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Checking a very strong hand in order to lure your opponents into a trap is the flip side of betting a hopeless hand. A reverse bluff , when it works, will cause your opponent to do the betting for you. In fact, he will generally be wed to his hand until you snap him off with a well-timed checkraise.


No one did this better than Johnny Chan; and no one did it under more daunting circumstances. Read on, and see how Johnny Chan reverse-bluffed Erik Seidel at the World Series of Poker. It was a big, gutsy bluff. But the rewards were big too: a second consecutive world championship.


Famous Bluffs: Johnny Chan versus Erik Seidel Togel


In this “reverse” bluff, Johnny Chan bluffed Erik Seidel into thinking he held the best hand, lured him into betting, and won a $1,600,000 pot during the final stages of the 1988 World Series of Poker.


Chan had won the World Series the previous year and had been on a roll ever since. Here he was 12 months later, with a chance to win back-to-back titles. But he’d need some magic to accomplish it. Seidel, a former commodities broker from New York City left Wall Street for the life of a professional poker player, and now he had a big chip lead on the defending champ.


At this point in the tournament, the blinds were $10,000 and $20,000. Chan called Seidel’s big blind, making the pot $40,000. The flop was Qª10¨8¨. Seidel bet $50,000. Chan called. The turn card was a complete blank, and both men checked. The fifth and final card was another blank. Chan checked.


Seidel held a queen in his hand, giving him top pair, albeit with a weak kicker. He thought for a moment that Chan might have a queen with a better kicker. But by checking on the turn and on the river Chan passed up his final chance to bet! Seidel then Togel pushed all of his chips into the center of the table, certainly a sizable enough bet to cause Chan to release any slightly better hand in the event that Seidel had misread him. Seidel thought his all-in bet would prevent Chan from calling with hands such as a queen with a better kicker, or two small pair.


Seidel had, in fact, misread Chan. And not by a little, but by a lot. Chan smiled as he turned over his hand. Johnny Chan had flopped a straight with the J§9§.


Had Chan not bluffed, more than likely Seidel would have folded in the face of a bet from his adversary on the turn or the river. But Chan did bluff. In fact, he did it twice, once on the turn and again on the river and he reaped a handsome reward: his second consecutive World Championship.




In most instances, acting last ¾ after you’ve had a chance to see what your opponents do ¾ is a big advantage. But when you’re bluffing it’s often advantageous to act first.


If your opponent checks and you bet, he’s likely to realize that you are trying to take advantage of the fact that he’s shown weakness. As a result, he is more prone to call ¾ or even raise, if he’s a very aggressive player ¾ with marginal hands.


But betting from first position conveys the image that you really do have a strong hand. After all, you are betting into someone who could have a really powerful hand. Your opponent, of course, will realize that and be more willing to release a marginal hand than he would be if you bet following his check.