Bluffing is a poker skill. It relies on putting a fake mask on your face, which is known as “Poker Face”, to mislead your opponents to think that you hold a hand you don’t really have. Poker bluffing can be put to use in various ways: you can imitate facial features that would express anger or happiness, you can move anxiously in your seat to make your opponents think you have a crappy hand when in fact you hold a Flush and you just want to lure them into your trap and the list goes on and on.
Poker lacking bluffing is a dead-end game, without bluffing players would have never dared to risk money and no would have enjoyed it. It would have simply turned into another card game.
A good bluff consists of many elements, when they are combined they present a genuine bluff, one that would earn you the pot with only a low pair. Some of the bluffing elements are the numbers of players you play against, their type, knowing them and “reading” them correctly, the number of stakes, the face-up cards on the board, your position in the table, the image you present to other players and so on.
Position – A late position in a hand is the most favorable option you can gain when you want to bluff your way to the pot. Since you are last to place your bets you have the time to calculate your moves, you can examine carefully your opponents’ moves and see who of them would draw if you would place a big bet. If all along the table players merely check or call you then you can safely raise and bluff, but if someone re-raise you then think hard if you can bluff against this player, perhaps he got a very good hand and he’s not going to let go. Perhaps he is bluffing as well; you must “read” your opponents good to know what to do in such cases as this one.
Reading your Opponents – In order to go “all the way” with a bluff, you must read your opponents well. Reading opponents means that you know what kind of hand he holds. You don’t have to know precisely what he has; you can only know the type of his hand – a pair, trip and so on. This kind of information would help you to adjust your bluffing techniques to fit the players you play against. Also, if you can “read” players and you know how they play you’ll have little surprises along the way.
Number of Players – It effects your bluffing since the more players in the round the more money there is in the pot, and the more money there is the chance for players to fold decrease significantly. Also, the more players in the round the more chances there are for one of them to hold a stronger hand than yours.
Poker Players Types – In order to bluff you must take under consideration the player types that sit at the table. There are many types of players and all of them react differently to all kinds of situations. Against an aggressive poker player bluffing is not useful since this player type would go “head to head” against you over the pot. Also, don’t try bluffing in a poker game with novice players. Such players are likely to call and raise you with any hand they hold. Against good poker players, you have better chances to use poker bluffing techniques.
The Stakes – The bigger the pot is the less chance you have to bluff your way and gain it. High stakes draw players to play and one of them is likely to have a better hand than yours, it is even very likely that they would bluff too and a “bluffing war” would take place and who knows who would win? There’s no point in bluffing if you don’t have a fair chance to succeed.
Poker Image – bluffing takes a lot of decisiveness and a great part of it comes from your image at the poker table. Working on your improve your bluffing skills. For example, if you dress in a strict manner, without any accessories at all, then players would think of you as a serious poker player that plays for years. They wouldn’t think you’d bluff in order to gain the pot. But if you do the opposite and you would wear fancy clothes then players would see you as a serious poker player, they’ll put you as a “fun player” without any poker strategy that likes to bluff and earns money by it. Your image is affected by your speech, clothes, hairstyle and numerous other factors so you should invest time to upgrade your image.
Cards on the Table – The more cards on the table the more your opponents know, the more they know – the less you can bluff. That’s why bluffing works very good during the early stages of each round. If you want to bluff then make sure you do it from the start before there are too many cards on the table that would limit your bluffing abilities.
Take notice that bluffing can be used not only to win with a lousy hand but it can help you win bigger pots with good hands. You can bluff that you’ve got nothing and players would be glad to raise their bets round after round only later to find out that you actually hold a winning hand. That’s bluffing in its best, use it wisely and it would help you to enlarge your bankroll game after game.…