If you are one of those who starts playing poker, attracted by the epic nature of the popular card game, one of the tricks that will catch your attention is bluffing in poker. A bold and hardy player bets all his chips in an attempt to bluff his opponent, and the opponent succumbs to his tricks and ends up losing all the chips he had in play.
But unfortunately, we don’t live in a movie, and in poker, being good at bluffing is a much bigger task than being brave. To bluff in poker and cheat your opponents, you need to command respect, be able to read their moves, control all hand development… and yes: be brave!
These are some of the previous considerations, valid for most bluff poker games:
The range of possibilities for bluffing in poker is very wide. Having a relatively good hand and pretending it’s excellent is not the same as hiding a monster (a kind of bluff, but in the opposite direction).
A half-bluff in poker is technically considered a bluff because our intention is to force our opponent to fold. We don’t want to show our cards, we want to take the pot now, but if we get a call, we haven’t lost because there is still a turn and/or a river. What does that mean? We have a draw or high card, so we have a chance to win the hand. With a half-bluff, you can win your opponents’ hand by default or by tying your game with the next community card. However, if they respond with a raise or all-in… learn to value your remaining chips and fold! It’s better to keep playing.
It may not be a bluff from the movies, but it is just as effective, if not more so. Think about it… You make a big bet, and your opponent hesitantly calls. After the flop and the turn. He doesn’t fold. On the river you check and he bets. You call (if you don’t fold) and he shows you the full house he already had on the flop. Now imagine that in this reverse bluff you are not the victim, but the executioner.
It consists of hiding a spectacular hand with a very hesitant check-call to hide the potential you have on the table. In heads-up play, it can be very useful to play AA, AK or KK from preflop.
It’s a good old-fashioned bluff. What does it consist of? In general terms, we bluff our opponents throughout the entire hand. To do this, we must convince ourselves from the start that we have a good hand, and play, for example, 2-6, as if it were AK. The goal of this poker bluff is to make it as difficult as possible for your opponent to read your hand.
In this advanced poker strategy, you must follow the cues at all times. There can be two main mistakes in this regard: getting scared before the first call, or starting bluffing late. Rarely does a bluffer in poker win the pot on the first raise. If so, we also win very little. Is it risky? You are trying to take the pot with a bad hand, so of course it is risky.
Another mistake could be cornering after a weak play and a strong isolated bet. This is a beginner’s mistake that could cost us dearly, as the hand readings we get won’t match the overbet. Finally, we should avoid bluffing if we get outbid. If they respond to a raise with another bet, we are dealing with a player who is confident in his hand, which is inconsistent with our bluff. Remember… value your remaining chips and stay alive at the poker table!
This hand will only help you if you think your opponent is bluffing or hasn’t got the combination he was looking for and wants to take your investment. To play a bluff hunter in poker, you have to read your hands very well, otherwise you’ll get scalded.
A practical example: you have K5, and on the table is T58 J 3. You think your opponent was looking for a straight or a flush, but they didn’t come. Here you have a bluff hunter, and you can use it to secure the pot or to hold your opponent’s bluff.
This hand, like the triple bluff from the previous point, requires equanimity, courage and good hand reading, as well as the ability to resist pressure. And a reverse bluff requires knowledge of how to hold with a monster in hand, while a half-bluff requires knowledge of poker odds. All of this requires poker experience, i.e. making mistakes and learning from them.