What is a ‘Trapper’?
‘Trapper’ is a poker phrase used to describe a player who bluffs on strong hands in order to attract more bets to the pot. It can also refer to a player who ‘sets a trap’ for the table by misleading opponents regarding their skill level and their real style of play. Being caught by a ‘trapper’ implies that this reverse bluff was successful.
In the casino, players can play the game straight by betting according to the hands they receive – that is, to bet high on a strong hand, low on an average one, and to drop out with a bad one. However, they can also bet in a way that suggests their cards fall into one of those brackets, when the reality is different. This is just one form of ‘bluff’ that a poker player can make.
Bluffing often happens when a player has weak cards to begin, but they hope to draw better – or when they hope to make other players fold so their weak hand has a chance. Despite the risk, players might bet high and hope that their situation improves, or that they are successful in convincing the table that they have a strong hand to play. However, bluffing can also work the other way – a player can hold an excellent hand, yet choose to bet low.
This is known as ‘trapping’, and a player who does it is a ‘trapper’. The trap is created when a player bets low on a good hand, thereby making other players think they have a chance of winning. Those players will hopefully bet on their own hands, rather than being put off, and the pot will get bigger as a result. Too many players folding early means that the good hand will not win as much as it could have, which is why the ‘trapper’ holds back their bets.