In the game of poker, bluffing is a common action that refers to deceiving other players about a hand, whether good or bad. To be successful with bluffing, you need to know how and when to bluff and special techniques to determine when other players are bluffing. With playing poker, the amount of money and way in which you place your bet is based on your hand in addition to the hands of the other players. For this reason, learning the art of bluffing can provide you with a huge advantage over other players.
The most important thing is to establish a reputation for yourself that you play fair. Therefore, if you do bluff, this will cause other players to question whether they should judge you. Now remember that bluffing on occasion is not a bad decision but playing your best cards is what will build your reputation. For this reason, keep in mind that there is a time and place for clever deception and it should always be done discreetly.
The key to being a good bluffer is to bluff only good players, never average or bad players. Now, that might have surprised you a little but the reason is that good players are the ones that will lay their cards down first, giving you a better chance of winning. The poker player that expects to win on only good hands would probably do, better playing a different game. Although bluffing is not the only element to winning, it is definitely an important one.
Each time you bluff, it is crucial that you maintain your behavior as if you were playing with a winning hand. A good rule to play by is that you should base your bluffing on the pot odds. Typically, when a player bluffs, they anticipate folding a minimum of one hand. However, if there is no fold, then the bluff failed and you have been exposed. The more money in the pot, the less likely a player is to fold because they have more to gain by playing while with a small pot, your bluff will fold more hands. Therefore, do not waste a bluff on a large pot.
Another important consideration when it comes to bluffing is the number of players at your table. Obviously, bluffing one player is easy, but bluffing two or more is an almost impossible task. Maintain a mindset that you are trying to make other players leave the game, letting them believe that you have a better hand.
Now, let us talk about the frequency of a bluff. To determine how much bluffing is too much, consider the table you are playing as well as how other players will perceive you. For instance, if you were playing at a loose table, you want to bluff less often than if you were playing a tight table. Additionally, if the high bets do not make players nervous enough to back out of a hand you should reduce the number and frequency of your bluff. Be flexible, making assessments and adjustments about bluffing per game.
Okay, if you find another player bluffing excessively, you could use that against him or her to your own advantage just as other players could use your excessive bluffing against you. Bluffing occasionally creates an image of doubt. Therefore, if caught with a minor bluff, do not stress about it. On the other hand, if you bluff and no one notices, never tell. Remember, a simple bluff is just enough to plant a spark of doubt in the other players’ mind, which is a benefit for your game.
When it comes to reading other players, watch for what is often referred to as a “tell”. This is anything that would give away the player’s intentions or feelings. In most cases, novice players tend to be more dramatic and often try too hard to act as though they have a good or bad hand. For example, a beginner may jump up with excitement about a perceived good hand or hit his or her fist on the table, demonstrating being dealt a bad hand.
Once you have established yourself at a poker table, be a good observer, meaning listen consistently to comments made in association with the shown hand or watch physical reactions. Always appear as though you are ignoring other players when in fact, you are watching from the corner of your eye and listening to everything word spoken. Most of all, have fun, play smart, and bluff wisely!