Poker Tactics: Bluffing
Poker Tactics: Bluffing
Bluffing in poker, refers to tricking your opponent into thinking you have a better hand than you actually have. This can be an extremely valuable skill to have on the poker table, but it takes practice before you can truly bluff like a pro.
Whether you should bluff or not is a complex topic and must be taken on a hand by hand basis but I’ll go through some general tips to give you a heads up and help improve your game.
Firstly, it really has to depend on what you think your opponent has. If they have an extremely strong hand, they’re unlikely to fold and will just call your bluff. Big mistake.
You also need to take into account whether they’re a tight or loose player. Tight players will be quicker to fold as they have a more conservative approach to playing, however you also have to bear in mind a tight player is also likely to have a strong hand anyway so may call your bluff.
Another thing to ask yourself is, is your bluff plausible and goes along with your “story”? If you have checked all the way through the flop, turn, and then you go all in on the river when a 2 of spades goes down, is that really convincing? Not really. You have to always think about the story, for example, if there’s 2 hearts on the flop and another heart appears on the turn, you could raise highly and it would be quite plausible that you could have a flush in their eyes based on those decisions.
Finally, I’d say take into consideration whether it’s worth the risk of bluffing in the moment. Going all in with nothing on the river when there’s hardly anything in the pot and you’re unsure if it’s going to even work is obviously a bad call. But, if you’re on the button and everyone has checked previous to you, maybe throw in a raise and it’s likely they’d fold. Games with an ante are conducive to playing slightly looser and working in more bluffs because you have more of a reward for doing so.
Overall, bluffing is a very complex tactic and will always be inherently risky. I’d advise against most new players bluffing as it can often go against you, unless you know exactly what you’re doing. If you do want to bluff, maybe go for semi-bluffs where you’ve got some decent outs that could improve your hand anyway.
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