Bluffing is one the most famous of all poker concepts. A bluff is bet or raise when you have an unlikely chance of winning the pot in case you call. There is also a notion of a semi-bluff: to bet or raise when you don't have the best hand, but nevertheless you have chance to improve it to the best one.
In general, bluffing is profitable when your pot odds are better than the odds in case the other players fold. So, the most important in successful bluffing is to calculate the chances that your opponents will fold.
- The more opponents, the less are your chances to bluff successfully. Bluffs against more than three opponents are, as a rule, of no use.
- It is easier to use bluffing against experienced players, than maniac or week ones. That is because strong players can fold hands of medium value, and week players tend to call even when their hands are week, so I is hard to get them fold.
- Betting for value is when you think you have the best hand and you want to make the other people pay. Seems like what you normally do right? It kind of is but there is a difference. Sometimes the cards turn out to be really scary but your opponent is so bad that you still figure you have him beat still so you go ahead and bet anyway just to make more money.
- The greater the pot - the harder to bluff. But, on the other hand, success in bluffing with a large pot can be more profitable.
- If you are known to bluff often, or were "caught" bluffing recently, it will be hard for you to bluff. Also, if your opponents are rather "tight" players (bet and raise only with strong hands), it is easier to bluff. "Loose" (often bluffing) players, as a rule, won't give you such a possibility.
- Don't sit down at the table without a game plan of how you intend to play. Mind your level of intoxication based on how seriously you take the game. Study your opponents at every chance and develop mental player profiles as you go. Finally, know when to call, fold, or raise a bluff.
- If you can tell from the way your opponents bet or raise how strong you? opponents' hands are, you can derive from the calculation their chances to fold as well. Remember, that you may not be the only person bluffing!
- The bluff is an important part of the strategy of any poker game, though it will come into play more in some games than in others.
- In games with many betting rounds, bluff in early rounds rather than late ones. Once other players have put a lot of money into the pot, they are less likely to give up. One good play in such games is to "semi-bluff": betting a hand in an early round that probably is not the best, but that might become the best with a lucky future card. This play can win when either the bluff or the draw is successful.
- You can sometimes use your position to identify good bluffing opportunities. E.g. a wildly used bluffing opportunity it to bet in last position when everyone has checked. Another bluffing opportunity is to bet out from the blinds when all rags, cards lower than a 9, or small pair flops.
- Bluffing is more difficult on the river than on the earlier rounds of betting.