What we mean by ‘bullet’ in this context is not an Ace (as pocket Aces are commonly called ‘bullets’). By ‘bullet’ here we mean a bet, which is usually a bluff made in your on of offline cash or idn poker online game
– By ‘first bullet’ we mean continuation bet.
– By ‘second bullet’ we mean a bet on the Turn like continuation bet.
– And by ‘third bullet’ we mean a bluff at the river.
Why do we continue to fire bullets even if we don’t have the best hand?
That’s precisely the reason. We bluff at the pot because we have nothing.
Suppose you have A-8 in a Flop of K-K-5 (no Flushes possible), we fire a continuation bet at the Flop and hope that our opponent believes we have the King and they fold. If they raise, well, it’s the end of the hand for us.
But the Flop above is a difficult board to raise with nothing. You can assume that a raiser will have a King, and usually many players who do not have it fold after someone else bets. That first bettor should be you, not anyone else.
If someone calls on the Flop above, it’s the end of the hand for us, too. If they have the Five, they have the best hand, and even if we pair one of our hole cards, there is still the lingering possibility that the caller has a King and is slow-playing it, so we slow down. The first bullet is enough.
Now, here is a situation where we can fire a second bullet.
Suppose we have 7-6 and the Flop comes 8-5-K. You are first to act so you bet. Here, you still do not have a hand, but if your opponents fold, the pot is yours.
However, if there is a caller, and the Turn does not complete your Straight, (say 8-5-K-J) you can still fire a second bullet.
Your opponent may have a King, but he may also have a mere Eight, and when the second overcard popped out, he may be feeling a bit uncertain already.
Maybe he thinks you are betting because you have a King (which you don’t have) and you continued betting to show that amid the Jack, you feel undaunted.
If you can make your opponent fold then good. However, we want to hit our Straight. If we hit our Straight, and fire a third bullet, our opponent has no clue that the last card helped us immensely!
He may interpret it as a bluff again and call. If he folds, then it’s just what we expect if he was hanging on with a weak hand. But he may have also called because he had the King all along and is now beat.
However, suppose we do not hit the Straight. We fired two bullets. Do you fire a third?
Say the river came 8-5-K-J-7. The third card made possible a potential Straight. That is one of the reasons to bluff. Make it larger – make it look authentic.
Finally, suppose the Board did not help us fully, like in a Board of J-3-7-9-2 and we have A-10.
We fired two bullets (with the pure intention of making the opponents fold) already. Shall we fire a third?
If we had A-7 in this example, we can just check-check and hope that out pair of Sevens are good in a small-pot showdown. However, if we have A-10, we should bet again.
That is the only way to win the pot. That is one of the best ways to maintain an aggressive game throughout. And, that is one of the best ways to spare us the embarrassment of checking Ace high and forcing to reveal it first.
So, hope this was useful and that it helps you get that extra edge in your next game be it a free online poker tournament or live big money event.