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In the book of Bill Chen, "The mathematics of poker", there is a formula to calculate the right frequency of a bluff action.

The formula has been calculated in a simplified version of poker.

Even further, in his poker lessons at MIT, Will Ma states that most players bluff too much or don't bluff enough.

How can we know the right frequency of a bluff action in real poker?

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I don't believe there are any formula about bluff action. – Soner Gönül Jan 16 '13 at 16:32
@SonerGönül A "bluff" frequency calculation is just a weighted equity calculation where you would manipulate the folding frequency of the opponent to figure out if your action was +EV. So, yes, there is a formula. – Toby Booth Jan 16 '13 at 16:35

2 Answers 2

up vote 5 down vote accepted

The correct bluffing frequency is a subjective measure. It all depends on the perceived probability that your opponent will call your bluff, and the estimated equity you have at that moment, whichever street you're on.

Similar to the question How Do I Calculate EV Of Shoving..., you can work out how often bluffing would be a profitable play by manipulating the times you think your opponent would fold. Of course, you're bluffing so you'd prefer them not to call or raise!

  • Jeffrey Blakes answer here gives a detailed breakdown of the equation to do this, using mathematical formula.

  • My answer here uses the same process but I decided to take a semantic look, and put it into plainer language.

In each instance, you are looking to manipulate the first section of each formula. The part where your opponent folds. This has a subsequent effect on how often you assume your opponent will call, described in the latter part of the formula.

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There really isnt a correct frequency to bluffing. Its all dependant on the reads you have on the players around you. If you think you can get a lot of bluffs through to steal pots, then do it. If however the table is quite loose and call with a wide range then you should not bluff as much.

I guess if you keep getting caught bluffing then you are doing it too much. If you never get caught you arent bluffing enough.

Also it can be a good thing to get caught bluffing in certain situations as it can set you up to win a big pot later on when you make a similar move but this time with a monster.

Position is also key. If you are out of position then bluffing is a bad idea. If you are in good position such as on the button, you can pretty much play any two cards you like.

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