Bluffing is the one thing that elevates poker from a game of chance to a game of skill. Bluffing is an important aspect of the game of poker and knowing how to make a successful bluff is a must for anyone wishing to become a good poker player.
Players bluff when they are dealt a bad hand and either don’t want to fold or think that a successful bluff can be made. When you bluff you raise the pot and hope that the other players at the table think that you’re hand is a very good one and they can’t win so they should fold. When no one at the table is exhibiting signs that they have a good hand by raising the pot, the time may be ripe to attempt a bluff to try to ‘steal the pot’.
With a larger number of players at the table the ability to bluff becomes more difficult as it’s not wise to bluff unless you feel confident that you can convince all of the rest of the players to fold. When there are more players at the table there is less chance that all of them will fold and the chance that someone at your table may be setting a trap by slow playing a good hand increases.
When playing at a casino bluffing becomes much more difficult because the other players at your table can see you and attempt to read your body language. Many players give off ‘tells’ (little gestures or expressions) that give observant players a clue to the strength or weakness of their hand. However, all good players know about tells and are good keeping a ‘poker face’ or even faking tells to confuse other players by sending a tell signal that doesn’t agree with the hand they actually have. This ability to fake their body language can be used to make other players think that they have a great hand when they are actually bluffing.
On-line players don’t get to play with their opponents face-to-face and this makes it a little more difficult to bluff because of the lack of physical tells to observe. However, there is such a thing as ‘on-line tells’ actions such how fast a player calls a bet or the speed with which a raise is made, combined with small observations that come through depending on the site you play at.
Every hand dealt to you doesn’t have to be played and you can’t always win hands especially by constantly bluffing. In poker when you are dealt a bad hand often the best thing you can do is to fold the hand. All poker players sooner or later when attempting a bluff get caught out, when it happens to you try to use it to your advantage by continuing to ‘act’ in the same manner as when you were bluffing when you have locked in a winning hand. If you are successful you can keep people calling, or trying to put you out by raising what they assume is a bluff.