Sometimes in poker, you have a big hand. Sometimes you don’t. But not having the best hand doesn’t automatically make you a loser. If you are able to convince other players that your hand is better than it really is, you can bluff your way to victory. If you can master the art of bluffing, you will have a valuable tool that can help you increase your winnings. Here are some pointers for successful bluffing.
o Bluff when the board indicates that someone could “probably” have a good hand. For example, if three cards of the same suit are on the board, someone can hold a fourth card, giving them a flush. If you bet like you that someone, you are probably convincing other players that you are. If you can do that, other players will fold, and you will win the poker hand.
o If it’s obvious that other players are looking for an excuse to fold, place a big enough bet to give them the reason they’re looking for.
o Pay attention to the betting habits of other players. A novice player may bluff too often. Experienced players may be hard to figure out, but these are players that really need to be watched closely.
o Wait before you bluff. If your front player folds, checks or calls, you have a better idea of what their hand might be then if you try to bluff early.
o Do not bluff a loose table unless all loose players have folded. In general, though, loose players tend to play more hands and stay with weaker hands. Bluffing works best at tight tables where players are more likely to fold.
o Use caution when bluffing if you are playing with weak or inexperienced players. These players may not pay attention to the bluff and will not notice that you are acting like you have a strong hand. They may stay in just because they don’t see what you’re doing.
o It is much more likely that someone will bully you if the table limits are high. At low limit tables, there is not much advantage to bluffing as it is very likely that someone will take a chance and bluff you.
o Use common bluffing scenarios to your advantage but be careful that the strong players at the table don’t see and turn things against you. For example, it is a pre-flop final position and two players are following you. your hands don’t look good but others have folded so far. If you bluff here, the two remaining players are likely to think you have a good hand.
o Don’t bluff too much. other players who are watching you will not continue to fall for it. Of course, if you have a good hand after a successful bluff, you have an advantage because other players may think you are bluffing again when you are not.
o Do not bet with patterns. other players will find out if they pay attention. Find a strategy that will keep other players guessing.
To be a good poker player, you have to be good at bluffing. It will take some practice, trial and error since bluffing is an art, not a science. By varying your approach, you can make it the most effective. Once you have mastered the art of bluffing, you will have a winning edge that can lead to huge profits.