Bluffing - an Art

In simple terms, bluffing means to bet or raise with an inferior or weak hand. Bluffing is an essential skill for a good poker player, and it’s important to understand how and when to bluff if you want to be a winner.

However, there are some players who never bluff. After you figure out who they are, playing against them is easy. If they bet once all the cards are out, you can safely throw your hand away unless you believe that your hand is superior to theirs. If it is, you should raise. Other people are habitual bluffers. When they bet, you have to call as long as you are holding any reasonable hand. Although habitual bluffers will also make real hands every now and then, the fact that they bluff far too often makes your decision easy. By calling, you'll win far more money in the long run than you would save by folding. Following are some of the points that will definitely help you the next time you want to bluff in a poker game:

Understand the stakes of the game: It is best to bluff when the stakes are highest; bluffing works best in higher stakes because the pressure is on each player.

Understand how to read ‘tells’ of your opponents: Not only does a good knowledge of ‘tells’ convey when other players are bluffing; knowing common signs of bluffing will help you to try and avoid your own unconscious giveaway signs.

Start by counting how many players are in the hand: Your chances of successfully bluffing are greater with fewer opponents because you have fewer people to drive out of the pot. Bluffing one or two players is more profitable than bluffing three or more players.

Don’t Bluff Excessively: Do not bet too much, and don't raise an already large bet. If you think someone else actually has a good hand to play another round, just check or fold.

Make a check, if it's available, either after the flop or turn: Make a reasonable bet in the other rounds i.e. the rounds in which you aren’t bluffing. Consistent betting makes your opponents think you really have a winning hand and are trying to get as many chips out of them as you can. One needs to be brave enough to carry out a good bluff; but it will work only if it's carried out in the right manner.

Remember that the bet following the river card is the most important: This one must be powerful and intimidating. If the check comes to you, place a large bet. If a player bets in front of you, there are two things you can do. If they bet small, a significantly larger bet might push them out. However, if they make a large, bluff-like bet, your best chance would be to call and go all in.

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