It’s not enough to know they are bluffing

After being in Central Illinois for over two years, I finally hosted my first poker game last week. It was a lot of fun. I got a group of relative newcomers together and taught them how to play a Texas hold’em tournament. We had an hour long class where I went over the basics, pretty much following the plan I previously blogged about. Then I had them each chip in a couple bucks and I dealt them their first tournament (I didn’t play).

One hand came up that reminded me of something that happened when I still lived in New York. The hand was pretty straightforward. A few people played the hand, two of them played until the end. There wasn’t much betting, but I remember one player made a small but significant bet on the end. Another player called him. He turned over his two cards to show that he had a pair of sevens, one in his hand, one on the board.

Since this was more or less a practice hand, the other player turned her hand over and said, “Oh damn, I thought you were bluffing.” Her hand consisted of an eight and a three. She did not have a pair. She should not have called. Her hand was too weak to call.

However, she was partially right. Continue reading “It’s not enough to know they are bluffing”

Truth in Poker

If someone is going to go to all the trouble to practically tell you what their hand is, the least you can do act accordingly.

Recently, my local riverboat casino added poker to their roster of games. This is good news for me. Poker is something that I have missed dearly over the past year and half since I moved home. I had hoped to find some local home games, but never managed to find one that worked for me. So over the last week, I’ve started playing again.

Now a lot of people think poker is a game of deception and that is true to a degree. But in a typical poker game, like in life, most of the time people are telling the truth. It’s hard wired into our brains. Besides, one of the easiest players to beat is the player who lies as a rule. Once you realize that the big bet they make on the river is a usually a lie, you just have to wait for a moderately good hand to take a lot of their money. And you know to fold when they make a smaller bet on the end instead of the usual big bet. That bet they want you to call.

Continue reading “Truth in Poker”