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Poker Bluffing Guide: When and How to Bluff

April 19, 2020 146 0
Poker Bluffing Guide: When and How to Bluff

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What Is a Poker Bluff?

A poker bluff is when you make a raise or bet to make your opponent(s) fold a better hand than you. That helps you win the pot by default in the process. Players can always make a bluff during a game, but the best poker players do it at the perfect time.

Knowing the best time to bluff requires a specific, learnable bluffing skill set that will aid players in maximizing their expected value (EV). Perfect timing also helps them profit the most through bluffing. This dense guide will equip you with all the knowledge necessary to master the art of bluffing.

How to Bluff in Poker

It takes an aggressive player to bluff in poker. More often than not, the aggressive players are the winning players. There are two ways of winning pots. Either they hold the best hand at showdown or others folds to their raise or bet, then they get the pot without contention.

That said, it is not about utilizing blind aggression. Instead, that is meticulously picked and used at the perfect time. Below are nine things you can look at before a hand even starts on whether or not you should consider bluffing—as well as at what frequency—if the next hand merits it.

Gameplay Dynamics at Your Table

With the right dynamics at your table (chip stacks, position, player types, etc.), it will be easier to determine at which frequency you must bluff if you are employing an exploitative.

Stakes

Bluffing at micro stakes is more difficult since players are usually more call-happy, and you may profit here with an exploitative approach. As you move up and begin necessitating some more balance than usual in your ranges, bluffing has to be a more regular part of your poker gameplay.

Your Image

If you have been too aggressive and/or caught bluffing recently, it is advisable to bluff less frequently and value bet more. That is because your opponents will remember that and might be readier to call you down.

Number of Players in the Hand

With more players in the hand, the less likely you must bluff due to the possibility that somebody has at least a piece of it.

The Images and Tendencies of Your Opponents

If your opponents call every time, that means bluffing is a no-no. Similarly, you should be bluffing the most against players who overfold.

Find Poker Tells

It is easy to determine the way you should play when you are aware of the holding of your opponent, or at least the strength of their hand, resulting from a poker tell they may have. During a session, stay vigilant to spot anything you can get from the players at your table.

Conceal Your Poker Tells

Becoming more familiar with poker tells is helpful. It will equip you with an understanding of what to look for to aid you in hiding your tells at the table. That plays a vital role in improving the success rate of your bluffs.

Bankroll Considerations

When you are properly bankrolled, you will feel ease in following-through with a well-timed bluff at the tables, rather than avoiding pulling the trigger due to fear of loss.

Game Type

Of course, your strategy should depend on the type of game you are playing. Bluffing in deep stack cash gameplay necessitates understanding and utilization of various bluffing concepts than in short stack, later-stage tournament play. Moreover, which kinds of bluffs to do in each will also differ to a degree.

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How to Spot a Bluff in Poker

When you have a better idea regarding the strength of your opponent’s hand, it will be easier to know how to play against them. Spotting any tells they may have will boost your hand-reading abilities, hence enabling you to determine if an opponent is strong or weak. Here are some sneaky ways to determine if your opponent is bluffing.

Body Language

Anything from a tap of the foot to a head nod may indicate a poker bluff. Eye movements are possible bluffing tell. The old saying “the eyes are the window to the soul” has withstood the test of time for a reason. This explains why a lot of players wear sunglasses at the table. If your opponents decide against the shades, look into their eyes and trust your gut.

Another clue towards successfully calling a bluff is the jugular vein. Some players wear coats with high collars or turtlenecks to conceal this tell. These are physical signs of nervousness. Meaning, they likely hold a strong hand and are edgy of better cards appearing.

Bet Sizing

The amount in which a player wagers may give away their hand or hint at what they are holding. Think of it as a typical bully behavior. A bully will try to intimidate you, knowing that they are vulnerable. As a player, you have to actively target aggressive and loose players, since statistically, they are more likely to bluff.

Bet Positioning

When playing poker, late positioning is more advantageous. Your position at the table determines whether you will bluff on a hand, play a hand, and/or go all in. Late positioning gives you more chances to bluff.

Bet Timing

It is important to be observant of the timing of your opponents’ bets. When someone is taking too long or not much time at all to act, then that may indicate a bluff. An instant bet may signify a weak hand or a strong hand.

A player with a strong hand is likely to try to maximize their value. That can take some time to calculate. Betting quickly is a sign of confidence. If your opponent is trying to communicate to you how strong they are, it is likely the opposite.

Can I Win at Poker Without Bluffing?

Truth be told, you can win at poker without bluffing. Interestingly, most big winning poker players hardly bluff. That is particularly true if you play online poker. Televised poker tends to alter your view of the game by selecting a lot of huge bluffs to showcase. However, it is still helpful to incorporate at least a few bluffs into your game plan to obtain the maximum winnings possible.

How Often Should I Bluff in Poker?

There is no accurate answer to this because it all depends. When it comes to bluffing in Texas Hold’em or other poker variants, you have to evaluate every situation before deciding whether or not to bluff.

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Playing Poker in Vietnam

While gambling is illegal in Vietnam, poker is well ingrained in its gambling culture at present. The Vietnamese government does not take any actions to block online poker sites nor prevent locals from playing on them. Meaning, players who are up for it can play at will.

Vietnam boasts a superb roster of professional poker players. These include Men “The Master” Nguyen, Scotty Nguyen, and several other successful players as well as competent online players. Several high-profile players have left the country to pursue their poker careers overseas. Vietnamese poker players admire them.

Online poker is extremely popular in Vietnam. Vietnamese players cannot enter legal poker rooms in the country, but online poker sites will surely accept them. However, it can be quite challenging to move money in and out of online poker sites. Nonetheless, you can turn to Vietnamese online wallets.

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