Bluffing with Board Texture in Online Poker

July 12, 2016

Board texture is probably the defining concept of Texas Hold’em as the community cards determine which hands are possible and in what frequencies. Many online poker players understand board texture on a superficial matter. Board pairs make full houses possible, three suited cards make a flush possible while high cards are more likely to hit hands than low cards.

Truth is that there are many possible flops that are completely unique and offer a different mix of hand distributions. If you learn to understand these distributions better than your opponents do, then you will discover many bluffing opportunities that your opponents will miss.

Here’s an example. Compare an Ace of diamonds, 8 of clovers, 3 of clubs, to King of diamonds, 8 of clovers and 3 of spades. Let’s assume that our competitors will play 40% of hands preflop. This is a much higher number than is theoretically correct in a nine-handed full ring game.

Furthermore, a greater proportion of hits on the king-high flop are weak hits – pairs less than a king that most players will release on the turn. This means that you can fire the turn and expect your opponents to fold more often than not.

In small stakes poker games, you can often tell if it will profitable to bluff a flop and turn just by glancing at the board texture and the number of opponents. You don’t have to know much about your opponents and you don’t even have to look at your hand. That’s a power that should never be undermined.

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