Untitled Document Ask any pro, and they’ll say you need a lot of heart to play poker. The courage to bluff with bad cards. The guts to fold with good ones.

When it comes to bluffing, most players take one shot, and that’s it. Many pros, however, frequently take two. Or they’re at least prepared to. That’s where heart is measured.

That’s where you sell it.

And the best spot to make a move that no one can read is from a spot on the table where no one expects it.

"Early position is often a better spot to bluff, even though there are more hands behind you," said young, talented pro Erick Lindgren, whose moxie gives you an idea of how he became an all-league high school quarterback.

"When you’re playing against the best players in the world and you raise in late position, they know most often you don’t have a hand, and they know you’re using your position to your advantage."

Lindgren makes his point with a hand from a World Series of Poker event when he drew 3-4 of hearts in early position and came out raising.

"It’s not a hand I would play in late position because they’d know I was stealing," said Lindgren, who won two World Poker Tour events last season. "So, I tried to steal up front.

"I had a tight image at the table, so, I need to take advantage of that a little and you need to do that in tournaments."

One advantage of making this move from early position is that if you can get heads-up against one of the blinds, you have position on that player for the rest of the hand.

Lindgren got just that when action folded around to the small blind, who called. The flop came 9-2-2. The small blind checked, Lindgren bet, and the small blind called.

The turn came a Q of hearts. The small blind checked again, Lindgren bet again – understand, he still had nothing – and the small blind folded.

"I was able to represent that I had a good solid hand in front," Lindgren said. "You have to be able to fire at least two shots. I’m not saying you always have to fire two shots, but if you can fire two shots, it makes it a lot tougher to call. That’s a big no-limit technique that people use."


Early Position: Generally considered the first two or three players after the blinds.

The Blinds: Bets posted before the cards are dealt to ensure action in each hand. The small blind is the first player to the left of the rotating dealer button and must post chips equal to half the minimum bet at the table. The big blind is one seat to the left of the small blind and must post chips equal to the minimum bet.

© 2005, Chicago Tribune.

Distributed by Knight Ridder/Tribune Information Services.