texas Poker Store and find a set of poker chips that calls out “winner” to you.