Free Article 4 - Bluffing
Bluffing is an integral part of poker and is a skill that few players master. A bluff is when you make a bet to make your opponents think that you have a better hand than them, causing them to fold despite the fact you have a worse hand than them. This is a very extravagant and exciting play, which is one of the reasons why poker has become such a popular game over the years.
Bluffing has been popularised even further in the advent of TV coverage of some of the major tournaments, where you can see some of the top professional players pulling off elaborate bluffs against one another. However, these coverage shows are usually edited down, and you do not see the build up to these plays and you get the impression that the bluffs were formed on the spot, when in real fact the bluff was probably set up from hours of play in numerous hands. Therefore you can find many online players trying to pull off bluffs at inappropriate times trying to imitate what they have seen on TV, and thus losing money in the process.
A common problem amongst poker beginners is that they try to bluff far to frequently, which costs them a lot of money. You may be surprised to learn that it is not actually essential to be able to pull of successful bluffs to be a winning poker player. If you play your hands well, it is possible to come out as a winner without ever having to risk your chips in a bluff. However, bluffing will increase the amount you can win from the game if you are able to do it successfully. If you are quite new to the game, it is recommended that you avoid bluffing too frequently so that you can find your feet, and gradually find out when a bluff will be successful.
There will be times in a Texas Hold'em poker game where a bluff will be more successful than in a different situation. If your opponent is showing weakness by checking, then it more likely that you will be able to push your opponent off the hand with a decent sized bet. Subsequently, if your opponent is showing a lot of strength, then it is less likely that you will be able to run a successful bluff because they are showing a lot of interest in the hand. A very common question asked by players new to the game is “When should I bluff?” This is an incredibly general question, but there is a very simple answer to it; you should bluff when you think your opponents will fold.
The art of bluffing in poker is a skill that is acquired over months and years of play, through seeing countless numbers of hands and situations. The more poker you play, the easier it will become to find situations in which you can bluff opponents off of their hands. Bluffing is all about knowing your opponent and knowing the situation well enough to understand that a bluff may be effective. Being aware of live tells and online poker tells will also help with knowing when a bluff will be successful. This kind of knowledge does not come overnight; it simply takes practice to be gain such an understanding of the game.
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