• August 1, 2021

How to Bluff in a Poker Game

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Bluffing is one of the key elements of poker and what makes it such a great game. If in every game of poker, every player knew every other players’ cards, the best hand would always win. What fun is that? But the fact that poker is a game of imperfect, incomplete information makes it possible to win just by representing that you have the best hand — and getting the other players to believe you. That’s what it means to bluff.
In it’s simplest terms, to bluff 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 winning player.
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It’s easy to win when you get dealt aces every hand, but the odds are against that. In order to be a profitable player, you’ll need to be able to win even with inferior cards.
On the other hand, if you bluff too much and in the wrong situations, you’ll also be a losing player, so balance is important.
There are 2 major kinds of bluffs:
Pure bluff — When a player makes a pure bluff, he bets or raises with a bad hand that has little to no chance of improving. For example, if in five-card draw, a player has nothing but a king-high and raises, hoping everyone will fold.
Semi-bluff — When a player bets on a hand that is probably not the best hand at the moment, but has a chance of improving later in the hand, it is called a semi-bluff. For example, if a player has 4 cards to a straight or flush in Texas Hold’em on the flop and bets, that’s a semi-bluff.
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Understand the stakes. Bluffing can go wrong and cause you to lose a lot of money and possibly face! By betting money into a pot that you know you’re not necessarily going to win, you’re taking a big risk. On the other hand, sometimes opportunity strikes and seems so winnable, and the other players so “bluffable”, that it’s worth the risk. It is worth understanding from the outset that bluffing is a lot less common than shown in the movies; in most cases, you do need to have good cards
Understand how to read the tells. “Tells” are important – they’re the analyzing side of playing poker. Not only does a good knowledge of tells tell when someone else is bluffing, knowing common signs of bluffing will help you to try and avoid your own unconscious giveaway signs. And listen to other’s advice about when they consider you’re bluffing; being consciously aware of your subconscious tells can be used to your advantage by forcing the “bluff” tells when you want someone to think you’re bluffing but you’re not!
Develop the proverbial poker face. Keen instincts and sharp intellect must be combined with the ability to show no emotion, or reveal nothing other than casual involvement in the game. Look at your cards casually. Don’t give away any information and keep your face as expressionless as stone. Avoid expressing disappointment at seeing bad cards – this is crucial if you’re playing face to face.
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.
Bet, or raise someone else’s bet, in the first round of betting, before the flop. Do not bet too much, and don’t raise an already large bet. If you think someone else actually has a great to play another hand.
Make a check, if it’s available, either after the flop or turn. Make a reasonable bet in the other round. 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. It takes guts to carry out a good bluff, but if it’s done right it will work.
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. The best feeling in poker is catching someone on a bluff and taking down a large pot with a bluff of your own.
Remember that the most important aspect is to tell a story with your bet. No matter how much advice you’ve followed from this article, an ill-timed river bet will not tell a cohesive story on its own.
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Steve Carr

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