Bluffing in poker is an act of deception intended to make your opponent fold a better hand than yours. Nowadays, with more people addressing how to focus on value and balance, and it seems harder to find articles that discuss how to bluff in poker.
However, sometimes especially in offline games, you may find yourself in a position where you need to bluff, but you are not sure if you able to do it.
So, we have provided some useful tips for poker bluffing that are widely used among professional players. Even if you are not good at bluffing, check it out and after reading it, hopefully you will have a better idea and make it part of your poker strategy.
Stealing the blind can be the first step in poker bluffing. Most players, when they think of stealing blinds, are not broad enough when selecting hands.
But the fact is, blind stealing may have lower requirements on the quality of your hands than you think. In fact, the key point of such actions is whether your opponent is playing tight, and whether he is conscious enough to protect his blind.
The next time everyone chooses to fold but you have tight players in the blinds, you can just raise.
This trick seems very simple, but it may help you win some easy pots. Don't underestimate what you get out of it because in the long run the profits add up.
Another more entry-level bluffing strategy is light 3-betting or re-raising that you use before the flop. If you find that your opponent is also using this technique and you raise again after he raises, then it is called light 4-betting.
Again, these techniques are played against those tight-handed players, especially when they raise from later positions or when they intend to steal the blind.
Very often your opponents are holding relatively weak hands under such situation. You can try to light 3-bet them with some medium-strength or even weak starting hands.
When you find someone is re-raising you light before the flop, you could have wider range of hands to raise back. The light 4-betting is even less commonly done than light 3-betting. But if you are holding AXs on hand, you could still get a good winning rate if you get called.
You may use these two tricks once in a while. They are fairly easy bluffing techniques even for novices to use against tight-handed players.
Most Texas Holdem players know that they’d probably need to continue betting after they raise. In this case, what they are holding does not necessarily have to connect with the flop. There is no need to have much relationship between their hands and the cards.
It’s most likely that no one on the table has hit anything. But most beginners don't keep betting enough or they continue betting too much.
Here is a tip for beginners: If you continue to bet in the multi-player pot, try to be relatively honest; but if you are in a heads-up, you may bluff more, especially if you have high cards after the flop, just continue to bet.
After you see the flop, you find that you have a poker hand with some value that could help you hit the nuts, a flush or so on. It will allow you to continue to be aggressive on the back two streets. Then this could be an excellent semi-bluffing opportunity for you. In this case, you could simply raise.
Try this trick once in a while, and you may not even need to showdown to win the pot. Very few aggressive players in the preflop have formed strong hands on the flop.
It’s basically known to all that if you have strong draw, you need to bet. But when you’ve raised then, it is much better to re-raise than to call. By choosing to 3-bet here will still cause many opponents to fold and win you a very optimistic outcome.
Many players who get the super draws often try to be gentle and keep more opponents in the pot. This is actually not the wisest move, because when the odds are suitable for everyone and they all continue to play, in the end, they may form better hands than yours.
Another very useful poker bluffing strategy is to float the flop. Usually when you are in position and you believe that your cards are weaker than your opponent’s, you may use your position advantage to force your opponent to fold on the later streets in order to win the pot.
This technique is super practical for beginners, because most players at this level are not flexible enough with their poker strategy and they are relatively tight in their hand range on the turn. You want to float against your opponents who are tight-aggressive and make continuation bets frequently because once they are given chances, the opponents may regain the initiative in the following rounds. Calling their continuous bets can be used as a bluff to show the others that the pot will not be easily won and convince them to give up.
It might help you build on your profit in the middle and low-level games. But you would also want to have some outs in poker just in case your opponents do call you. At least you would have some odds of winning when it happens.
What if your first continuation bet failed on the flop? Another bluffing strategy you could use is the double barrel, which means you make a 2nd attempt at a continuation bet on the turn. Betting the turn on all scare cards can be really scary for your opponents, which works well at the lower stake games. Some tight players might even discard their strong pairs.
The next skills may be somewhat advanced. What if someone keeps betting on the flop and the turn? Raise it back. However, in order to do so, we would suggest that you use this technique when you have hands with a high value, for example, flush draw or straight draw. We talk about poker math in our previous post ("The Essential Guide to Poker Math") that the odds for every player on the table to hit a strong hand is equal and statistically, it is less likely for a player to form a really strong hand. At this point where your opponents have already double barreled you, they might be more conscious about their range. By raising the turn, you put more pressure on your opponents and they will probably fold unless they have the strongest hand. Make sure you observe how your opponents play in the game. For example, if you are an online player, pay attention to your opponent's WTSD% before using this technique. You don’t want to use it on someone who simply loves to call.
Moving on, a bluffling technique that you could use to put tremendous pressure on your opponent and likely lead them to make mistakes in Texas Holdem games is the turn check raise all in. It is an advanced technique in poker that requires you to know how to read people in the game. We have covered part of such skills in our previous post ("LEARN TO READ PLAYERS IN POKER"). Take a look if you have no clue how to do it and start practicing in your poker games. Again, you want to use this technique on players who are more conscious and tend to fold most of their weak or medium strength hands. They must be very timid opponents and able to fold a lot of non-nuts strong hands.
We’ve talked about floating in poker. If you call on the flop and the turn, then you fire the bullet on the river, this is called Double Float. Most of the experienced players in medium or even lower level games are capable of firing two bullets but when facing this kind of move, they will fold very easily. Hence, when your opponent checks on the river, it's a good time for you to use this technique.
On the river, if you find that you miss your draws, stay calm and try bluffing here. It might be a great opportunity to win a quite rewarding pot. But think about what your story on the table is first. What does your opponent think you have? Does the river card seem to be consistent with your story?
However, be careful to use this trick since everyone has a high probability of calling.
Consider also who you are playing against. Unless you have enough information to show that the opponent is particularly weak or he is not a calling station, it is not recommended that you use this trick.
Another advanced bluffing technique you might need is when your opponent makes a bet on the river, you raise him back. By making this move, they might be convinced that you have nuts. Remember to take into account who you are playing against. Try to use these on weak and more fearful players but control the frequency of you using them because when you use the techniques too often, the other players on the table will know that you are simply bluffing.
In general, one if the most practical strategy might be pretending to be a weak player who has very tight playing range. It is more difficult for your bluff to work when the others feel that you are playing a loose range. They will think that you are bluffing. You’d better make them feel that you only bet or raise with super hands.
From pre-flop to the river, you now have learned various bluffing strategies in Texas Holdem games. The key to improving your skill always lies in practicing. Learn to read people and accumulate information about how they play, then try bluffing when the moment is right. Have fun and enjoy your poker game!
#How to bluff in poker #Poker bluffing tips #Poker bluffing