The essence of all draw games is that every card dealt to or drawn by online players is hidden from everyone else at the table. As a result, games of draw are much more likely to feature bluffs than corresponding stud games, where many of the cards can be seen by all the players. Deuce to Seven Triple Draw is no exception to this phenomenon, as you will have any number of opportunities to allow your opponents to come to the wrong conclusion about what you are holding. This article will focus on bluffing in Deuce to Seven Triple Draw, and will give you another weapon in your arsenal to use in becoming profitable in this game.
As with bluffing in any game, you need to strike a balance with how frequently you attempt it. If you never bluff, it is unlikely that you will get the kind of action you want when you finally hit a big hand. However, if you bluff too often, your table image will suffer to the point where you will no longer be able to bluff at all, as the other players will automatically call you down with less than premium hands, knowing it is likely that you are just making a play at the pot.
Most bluffs in Deuce to Seven Triple Draw involve getting your opponent to think that you have a made pat hand when in fact you have no such thing. There are a variety of situations that arise that create opportunities for this type of play.
Let’s take a look at some of them:
One of the classic situations for running a bluff is when you have been dealt or have drawn most of the deuces in the deck. As you should know from reading some of the other articles on PokerWorks, deuces have incredible power in this game, since it is impossible to make a seven-low hand without one. For example, you come to the second draw and have seen all four deuces, and have a hand such as 2-2-2-3-4, you can often take the pot down by simply standing pat and betting out after the draw, since you know that your opponents are going to have a hard time making anything that will challenge your “pat” hand.
Another time it pays to stand pat is for a positional bluff on the third draw. Let’s say that you and your opponent each drew one card on the second draw, and you have position on him. He checks. What do you do? Since you know that it is likely that he missed his draw, one way to play the hand is to bet out, and if he calls, stand pat. Then, if he checks again after the third draw, you bet out once more, hoping that he mucks his hand. If he makes a jack high or worse, he will almost always give the hand up, and you will take the pot. Notice that this play gives you the opportunity to win the hand two different ways: 1) If he folds to your bet before the third draw, or 2) If he folds after your bet at the end. Unless you are playing against a very loose player (in which case you should be hesitant to make this move), you will win one of these two ways most of the time.
If you are going to run a pat hand bluff, you are better off avoiding standing pat before the first draw, as most players will be very suspicious of such a play. It is almost always better to draw one on the first draw, and then stand pat, which creates a much more believable scenario. Be aware that if you stand pat right away, players are more likely to put you on a rough nine or even a 10-low, and will be more eager to draw against you, thinking they can beat you by the end.
In addition to using the presence of a number of deuces in your hand to power a bluff, you can also do the same with either a combination of deuces and sevens, or sometimes with other low cards that pair your hand, but which are now unavailable for your opponents to draw. As always, know your opponents well enough to be aware of who will keep drawing to the bitter end, and who will fold if they don’t hit on the first two draws.
Just as you will use the presence of low cards that pair your hand to trigger most of these plays, you want to avoid running bluffs when you are dealt and/or draw high cards. The reason for this should be obvious: If you were dealt high cards, then it increases the likelihood that your opponent was dealt low ones. Bluffing in this situation is almost an invitation to the other players to pick you off. If you stick to bluffing in the situations described above, you will arrive at a properly low percentage of bluffs that will have less chance of being exposed and a better opportunity to take down pots without showdowns.
If you find that bluffing isn’t your style, keep in mind it is absolutely essential that, if you are going to be a winning online poker player, you find it within yourself to commit larceny from time to time, stealing pots that really belong to others by representing a hand that you simply don’t have. As you begin to do so, you will start to find the best possible times to pull off these heists, and you will also start to enjoy doing it more and more. Once you’ve successfully bluffed an opponent out of a pot, you will wonder why you were ever afraid of doing it, and you’ll look forward to doing it again as soon as possible.