Texas Hold'em: Bluffing ♠ ♣ ♦ ♥
The goal of bluffing is to make your opponent fold a better hand than yours, so you can win the pot. It's the opposite of a value bet, in which you want your opponent to call with an inferior hand.
A common question is, how often should I bluff?
There is no definite answer to this because it depends on many different factors like, how likely is your opponent to fold? What is the board texture? Do you have a draw? There is however, a guideline that I like to use. That is, I want my opponent to be indifferent between calling and folding. You want to have a good balance between value betting and bluffing. This depends on their pot odds. For example, if my opponent is getting 3:1 pot odds to call. I should be value betting 3 times for every 1 bluff with those pot odds.
Where are good spots to bluff?
- If you are last to act, and are checked to, this can be a good spot to bluff.
- If you were the pre-flop aggressor, you can place a continuation bet(c-bet), and sometimes take down the pot uncontested.
- If you are on a straight draw or flush draw, this can be a good semi-bluff.
- An example: If you have AhJc(Ace of Hearts/Jack of Clubs), and raise pre-flop, one opponent calls. The flop comes 8h 5h 2c. You c-bet on the flop, opponent calls. The turn comes 10h. Now there are 3 Hearts on the board and you have Ah. This means your oppenent is less likely to have a heart, because of your Ace. This turn would be a decent spot to bluff because, there are no straight possibilities yet, and you have two overcards(Ace/Jack) with the nut flush draw. This is a semi-bluff. You are technically bluffing because you only have Ace high, but because your equity is good, so you can still win the hand if a Heart comes on the river, or another Ace/Jack possibly.
There are some other spots that are good to bluff, but those are some of the basic ones.
Over-bluffing Pros & Cons:
- You produce a loose table image when over bluffing. This means that opponents are more likely to call you down, which is bad when you are bluffing, and good when you are value betting. Many amateurs will over-bluff.
- You can piss off other players, haha. I've played many games loose, and sometimes playing this way can upset opponents making them play very badly, and usually over aggressive.
Under-bluffing Pros & Cons:
- Opponents will take you seriously when you make a bet or raise. This can be good and bad. Your bluffs will generally be more successful, but your value bets will usually be folded to more often. Of the two I think under-bluffing might be more profitable, although both are not optimal.
Balance is key, as with many other things. So, choose your battles wisely. ☮