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Get a clear understanding of the all in bluff.

All in bluff

No matter what poker games you like best, if you are playing a no limit game, the option of going all in is always available to you. However, it is an option that most players use incorrectly during poker tournaments, and as a result they often find themselves eliminated quickly. Make sure to avoid these two mistakes when you go all in.

The mentality that many players have is that going "all in" means everyone is going to back down, but that is really not the case. You cannot get away with every bluff simply because you are going all in, eventually you will get called and lose.

Because of the accessibility and popularity of online poker, millions of players play poker online and have access to all sorts of card tournaments, and facing an all in bet is common nowadays. This is because the all in move is being overused, and more importantly it is being used for the wrong reasons.

Bet sizing

The first concept about betting is that players need to bet in relation to the pot size. So for example, if everyone starts with $1500 in chips and you are involved in a $300 pot with one opponent and you want to create the impression of strength, you can accomplish that with a pot size bet. The difference between this bet and the all in bet is that you are not actually putting your tournament life on the line. If you bet the size of the pot ($300) as opposed to putting all your chips in, the message you are giving to your opponent is the same. You are saying "I'm strong buddy. Call me if you dare!"

Of course, you may or may not be strong, that's not the point. What matters is the perception others have of you, and of your hand. The unnecessary risk here is to go all in when you are weak. While the message you are giving out is the same, if your read of the opponent is completely off and you are in fact dominated, losing $300 but living to fight another day is much better than loosing it all.

If you want to indicate strength when you are not that strong, make your bet half the pot size, or even the pot size. There is absolutely no point in betting more than the pot size, because that just looks suspicious, and also it puts you at great risk.

Do not bluff a pot committed opponent

The other common mistake players make is when they try to bluff a pot committed opponent with an all-in raise. Pot committed means he already has most of his chips in the pot and is pretty much forced to call any bet. Don't think you can bluff a pot committed opponent on a regular basis, because generally it just doesn't work.

When you are learning to play poker, remember to put yourself in the shoes of the other player. For instance, imaging how a player running low on chips would play a hand. If you are facing such an opponent and you have no hand, minimize your losses by checking instead of raising, and see what the opponent does. You may in fact be giving up the hand, but sometimes this is really your best option. There are some pots that simply cannot be "stolen" and if you are involved in one of them, you may lose a lot of chips. Know when you're beat and fold early. Avoid going all in on a bluff when an opponent already has invested 3/4 of his stack because you will not make them fold.

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