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Set a Trap

What is ‘Set a Trap’?

‘Set a trap’ is a casino phrase which refers to a long term bluff strategy. Players who ‘set a trap’ deliberately mislead other players about their style or their ability through early bluffs, in order to win more hands later. The phrase can also be used to describe a player who holds off on a high bet because they suspect another player will bluff, knowing that they hold the card which could expose the bluffing player.

‘Set a Trap’ Explained

The game of poker relies on psychology and on interpreting behaviour. Players try to ‘read’ their opponents and discover what sort of style they use when they play, and how much skill they have when it comes to bluffing. Bluffing in poker means to deliberately mislead the other players about how strong a hand is, either to induce fear and folding or to play down a strong hand and build the pot instead.

A player who is said to ‘set a trap’ uses a long-term bluff strategy. They mislead the other players about their skill level and their play style, opting to act in a different direction for the early rounds. Once the other players are confident that they face no real competition and start betting higher, the player who ‘set the trap’ can come out with their real strategy and take advantage of the other players in the process.

The term can also refer to a player who knows or suspects that their opponent is bluffing. If the opponent is acting like they made a pair but the play holds three of a kind in their hand, they know the bluff is false. However, they can use this information to ‘set a trap’ and encourage further betting from the opponent before their inevitable loss.