The art of bluffing in poker

Bluffing is commonly considered to be vital in a poker game, but experienced players can tell you that bluffing is not as frequently used as we think it is.

Indeed, bluffs are the salt and pepper of a poker game bringing in a lot of tension and excitement. Without them, the game would be dull and monotonous, everyone predicting precisely the others’ moves. The element of surprise and risk would be missing. On the other hand, being able to bluff requires a lot of experience and skill as it is quite a fine form of art.

Usually, a player bluffs when there is no other way to win that particular hand, or when he wants to eliminate his rivals from that hand. Bluffing is a risky move in terms of money so, before bluffing, the player weighs up the odds of winning the bluff against the probability of losing the bet that he has to commit into the pot. Of course, his chances of success improve if his bluff is credible and the others start giving up.

Below are some important points to take into consideration before making a bluff:

The type and number of your rivals
The image that you have left among the people at that table
Predicting your opponents’ moves and the board.

Let’s consider the following situations for the sake of clarity. If you play against weak players that call anything, don’t bluff! A successful bluff requires people that fold not ones that follow you blindly. As for the number of your opponents: if you try to bluff at a table with more than 3 players than your attempt may fail.

Your image at the table is another important factor. If you have a history of failed bluffs at that table and the other players know them, then there is a high probability that any further attempt to bluff will be called. In the opposite situation, you have a tight table image and nobody has caught you bluffing before. Consequently, your bets will be respected, smoothing your way into making some bluffs which will have a better chance of succeeding.

Experienced players don’t have so much trouble with bluffing as the beginners, but until you gather the necessary experience you should bluff when there are a few draws or few chances that your opponents could improve their hand. A potentially successful bluff can be done at uncoordinated boards when there is a single scare card that people assume you have. It’s a mistake to bluff when there is a big pot because your opponents can become aware that you bluff. Irrespective of the situation, you should always judge well!

Position is an extremely important factor too. Playing in position will provide you with valuable information about your opponents’ hands because you are among the last players to act and consequently you can better analyze if the situation is bluff compatible.

Another form of bluffing is the half-way bluff (also called semi-bluff), which represents a situation when your hand has chances of winning, but the bluff is kept as an option in case the chances of winning drop or disappear. This technique contributes to mixing up your play and thus confusing the others about your bluffing style.
Don’t out-bluff a bluffer or try to bluff too many players. If you pay close attention to the points mentioned above, your bluffs will have considerably higher chances of succeeding.

One Response to “The art of bluffing in poker”

  1. Casinoroom Says:

    Casino games online can be an advantage when it comes to bluffing since you cannot see the reactions of the other players. This way, you can focus on your own strategies and you can still try to bluff them with your bets.