Launch better bluffs in no limit Texas hold’em poker

Let us say that a minimum stack player has raised from UTG to 4bb with a 17bb stack in no limit Texas hold’em poker. It is then folded around to you on the button and you hold the 4c-4d. In this instance then what I call the “pivot point” has been passed because your opponent will likely commit the rest of their stack only having 13bb left. So bluffing and raising for the other reasons that a solid deep stack reg raises for are absent here and the best play is to fold.

Looking for maximum bluffing effect

In any no limit Texas hold’em cash game you should always be on the lookout for bluffing opportunities. If a different player with a 100bb had made that same raise to 4bb then they are still far short of their pivot point even if they had raised with the same hand as the minimum stack player. The 4bb in this instance represents only 4% of their stack while in the previous example it was nearly 25% of their stack.

So we can call the raise from the deep stack player much better than we can call the raise from the minimum stack player if we have a hand that is speculative in no limit Texas hold’em like suited connectors for example.

Simple common sense

Much of what the “pivot point” discusses is simple common sense. For example most players know not to three bet a 17bb min-stack player with 10-9s who has just made it 4bb to go. But where the concept of the pivot point can be helpful is in where it exists with deep stacked players. If a player looks to commit more than 25% of their stack either pre-flop or on the flop then the chances are greatly increased that they will commit all of it.

Don’t be afraid to bluff raise

Let us say that your aggressive opponent made it 3.5bb to go and you called on the button with the 10d-9d. The pot was 8.5bb and both of you have 100bb stacks before the hand begins. The flop comes Jd-8c-4s and your opponent c-bets for 6bb. In this example in no limit Texas hold’em then our opponent has only risked 9.5bb or 9.5% of their pre-flop stack.

So it is clear that the pivot point has still not been reached and despite putting 9.5% of their stack in the middle then no player is going to risk the remaining 90% without good reason unless they are a maniac or a novice. So you can raise here and get a ton of fold equity.

Raising the turn

Let us say that you call on the flop and this makes the pot around 20bb. The turn card doesn’t complete your straight and your opponent barrels for 14bb which makes their investment in this pot around 23.5bb. They are close to the pivot point but they have a reason to be there because our line has been passive. In no limit Texas hold’em then it is often better to wait until the next street before pulling the trigger in order to extract more value.