Bluffing is one of the most important strategic aspects in poker. Bluffing is also something that people who do not play poker understand. It’s basically making your hand seem stronger than it actually is and following up with actions that make your opponent fold.
This is going to be a short and informative guide on how to bluff in poker and bluffing tips. There are 6 general things that you need to consider before picking your spots to bluff. Let’s take a look at each of them:
There are different types of players at a poker table. You must know which ones you can bluff and the ones you cannot. Sometimes your bluff will work against multiple players but ideally you want to be bluffing only when you’re heads-up in a hand.
You do not want to bluff someone who isn’t experienced enough to realise what you’re trying to show them with your bets and they just mindlessly make the call which turns out to be the correct decision! Yes, there are players like this. You don’t want to be bluffing someone who plays too loose or is a calling station.
As they say, it’s easier to bluff a good player than a bad player. Similarly, someone who is on tilt is not a good target to bluff. They’re already in bad shape and will call off your bluffs mindlessly and hit. Conversely, if an opponent has just won a pot, getting ready to leave or is close to even, then they might be looking to preserve their chips. This makes them an easier target to bluff.
Your own image at the table plays a vital role when it comes to bluffing in poker. You must be smart enough to know when to use it to your advantage in order to exploit your opponents. If you’re playing tight then your bluffs are most likely going to work because the players will think you’re mostly betting when you have it!
Similarly, if you’re too spewy and playing loose, people might be tempted to give you a call. So, consider what they think about you as a player before making the moves.
Also Check: How To Play Poker: A Guide For Beginners
Betting History Of The Hand
People who know bluffing and play poker know that bets are not looked at in a vacuum. They’re always part of a narrative. There are four streets of betting in poker and your line should check out when you make that bluff on the river. If you bet the river trying to tell your opponent that you’ve hit your flush but you didn’t bet the flop or the turn,
they’ll be more inclined to call you off. Here’s an example of what I mean – In a relatively tight Rs.2-5 game, your early position opponent with a deep stack raised pre-flop to Rs.20. You, also with a deep stack, called with . The flop came . Your opponent bet Rs.35 and you called. The turn was the – making the board .
Your opponent bet Rs.50 and you called. The river was the . Your opponent checked. You bet Rs.100. That story is the story of a flush draw turning into a flush when the river card hits. Your pre-river action made it look like you actually hit a flush on the river.
When you have a trash hand and you’re drawing to nothing on the river, it’s not a great spot to be bluffing unless you know that you can make your opponent fold. You must combine such spots with hands that can improve on later streets. These are called Semi-bluffs.
Here’s an example of semi-bluffing in poker – You have . The flop is . You bet. On the one hand you have nothing. If your opponent folds you win. It would be a successful bluff if that happened.
But even if he calls you have a chance of hitting a ten or a heart on the turn or river and winning that way. A semi-bluff is basically a bluff with a backup plan and it’s better than a pure bluff.
Position is very important in poker as a whole but it’s also great while bluffing. Generally, you want to see what your opponent does before deciding to bluff or not. If they check, you can go ahead and bet if you want. But if you have to check/bet then you cannot know what they might do after you. Hence, in-position bluffing >>>>> out-of-position bluffing.
In no-limit hold’em, it’s important to think about your bet sizing. It may seem to some that betting more will make an opponent fold. But that’s rarely true. You must think in terms of thresholds beyond which you do not expect your opponent to call. You want to get as close to that threshold as possible.
For example – The pot is Rs. 100. The flop has missed you. Your opponent has checked, indicating weakness. As a rule of thumb, knowing nothing else, a bet of 50% of the pot will generally be enough to get an opponent to fold if he hasn’t hit his hand and isn’t on a draw.
There’s generally no need to bet more than Rs.50 in this situation to push your opponent off of his hand. Realize, of course, that every situation is different. If you have reason to suspect that your opponent is on some kind of draw, a larger bet, perhaps one the size of the pot, may be necessary to get him to fold.
If you know your opponent to be especially tight, an even smaller bet might be sufficient – perhaps as little as Rs.25. Similarly, if your opponent is a calling station, no matter how large you bet you may not induce him to fold – meaning you shouldn’t attempt a bluff at any price.
There’s always a time and place to go for a bluff. With each hand a player gains experience and you will too. Hopefully, this blog will help you take better spots and get better at how to bluff in poker. For the latest information from the Indian Poker Industry and poker strategy blogs, keep reading India Poker News!