One of the world’s best poker players, Tom Dwan, met up with Paul recently to play a few hands and talk about the game.
It’s part of our “In Conversation” series where Paul chats to some of the best Texas Holdem players in the world. In this video, Tom and Paul discuss the art of “trapping” in poker.
One of the things you hear discussed most in the poker world is bluffing. When to do it, how often, with how many chips, which player does it the most? All sorts of questions commonly asked on this site by players starting out in poker. But what about its opposite counterpart, trapping? You never really hear it discussed much at all.
With bluffing, you are trying to convince your opponent that you have good cards when in fact you don’t. The means — making big or emphatic bets to give the impression you are confident in your hand. The end game – to scare them away from the hand so you can take the pot for yourself. Trapping an opponent in Texas Holdem poker is the opposite. Here, the aim is to persuade your opponent that they aren’t in fact very good, that you are only barely staying on in the hand more out of hope than expectation. The reality, though, is you have a hand that is very strong. So the aim is to get as many opponents to stay in the poker hand so you can win money from a player who has a habit of betting aggressively. There are lots of ways to do it. Perhaps you might come across as uncertain, or you play slowly and cautiously, perhaps you only play with small bets at the beginning of the hand. Paul Phua doesn’t always recommend this though because keeping lots of players in the hand can sometimes blow up in your face after the flop when your opponents’ bad hands can turn into good ones.