In poker, the importance of a strong hand can never be overstated. However, if you want to become a successful poker player, you can’t solely rely on always drawing a good hand. You’ll need to learn some other poker strategies, as they can help take your play to the next level.
One of the oldest and most effective poker strategies is the art of bluffing. If you’ve ever watched a professional poker game live or on TV, you’ll see how well these pros bluff and the edge it gives them over their opponents. The good thing is that you too can learn how to bluff. It doesn’t take much, just the right knowledge and proper practice.
Luckily, we are here to help. We’ll be sharing some tips and strategies to help you master the art of bluffing when playing at US online poker sites. If you’re also looking for the best site to enjoy poker, check out this list of the best poker rooms for US players provided by Top10PokerSites for the best options.
What’s Bluffing in Poker and Why is it Important?
To better explain the concept, let’s give you an illustration. Imagine a player who is very reserved and only ever bets when they are certain their hand is strong. Over time, you begin to notice this pattern, and it becomes easy to beat this player.
A little ambiguity is needed in poker, as it’s very important that your opponents have little to no idea about your current state. In poker, bluffing refers to the act of placing or raising a bet on a hand that’s not necessarily a great hand. The main objective is to trick your opponents into folding their better hands.
Bluffing is important because it adds a layer of unpredictability to a player’s game and can also be a vital winning tool.
Types of Bluffs and Knowing When To Use Them
These are the different types of bluffs and how you can use them.
Continuation Bet: This is the most common type of bluff and is done when a player places a bet after their initial raise during the flop phase, even when they don’t have a strong hand. It’s a small bluff and mostly two-thirds the pot flop bet, but when done right can be very effective.
Bet Sizing: The size of your bet can also be bluff. This is especially helpful when you are against novice opponents who are new to pot odds calculations. Placing heavier or lesser bets can falsify the image of your hands to your opponents.
Semi Bluff: With the semi bluff, it’s 50-50. This involves playing assertively with a hand when there’s a half chance of winning or losing.
Tips To Help You Master the Art
Bluffing is indeed an art, and like any art form, you’ll need proper practice to master it. Here are some tips to know before you start bluffing in poker.
- Know When To Bluff
The best bluffers are those that know the right time to do it. In fact, bluffing too much can be dangerous to your play as you’ll become too easy to read. Remember that one of the main reasons poker players bluff is to maintain unpredictability. If your opponents know you as someone who bluffs at the slightest chance, you’ll become easy to predict.
- Take Small Steps
As a beginner, you’ll want to start small and build up as you gain experience. Bluffing is not a surefire technique that’ll work every time. In fact, unless you’re really good, most of your bluffs will be called out. So it’s better not to risk big amounts in case the play doesn’t go in your favor.
- Focus on One Player at a Time
Poker can be very intense, and while it’s advisable to always watch all your opponents closely, you’ll be better off focusing on one. At the start of the game, identify the weak player or the non-confident one and let them be the focus of your bluff. Bluffing one player at a time will give you more results than trying to bluff everybody.
- Stay Calm, Even After a Successful Bluff
Bluffing is mental warfare, and after a successful bluff, it’s common to want to brag and smile about it. However, it’s important you learn to keep your emotions in check. When you brag, you create resentment from the other players and make them more wary of you. Over time, it’ll become difficult for you to bluff them.
The Bottom Line
Poker is one of the few casino games that incorporates both skill and luck into its gameplay. With the right strategy in poker, you can grow from a small pot player to one of the best in the world. One of the oldest and most effective poker strategies is bluffing. Here, we covered the art of bluffing and tips to help you master it.