Let us say that you have a situation in no limit hold’em where you have a hand like Q-J on the river and you would like to bluff at the pot after the board has come 10-10-6-4-2.
It is heads up and the action has gone check-check on both the flop and turn betting rounds. The river card hasn’t helped you and you feel that your queen high isn’t big enough to win the pot and so you decide to bluff the river.
There are 8bb in the pot but the key feature here isn’t whether you should bet or not (although checking is fine for Meta reasons) but how much you should bet.
Let us say that both you and your opponent have 100bb……clearly an all-in shove of 100bb would be a very poor play although it would work a high percentage of the time.
You will only get called by hands that you are losing to but a crazy bet like that looks so wacky to your opponent that they could even do something that they wouldn’t have done had you bet less and look you up with mediocre pairs simply because your bet looks so odd.
A bet of 1bb is also wrong as this gives your opponent 9/1 on their call and they can call with even ace high for two reasons.
What Your Poker Opponent Thinks
Firstly you could be bluffing and second the poor bet sizing means that they do not have to be right all the time for the play to be profitable.
Also what if your opponent perceives your bet as a cheap stab at the pot and they raise? If they raise then this injects another complicating factor into the equation because your opponent could easily be bluff raising here.
Once again it is your strange bet sizing on the river that has opened up the possibility of such a move. So if you have to choose between bet sizes and you are not sure then lean towards betting more than less. The extra money that you bet just may tip the balance in your favour and win you the pot.