How to Bluff to Success in Hold’em Poker
No poker player can win his/her way to the pot without bluffing. In other words, poker success is almost impossible for players who haven’t learned the art of bluffing. The strategy of bluffing in poker can be defined as behaving in such a manner that opponents believe you have a better hand than you actually have.
The value of a bluff depends on when it is made. Poker players cannot bluff just for the fun of it; they need to study the gaming situation and analyse it well before they can make a bluff that truly works.
The following is a short bluffer’s guide to Texas Hold’em Poker.
- Never bluff when there are too many players around
Bluffing works best when there aren’t too many players at the table. The only problem is that too many players know this, owing to which a player who bluffs during the last phases of the game may not succeed unless he/she bluffs really well. Beginners must remember that their bluff can cost them a lot if nobody falls for it. They, therefore, need to study their opponents and the gaming situation really well before using this strategy.
- Bluff tight players, but carefully
Players who employ a tight style of play are the easiest to bluff. However, the bluffer must remember that tight players are often the smartest. An ideal strategy would be to bluff during the early stages of the game, and if the tight opponent remains unmoved, it generally means that he/she has a very good hand and doesn’t want to give it up.
- Bluffing should be scarce on the River
Most of the players would have folded their hands by now, and only two types of players remain playing—the ones who stick on with the hopes of winning the pot and the ones who really have a good hand. A player who has a weak hand can try bluffing under these circumstances as it will force at least a few players left standing to fold.
- Bluff on high-stakes and no-limit Hold’em games
Bluffing is too valuable a strategy to waste on the low-stakes tables because it works only when there is a lot of money at stake.
- Late position bluffing
A player who is in late position often has a greater advantage over the other players at the table. He/she gets the chance to make a move only after viewing and analysing the moves of the other players. If none of their opponents have raised, players in the late position can try a bluff, but again it should be a really good bluff otherwise a smart opponent will see through it.
- Bluffing on mediocre flops
Most players hardly think twice before folding on mediocre flops, but a smart player can actually use the gaming situation to his/her situation. But players should first determine if bluffing is really necessary in this situation.
- Taking advantage of opponents’ weak areas
A good time to bluff would be when opponents are short-stacked. They would be already concerned about their short stack and would swallow the bluff hook, line, and sinker.
- Be calm
Bluffing in Texas Hold’em Poker is all about facial expressions. An expert bluffer never gets excited when he/she has a good hand, but remains calm and unperturbed. Players must remember that they are being closely watched by their opponents, and the minute they show through the slightest twitch of their facial muscles that they have got a good hand, the opponents are going to use it to their advantage.
- Develop that poker face
All poker players must develop the poker face that is devoid of all expressions or only those expressions that they want other players to see. The slightest change in opponents’ facial expressions can tell smart players a lot about the nature of the cards they hold and smart players can definitely use this information to their advantage.
- Body language is also important
The way one twitches, stretches, sighs, moves from one side to the other, rests one’s elbow on the table, and so on and so forth reveals a lot of information about the type of cards one holds. If players do not want their opponents to analyse their body language, they should maintain complete control over their bodies.