How to bluff effectively in poker

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Jeffrey | Poker Strategy

If there is one thing that everyone, even non-poker players know about the game of poker, it’s that bluffing is a part of the game. Indeed, so widely is this known that the concept of bluffing has spread beyond the game and into everyday life. People who want a pay rise at work will tell their boss that they have offers from other companies when it may or may not be true. They are challenging their employer to call their bluff or to part with some extra cash to keep the employee around. And so when you’re looking for poker sites at, you’ll have in mind that you are going to need to bluff yourself as part of a poker strategy at some point.

The key thing about bluffing is that, while we understand it as being a necessary part of poker, it’s not especially well understood by non-players and new players. Everyone knows bluffing exists. Everyone knows it is done to give a player an advantage. But it should be thought of as being like the Turbocharger in a drag racer. You can use it and it will give you a boost. But if you keep pressing that button, you’ll exhaust the turbo, and if you use it at the wrong time it can affect your ability to drive an effective race. So while it is important to know that you can bluff, it is more important to know when and how you should.

Don’t bluff much when you’re new to the game

If you’re a relative novice in poker, then bluffing isn’t a great idea most of the time. The reason for this is that successful bluffing takes account of how the other players behave more than anything else. The main reason to bluff is to make your opponents fold, and this is something that you will become more adept at judging over time. In early games, you should bet and play primarily according to the strength of your hand. This will help you learn the signs that opponents are uncomfortable, and also how they perceive you.

Bluff to a rhythm

One of the most effective ways to bluff in poker is to use it to build up an image at the table. It is a psychological tool, and if you can win the psychological battle you will win the poker game more often than not. One skilful way to use the bluff is to repeatedly do it for several hands in a row until you get a really good hand. If your opponents get an image of you as someone who bluffs indiscriminately even when you have a bad hand, they’ll bet more aggressively in the belief that they can take your money. So when you get a good hand and play it perfectly straight, they’ll toss more chips in and lose them when the call comes.

Bluff more aggressively if you can sell the idea you have a good hand

The other players at a table can tell how likely it is that you have good cards, because they know what they have and they can see how others are betting. If you’re trying to create the image that you have a full house or something similarly powerful, it will help immensely if you’re holding at least some of the cards that make that likely. If you bluff hard in a game where your cards are absolutely rotten, there’s a very good chance one of your opponents actually has that better hand and will know you’re bluffing. Folding on a bad hand isn’t a sign of weakness, it’s a way to lend credibility to your actions later on.

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