You are required to incorporate bluffing into your game if you expect to win a lot of money playing poker. In this article we will outline when to bluff and when not to bluff to prevent you from making stupid bluffs.
Under the right circumstances, bluffing in poker when you do not have a made hand can be immensely profitable, in an attempt to try and make a your opponents fold a better hand. However, it’s very important that you get it right because if it’s not executed correctly when certain conditions are not met, then it can very easily turn into spewing a lot of money at the table.
A poker bluffing strategy consists of two forms. An outright bluff is when you don’t have a made hand or a draw that is likely to make you a winning hand, the only way to win the pot in this situation is to make your opponent fold. Pure bluffs should be used sparingly, as you have no outs to improve your hand if called. You should rarely bluff when you have no equity to win the hand. Obviously, you should only try it when your reads tell you that you can expect a fold.
Semi bluffing is when you bet out or raise with a drawing hand, thus making it possible to win the pot even if your opponents call and you hit your draw.
Understand that in the fishy low limit games the opportunities to bluff are few and far between. The reason for this is because the players at low limits are not capable of folding even if they have a weaker hand, so you shouldn’t be looking to bluff them. The main strategy to make money at low limit tables is to value bet, you shouldn’t be looking to bluff much.
In order for a poker bluffing strategy to be work well, realize that your bluffs are only likely to succeed against few opponents, preferably one or two, and against tight players who are capable of finding the fold button. In loose games when a whole bunch of players see the flop you will rarely isolate against one or two opponents.
To be able to make a successful bluff against an opponent he has to play reasonably well. If you are against an opponent that calls or raises with anything, you will simply not be able to make her fold.
So, you should never bluff really bad players who are calling stations, against them you need to get a winning hand to make money. Most beginning players bluff too much, because they invested money in the pot and want to win it even if they don’t hit something good. Don’t make this novice mistake.
Under the following circumstances you may consider poker bluffing:
– When you are against few opponents, preferably one, not more than three.
– The opponents have indicated weakness (ie. checked to you). Be careful against tricky opponents that often slowplay and checkraise though.
– The cards on the board has the potential to scare your opponent(s) to think that you have a good hand. For example if you raise before the blinds with K10, the big blind calls and an ace flops, your opponent might fold to a bet because he is afraid that you have an ace.
On the other hand, if you find you are in a situation like the following, you should probably not try bluffing:
– When you are up against many opponents. The ideal situation is to bluff when you are heads-up.
– When you are up against one or more opponents that will call or raise you with very weak hands. You would be spewing money if you try to bluff a bad loose player.
– When your opponents have reasons to believe that you are a frequent bluffer, for example if you have been caught bluffing multiple times before. Always consider your table image.
A solid poker bluffing strategy will always take into consideration the number and type of opponents, the cards on the boards, as well as the pot size compared to the bet you risk, before you decide to make a bluff. Do not bluff by default just because the other players have checked to you.