The art of bluffing in poker: win by bluffing your opponents

The art of bluffing in poker: win by bluffing your opponents

If you are one of those, who start 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!

How to bluff in poker? Preliminary considerations

These are some of the previous considerations valid for most bluff poker games:

  • We only have one opponent: Or at least as few opponents at the table as possible. The more opponents, the better the chance that one of them won’t get trapped.
  • Detecting weakness: Don’t bluff like a madman. For a bluff to be effective, you must see a flaw in your opponent’s hand reading. If he has raised before, don’t try. Can he hide his monster with a call? Yes, but bluffing in poker involves risk, that’s all.
  • The bet must be commensurate with the size of the pot. If you want to take a small pot, a small bluff will do. If there are 1000 chips in the bank, don’t expect to take it with a 100 chip bet. 2/3 or ¾ is usually okay… don’t go over-bet!
  • Bluff with a measure. To be able to bluff in poker with maximum guarantees, you must have respect at the table. Playing few hands gives you two points for bluffing. Winning a showdown provides you three. And if you get caught bluffing, your respect is multiplied by 0.

Not all bluffs in poker are the same: half-bluffs

The range of possibilities for bluffing in poker is extensive. 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 we intend 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 following 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.

Not a bluff or a reverse bluff

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 beneficial to play AA, AK, or KK from preflop.

The usual bluff: constant deception

It’s an excellent 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. This poker bluff aims 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 bank with a bad hand, so of course, it is difficult.

Another mistake could be cornering after a soft play and an isolated solid bet. This beginner’s mistake 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 confident player in his hand, which is inconsistent with our bluff. Remember… value your remaining chips and stay alive at the poker table!

Bonus: Bluff hunter’s hand

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 hold your opponent’s bluff.

This hand, like the triple bluff from the previous point, requires serenity, courage, and good hand reading, as well as the ability to resist pressure. And a reverse bluff involves knowledge of how to hold with a monster in hand, while a half-bluff requires knowledge of poker odds. All of this involves poker experience, i.e., making mistakes and learning from them.

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