How to Bluff in Poker

Bluffing adds flavor, excitement and a unique skill to be learned and feared in the game of poker. If poker were all math theory, then winning players would simply be mathematicians which is not the case.

Bluffing in Poker

Some players (not very many), never bluff. When you figure them out, playing against them is quite easy. Knowing when to hold’em and knowing when to fold’em is much easier against a predictable player. Other players however, bluff all the time. You have to call a majority of the time as long as you are holding any marginal hand. You know that they may get lucky once in a while, but in the long haul, you will win far more money from them by calling.

Different Types of Bluffs

Lets observe different types of bluffs and think about their purposes:

  • Betting or raising with nothing: This bluff description is the definition most people would give when they are asked – What is bluffing in poker? With this technique of course, you bet like you have a big hand, although you have nothing.
  • Betting or raising when the price is right: Sometimes a player wants to see a free card later on in the hand when betting could be potentially expensive. An early bet could cause your opponent to tighten up with caution and you may see more cards inexpensively.
  • A Semi-Bluff bet: A semi-bluff is usually a drawing bluff. You don’t currently have the best hand, but think there’s a reasonable chance of making the best hand the next round. A semi-bluff gives a player an edge with two ways to win. It may cause the opponent to fold, thinking his hand is beat. The other way simply involves the opponent calling and then you catch the card you were looking for and take down the pot.

Bluffing Tips

Consider these tips the next time you think about bluffing as an option of play:

  • Maintain your image: You know how you’re supposed to play the game and you should consistently make correct choices in line with positive expectations. If you do this, bluffing will be more effective as players will see you as a tight, selective, yet aggressive player.
  • Don’t bluff just to advertise: Bluff if you think you have a good chance of pulling it off with success. You’ll get plenty of opportunities to advertise when your bluffs get picked of by someone who calls.
  • Don’t bluff bad players or great players: A poor player will usually not consider any factors such as positive expectation or the way you played the hand. They will usually just call to keep you honest. An expert player is more likely to see through your attempts to steal the pot.
  • No more than two opponents: Unless you have strong reason to believe you can bluff more than two opponents, this is not a wise choice. Most of the time, with more than two players to big a chance that one of them has a good enough hand to consider calling.
  • Represent specific hands: If you’re bluff represents a strong hand such as a flush or a straight, you have a much better chance to take down the pot than with a bluff that appears from no where.
  • You don’t always have to take down the pot: Unless you’re risking all your chips on a bluff, it only has to work some of the time to be the right choice. Even if your caught a bluff will have a positive effect in that it can cause opponents to call when you’re betting a monster hand.
  • Late position bluff: Sometimes you can bluff out opponents who checked a previous betting round. You’re chances to win are gone if a card appears and helps one of your opponents.
  • Pick on weak players: Plain and simple, pick on tight, weak players once in a while.

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