The Art of Bluffing in Poker: What it is and How it Works?
Bluffing! A skill that every Poker enthusiast wants to master.
You might have heard or read about bluffing a hundred times, but do you know what it actually is?
Bluffing is one of the most interesting yet complex strategies to implement at a Poker game table which is used when the only way to win the pot is making other players fold their hands.
Poker is an unpredictable game and it is not possible to have the best cards every hand you play. To win with an average hand that has no chance of winning, the player needs to ‘bluff’ which is convincing others that you are holding the strongest hand with the intention to make them lay their cards down. When you bet/raise and your opponent folds- your bluff is successful. Although risky, it is the most rewarding Poker strategy which every player must learn how to implement.
It is true that some players are never bluff and some players bluff too much. Their conservative gameplay makes them predictable and an easy target for experienced players. Irrespective of whether you play offline or online Poker, you must know when to bet/ raise, when to fold the hand, and when to bluff.
Always remember that it is not essential to bluff at every possible opportunity. Bluffing at the wrong spot can cost you dearly. Bluffing is a strategy which should be used on the basis of the situation on the table. The success of a bluff depends on the level of skills and experience of your opponents.
When you bet/raise with a draw (a hand that is not strong in value but there is a good possibility of it getting improved at turn or river), it is called a semi-bluff. The decision of whether to bluff or semi-bluff should be based on your understanding of the strength of your cards, your position, your opponents playing style.
Consider the below-mentioned factors carefully before deciding to run a bluff at an offline or online Poker table:
Type of opponent
A bluff is called successful only if it manages to make the opponent throw away his cards. For example – A ‘calling station’ player never folds his cards once he enters the pot, so there is a high probability that your bluff will fail against him. Also, if the opponent is an amateur who likes to call every other bet just for the thrill of it, you bluff most likely will not work. That is why it is important to study the opponent’s past records, betting style, favorite hands and pick up tells before making the decision to bluff. You need to learn how to exploit your opponent’s playing style in order to steal the pot. A heads-up game is the best to pull off a bluff, as it is easy to make one opponent think you have a better hand than him rather than in a game with two or more opponents.
Your position at the game table plays an important role in the success of your bluff as it gives you the opportunity to observe the actions of your opponent and find weak spots in his gameplay. Late position is considered the best position to attempt a bluff as you can see other players making their moves and predict the strength of their hand. For example – If they are limping, you can bet aggressively to make them fold.
If you are a player who plays tight (play only strong hands and folds very often), your bluff will always receive respect from your opponent. If you play loose (plays lots of hands) your bluff will get caught easily. If you are a novice player, it is best to not try to bluff as experienced players can easily read you out.
Don’t become a habitual bluffer. Be versatile, be unpredictable, and never take unnecessary risks. Don’t bluff too often and try different styles to play to make sure your bluff never get called.