Rick Rahim:I am Rick Rahim, Founder of the Executive Poker Tour here with professional poker player, Rhett Butler who also plays on the Executive Poker Tour. Today, we have been talking about how to play No Limit Texas Hold em. And Rhett, in this segment, we are going to talk about something everybody loves to see, especially on TV and that is "The Bluff".
Rhett Butler:Well, the bluff is a great part of the poker game. Lot of people like to show their bluffs and the reason they do that is either they are trying to impress everybody or they are setting them up for the next play. So, I rarely show my cards unless it is for a specific reason. The bluffing in poker is, I would say at least forty to fifty percent of the game if you bluff at the right time. So, you want to set up an image at the table, either be it tight, loose, aggressive. And by tight I mean playing premium hands, aces, kings, queen to start or playing loose, playing pretty much any two and raising someone and not letting them know what hand you have. So, when you do have a hand, you can either get paid off or you can set them up with a bluff, if you so not think their hand is that good. Rick Rahim:So, let us say I have been playing aggressively the entire time, and I am typically raising every hand before the flop and you might look down at - not necessarily a great hand or not even the big pair, but maybe you look down at the jack-ten suited or seven-eight suited and a lot of people have called and you decide - well, let me see a flop and see what develops. Now, you have not played a lot of hands; so the minute you are in a pot, people are thinking "Oh! Watch out. Rhett Butler is in the pot. He does not play a lot of hands and when he does, he tends to win." That in itself probably changes the dynamics even before we see a flop.
Rhett Butler:Well, much more so and in poker tournament play, you will see the people give you the respect. But in a cash game - because cash game they can revive and in a turn, you are exactly right. If you have position or if you are in an early position, you put up sides or raise and people think "Well, he's not bluffing there. He has got something." So, if they call you, they might have a pretty big hand. If you come in like you said with a suited connector of seven-eight or nine-ten or ten-jack, you can get paid off if you hit it or if you do not, and the board comes blank slow; you are going to get your opponent thievery off the hand by bluffing into it or taking them off the better hand.
Rick Rahim:Rhett, I have watched you play and I have played with you a lot and in one of my favorite hands, I watched you on TV play in a very big cash game where basically you kind of bluffed, but the way it went down was, there was a lot of people calling pre-flop. You decided to get in there with suited connectors and you just - you did not have a hand to raise with , so you did not really raise but it was interesting to me that several people at the table, comment, "oh! Rhett is in a hand - watch out." And the way the flop came down, it gave you both a straight draw a flush draw. So while you still had pretty much nothing, with two cards to come, the percentage was very-very likely that you would make a big hand. And one or two poker players continued to bet and call and interesting thing to me was that you just continued to call and I understand that because you had not made a hand yet but you felt like if you did make the hand, you get paid off, when you made the hand and you bet. Interestingly in that hand that happened on the turn and the river, you never caught up, meaning, your straight and your flush, neither one ever came but I saw you take down a master pot because the guy that had initially done all the betting and the guy that was calling him - they did it again, they bet and called but not huge amounts because I think they were scared of you. You put in a big raise on the river, when you missed, you had nothing. You behaved like a seven high but you managed to get the two of them to fold and I think it is because they believed you had made a very-very big hand and you basically bluffed them and I saw you win a big pot.
Rhett Butler:Bluffing is the perception that the other - your opponent has that you have the better hand and if you can actually make them believe that you have the better hand - generally when you bet, you win the pot. So you are taking the risk sometimes of getting called and losing but if you can win based on, the pot, one out of three or four times, it generally pays to take a shot every now-and-then. But it is all - how do you feel, what is the perception of yourself at the table and what do you think the person is going to do in that spot, it's reading the player when to bluff. Rick Rahim:So, take it from the pearl - it works and certainly Rhett has won a lot of money over the years doing it but remember this folks, if you do not bluff during poker, and you do not put money into the pot, you also can not lose it.