Being able to “trap” your opponent in poker is a seriously potent tactic.
It allows you to lure the other player into a false sense of security, and ultimately take a large chunk of their cash, or even knock them out of the game.
Trapping takes mental strength, and most importantly patience. It’s quite easy to get excited when you have a good hand, and you don’t want to give away your position of power by raising too early.
Knowing when to fold is also significant in this too, as you can easily be caught out if you try and play on a weak deal.
The idea is that a player with a strong hand either checks or bets quite weakly.
As the round progresses, the hope is that the opponent will fold to a raise bet, or bet more aggressively to build the cash pot.
In order for this method to be effective, the pot has to be relatively small at the start, and the cards on the Flop have to give an opponent a chance at a decent hand so they will stay in play.
Also, having the knowledge to raise when necessary or stay passive and check is key.
We’ve compiled a list of our top five traps set out by professional poker players, and you can watch below as their rivals squirm after realising they’ve been played:
5. Daniel Negreanu vs Mike Matusow
This time, Pocket Kings are used as part of the trap, as Dan Negreanu schools Mike Matusow to perfection.
Matusow holds an Ace and an 8, and despite the Flop not being kind to any of the four players in the game with two 6s and a 7, he bets $800.
Two of the others elect to fold at that point, and Negreanu stalls before calling.
Already in command, the Turn reveals another King, giving Negreanu a Full House and making him the certain victor.
However, Matusow chooses to bet $1,200, clearly assuming from the apparent reluctance of the last call that his opponent is feeling rather weak.
And when an Ace comes up on the River, he ups his bet by a further $2,000, holding Two Pair.
Unknowingly, he has been well and truly trapped by Negreanu, who goes all in with $10,000 knowing he can’t possibly lose.
Matusow calls, and contributes to a total pot of $27,200 for Negreanu.
4. Phil Ivey vs Tony G
This demonstrates how important it is to know when to bet passively during a trap, expertly executed by Phil Ivey.
Tony G is once again suckered in, after betting $2,700 on the Big Blind, with an Ace and a King up his sleeve.
Unfortunately for him, Ivey possesses Pocket 4s and calls him, while the other three players decide to fold.
The Flop is perfect for Ivey as it gives him Three of a Kind, while Tony G’s position with a Pair of Aces helps him with the trap, so he chooses to bet by $5,000.
This is where Tony G falls for the ploy, as he raises the stakes to $15,000, which is immediately called.
When a Queen appears on the Turn, Ivey knows he cannot possibly lose, and after he bets again his opponent decides to go all-in.
Obviously, Ivey calls this and takes the pot up to $101,300. Once the cards are flipped, Tony G leaves the table and is visibly annoyed with himself.
3. Patrik Antonius vs Tony G
Thanks to an unbelievable stroke of luck on the Flop, Patrik Antonius managed to defeat Tony G’s Pocket Kings and take a six-figure sum off him to boot.
Tony G immediately raises to $30,000 at the start, and Antonius is the only player to call him, holding an Ace and 4.
His judgement is instantly rewarded in stunning style, getting a Full House from the Flop with two more Aces and a 4, guaranteeing him victory.
Here is where the trap is laid. Antonius chooses to check on the Turn and the River instead of betting, and with Tony G holding a Two Pair of Aces and Kings, he is inclined to raise the stakes by $40,000.
As soon as Antonius responds by raising to $170,000, Tony G knows the game is up, and you can even hear him say “I’m trapped.”
Despite realising he’s been played, Tony G calls to take the pot to $407,000, resulting in a huge win for Antonius.
2. Tom Dwan vs Sandor Demjan
Though Dwan doesn’t win as much as Antonius did in the previous clip, this is just a prime example of textbook trapping.
He got billionaire Sandor Demjan to fall for his tactic with an incredible hand at the Aussie Millions Poker Championship.
Demjan pulls Pocket Jacks initially, and he tries to lay a trap by only calling the $4,000 stake, as Dwan holds an Ace and a 5.
Two more Aces appear in the Flop to put Dwan in the driving seat, though his opponent thinks he is in command with Two Pair, and bets a further $9,000.
When a 5 comes up on the Turn, Dwan has a Full House, and though he could blow Demjan out of the water with a big raise when he checks, he cleverly follows suit.
Incredibly, an Ace is pulled on the River, and suddenly he has Four of a Kind. Demjar bets an extra $25,000 as he believes his full house is enough to win.
He has ultimately fallen hook, line and sinker though, and when Dwan raises to $50,000 he realises he’s been played, losing out on a pot of $131,200.
1. Bill Klein vs Phil Hellmuth
By far the biggest win on the list, Bill Klein manages to take Phil Hellmuth to the cleaners in brilliant style.
Both players start with $500,000 bets, Klein holding a 6 and King compared to Hellmuth’s 6 and 8.
Two more Kings come up on the Flop, leaving him with Three of a Kind, while the 7 doesn’t help Hellmuth, though that doesn’t stop him betting $350,000.
Klein is obviously only too happy to call that, and when the Turn unveils an 8, Hellmuth believes he is in business with Two Pair, adding an extra $600,000 to the pot.
This is matched once more, but when a fourth King is delivered by the River, Hellmuth has no idea how much trouble he is in, even though he has a Full House.
Hellmuth bets a further $600,000, but with the trap and Four of a Kind well and truly in place, Klein raises to an astonishing $2,600,000.
The pot reaches a massive $8,050,000 when the raise is called, and Klein smirks knowing that he pulled off an excellent plan, thanks to one of the best hands in the game.