Bluffing is a major tool when it comes to playing on-line poker. In this article we will cover this useful tool as long as it concerns one of the most popular and fascinating poker games; Texas Hold’Em.
What is Bluffing?
When you bluff you act like you are holding a very strong hand, a hand with a very good connection to the board whereas the reality is that your hand is very weak and totally unrelated to the board. Bluffing is a good technique that can used in order to add more chips to your bankroll but it is also quite dangerous as long as it concerns your image and your chips. Therefore it is essential that you use bluffing under certain conditions and at the right time.
What are the conditions?
Bluffing should be used with fewer opponents as possible.
For example if you are in a Heads-Up game or if you sit at a table with six players and the four out of the six players fold Pre-Flop or even after the Flop then you are left with one opponent and it is far easier to control him and to predict from his actions if he holds a good hand or not. This is also related with your position at the table. For example if you act after him and he checks instead of making a raise then you have the advantage of bluffing him. But if you act first then you are a taking a risk because you don’t know what his reaction will be. So the best position for bluffing is the dealer position because the dealer acts last and the best conditions to do it is when you are left in a heads-up game.
When is the best moment to Bluff?
As far as it concerns Texas Hold’Em the best moment to bluff is after the Flop and when you act last. For example if the Flop opens and all the unfolded players check then it is your opportunity to bluff.
Why? You may ask. Why shouldn’t I wait for the Turn where some of the players will most likely fold? The answer is simple because when you are bluffing you want to eliminate your opponents as fast as possible. You should not give them the opportunity to chase their draws and improve their hand. Instead of giving them the chance to build a relation to the board so you should provide them with an excuse to fold their cards. And here comes another vital point of bluffing the money that you should put into the pot.
The Money you should be willing to Risk
If you decide to Bluff you should be willing to risk some money in order to make more. If your bet is small it will not be considered as a threat and most players will continue to chase their draws. How much money you should bet depends on two factors; your bankroll against your opponents’ bankroll. For example you sit at a six-seated table and after the Flop ideally you are left with one opponent. Your opponent acts first and checks. You want to bluff him. So you are with 20.000 chips and he is with 10.000 chips. The pot has 1.000 chips. If you raise another 1.000 chips he may feel reluctant to follow but on the other hand if he is chasing some draws he may decide to risk it. But if you raise 5.000 chips where the pot is 1.000 your opponent will definitely have second thoughts on that matter. Ideally you should make it sound and feel irrational for him to follow. As you can understand from the example given above there is no sense in bluffing in tables with small limits where your bets will have no value.
Bluffing is better used in No Limit Texas Hold’Em games where you can freely take risks.
One last piece of advice about bluffing is that you should be aware of the others players image at the table as this can help you estimate their acts. A loose-passive (the fish) player is better to be left alone since he can follow you even if your bets are high enough. The same goes for loose-aggressive players that loving bluffing and are likely to challenge you. Tight players are ideally the ones you are looking for to meet at the poker table and especially tight-aggressive ones since they will make a high raise once they achieve a good connection to the board. Since their actions are predictable, it is far easier to bluff them when they will hold a more weak hand and they will show it by checking.