posted on June 02, 2010 08:08
Bluffing is an integral part of poker. If you are unable to pull off a bluff then you will not be successful at poker, it is as simple as that. One of the best set of advanced poker tips I
had the fortune of learning all revolved around making the perfect bluff and they have stood me in good stead so I will reproduce them here.
When you make a bluff you are essentially attempting to tell a story to your online poker opponents that your hand is much stronger than it is in reality. If your opponents are to believe this story, and therefore fold their hand, your bluff has to be not only believable but also consistent with the hand you are trying to represent.
Before you attempt a bluff a number of specifics need to be in place for it to stand a chance of getting through. One of the most important factors is your own image at the table. Your bluff is much more likely to succeed if you have been playing tight or have only gone to showdown with solid hands in the past few orbits. If the opposite is true you will often find yourself being called extremely lightly or even raised out of the pot as your bluff will look exactly like a bluff.
The amount you bet when you are bluffing, and indeed betting with a strong hand, should offer your opponents unfavourable odds otherwise, like the example above, you will be called lightly and your chances of bluffing successfully will be massively diminished. If your bluff amount means your opponent is receiving good pot odds to continue then you are simply giving your money away.
You also need to make sure that your betting actions are the same as they would be if you had the hand you are trying to represent. Imagine you have raised preflop with a pair of eights and get one caller. The flop comes down 2-6-9 and you make a continuation bet and are called. Now the turn is an Ace, you could fire again representing a hand such as Ace-King and unless your opponent has an ace they will find it difficult to call. However, if you had simply limped into the pot and made a bet on the flop, it would be difficult to bet again when the aces arrives as you would have been more likely to have raised preflop holding a good ace.
A good spot to bluff is if you put your opponent on a busted draw of some kind. Flush draws are easier to read as a typical opponent will check/call bets when there are two of a suit on the flop or river and if the third suit does not come on the river they will check again. Now would be a good time to bet with almost any holding as unless your opponent has been playing a different hand a very strange way, or has managed to pair one of their holecards whilst chasing their flush, they will be hard pressed to call a significant bet on the river.
Above all, before you attempt to bluff ensure your opponent is capable of folding hands. Amateur players will look you up with a wide assortment of hands so reserve your bluffing for those players who are capable of hand reading and letting go of marginal hands.