Lately I’ve been thinking about deception in poker, and I decided to write a modest series of articles describing my take on exactly what deception means and how to play in a deceptive way.
I think if you asked people to define what it means to play poker “deceptively” I think most of them would mention something about playing opposite of your hand strength. If you have a weak hand, you play it strongly or bluff. And if you have a strong hand, you play it weakly or slowplay.
I’ve never been comfortable with that definition of deception. One reason is that many times people are at their most transparent and readable exactly when they’re trying to be their most deceptive. For example, consider this hand.
It’s a 9-handed $2-$5 no-limit hold’em game. A player opens for $20 from early position. A middle position player calls, the button calls, and both blinds call. The flop comes
Q 7 6
The blinds check, and the early position player bets $40. The middle position player calls. The button raises to $100 with $500 behind. The blinds fold, the early position player folds, and the middle position player shoves for $600.
What does the middle position player have?
Tags: bluffing, deception, deceptive play, hand ranges, Hand Reading, narrow ranges, no-limit-holdem, poker, range balancing, slowplaying, straightforward play, unbalanced ranges, wide ranges