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Deception in Poker

The game of poker will always boil down to a few simple choices: fold, check, raise, bet, or call. 

The approach that a beginner should take when playing Omaha poker would be to check or fold when they have a weak hand, and call, bet, or raise when they have a strong hand. But as your game advances you will find that this simple strategy will often lose you value.

Imagine that you have just been dealt pocket aces and the flop is dry and ace-high. By betting, you are likely to force your opponents to fold, because you have the deck crushed with your top set. 

So, theoretically, by betting when you have the deck crushed, you are forcing your opponent to fold when you really want them to call. So, how do you find a caller in this situation? The answer lies in deception.

David Sklansky created a notion called The Fundamental Theorem of Poker: “Every time opponents play a hand differently from the way they would have if they could see your cards, you gain, and every time they play a hand the same way they would have played it if they could see all your cards, you lose.”

Going back to our set of aces - and applying Sklansky’s theory - means we are giving our opponent an easy decision whilst costing us value. 

You need to create scenarios that allow your opponents to make mistakes, and the best way to do this is to be deceptive. So, in the case of the crushed deck, it would probably be best to check in the hope your opponent hits a weaker hand on the turn, or tries to bluff on a later street.

Last Updated 18 April 2014
Deception in Poker

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