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Poker Tips - Bluffing When Playing Texas Hold'em
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Poker Hints - Bluffing When Playing Texas Hold'em Poker

Bluffing is one the most famous of all poker concepts. A bluff is bet or raise when you have an unlikely chance of winning the pot in case you call. E.g.: you have 6 of diamonds 5 of diamonds with a Q of diamonds T of diamonds 8 of hearts A of spades board. A 2 of hearts falls on the river and you bet. This is a bluff, because you NO CHANCE to win the pot, should someone call. There is also a notion of a semi-bluff: to bet or raise when you don't have the best hand, but nevertheless you have chance to improve it to the best one.

In general, bluffing is profitable when your pot odds are better than the odds in case the other players fold. E.g., when you calculate the chance of your opponents folding is more than 20%, a 2 $ bet is profitable if the pot is more than 8 $. So, the most important in successful bluffing is to calculate the chances that your opponents will fold.

We recommend you to mind the following aspects when deciding to bluffing or not:

  • Number of the opponents: The more opponents, the less are your chances to bluff successfully. Bluffs against more than three opponents are, as a rule, of no use.
  • Type of opponents: it is easier to use bluffing against experienced players, than maniac or week ones. That is because strong players can fold hands of medium value, and week players tend to call even when their hands are week, so I is hard to get them fold.
  • How large the pot is. The greater the pot - the harder to bluff. But, on the other hand, success in bluffing with a large pot can be more profitable.
  • Table image: if you are known to bluff often, or were "caught" bluffing recently, it will be hard for you to bluff. Also, if your opponents are rather "tight" players (bet and raise only with strong hands), it is easier to bluff. "Loose" (often bluffing) players, as a rule, won't give you such a possibility
  • Opponents hands: if you can tell from the way your opponents bet or raise how strong you? opponents' hands are, you can derive from the calculation their chances to fold as well. Remember, that you may not be the only person bluffing!
  • Position: you can sometimes use your position to identify good bluffing opportunities. E.g. a wildly used bluffing opportunity it to bet in last position when everyone has checked. Another bluffing opportunity is to bet out from the blinds when all rags, cards lower than a 9, or small pair flops.
  • Early or late betting rounds?: bluffing is more difficult on the river than on the earlier rounds of betting (though you will have a larger reward in the latter case).
  • Type of flop/Board: those flops or boards, which create a great possibility for having a strong hand, represent a considerable impediment to bluffs.


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