Point - NO
By Sean Lind
In a game in which, theoretically, you can play forever at no cost (assuming you're able to play well enough to collect a minimum of the blinds once an orbit), I cannot think of a scenario where you would need to make a naked bluff.
Cash games have two qualities that greatly affect both game play and avenues of profitability:
A) You can rebuy indefinitely.
B) Small blind-to-stack ratio allows for a conservative playing style.
In a game where you can afford to wait for aces, all day if you please, you can always find a spot to put your money in when you're very confident you're ahead, rather than having to suss out a coin flip or worse.
Bluffing is part of poker, with the semi-bluff being a staple for every serious player. A true semi-bluff is made with a high expectation of winning the hand outright. If you do get a call, all is not lost holding a draw to the best hand.
A naked bluff is simply a show of impatience or lack of discipline. The only argument I can see someone making for a naked bluff is advertising - that is, trying to enforce a more active table image by being active with junk holdings.
This argument holds no water with me, in that you can achieve the same table image by making a semi-bluff or another play with the same end result. Examples of such other plays: defending your blinds, or taking down pots with free junk hands from the blinds.
After a couple hours, or even a couple minutes for some players, your opponents will have forgotten your position in the hand, only remembering the end result with the cards you held.
If you make multiple late-position pre-flop semi-bluffs, with high-end marginal holdings, you are making bluffs assuming the other players will fold to you. If they don't, you have a very decent chance at holding the best hand.
If table image is your big concern, you should know that it's not a matter of what you play, but how you're playing it. As a good player you should be able to use marginal hands as break-even endeavors, allowing you to be very active if need be. It's up to you which cards you show, both "accidently" and intentionally.
CounterPoint - YES
By Dan Skolovy
When you think of a bluff, it's usually a naked bluff that comes to mind… namely, a play at the pot with nothing - no pair, no draw, nothing.
It's a stone-cold move. You have zero chance to win if called. It's one of the boldest acts in poker. But is it ever actually correct to actually do it in a cash game?
I for one believe that there's definitely a time and a place for a naked bluff. Sure; you can't just bluff it up every hand with nothing, but there are certainly situations where the naked bluff can be correct.
Of course betting with nothing should be done very rarely - there are only certain situations where it can be profitable. You need to have not only the right position, but the right board and the right opponent.
Straight or Flush Draws
One example of when a naked bluff may be correct is if you are drawing to a straight or a flush and you miss on the river. The only way to win the pot is to make a bluff at it. Now this move is fairly transparent but under the right circumstances it will succeed, especially if you put your opponent on a draw as well.
Another great situation to find yourself in when you get that itch to bluff is if you have a supernitty player on your right. There are a few ways to bluff a nit.
Nits are tight by nature and thus it is very easy to move them off hands. You can call their raises pre-flop and then take pots off of them when they check an uncooperative board. Additionally, you can call their flop bets and then bluff at flush scare cards or straight scare cards. Nits always look for a reason to fold, so don't be afraid to give them one.
The Floater, and Whom to Use It Against
One of the best examples of a naked bluff is the floater bet. This move can be done with absolutely anything, hand or not. So yes, it does count as a naked bluff.
If your opponent is aggressive pre-flop, that means he's raising a high percentage of hands, a lot of them weak. Most players will fire a continuation bet and then give up when called. What you can do is call these players' raises, call the flop bet, wait until they check the turn and then bet and steal the pot. Victory again with no cards!
In the same vein, if you're playing with an ultra-aggressive player and find yourself getting into constant three-bet battles, a good way to counteract her aggression is to play back at her.
Obviously the best way to do that is with cards. However, you're not always going to have them. So what you can do, since you know she's three-betting light, is call her three-bet and then either donk the flop with nothing or check-raise the flop with nothing. Because she's going to have air a good percentage of the time you'll find yourself taking down your fair share of pots with squadoosh.
So yes, there are times when a naked bluff is right in No-Limit Hold'em. As with the majority of poker strategies, it's not something you can just do all the time and hope to win. If you make a habit out of bluffing you're going to eventually find yourself penniless.
However, if you use it sparsely as just one move in an arsenal of many, the naked bluff can be a bold play that will earn you some pots you have no right to win.
For example, if you steal the blinds pre-flop by raising with pocket eights, you can "accidentally" flash the bottom eight to players across from you as you fold. They see you raising with an eight in your hand, and know that you're not holding out for only the top five hands, even though you actually had the best hand at the table.
No matter what game you're playing, or who you're playing with, you can always afford to wait for the hands where you have an edge. It is never necessary to naked-bluff in any game. In fact, naked-bluffing just opens up the door to you losing some serious coin if your tactic goes down in flames.