Bluffing is one of my favorite things to do. I sometimes make it a significant part of my playing style based on how people play at my table. This is how I keep my opponents guessing what hands I am playing and how I play them. I realized I could bluff easily when people noticed I was a tight player. Often I would wait for good hands, play them tightly (over betting to get rid of draws) and when my opponents fold I’d sometimes show my hand (if it was a quality hand) casually during a conversation with them. This makes them think I only play quality hands and then i’ll switch up and play a random hand (A-X or K-X suited) just like I would play A-K or K-Q.
After a bluff, regardless of the circumstance I show the hand. I always do this because it adds a high additional pay off in the future against certain players. An example of this type of play was during a World Series Main Event style tournament in Tropicana over this past summer.
It was early in the tournament and I wasnt getting many hands. So I picked up A-7 suited and was in the small blind. The button raised before me and I re-raised. The big blind and button both folded and I showed my hand. The person on the button told me he folded A-10. The next hand I pick up A-J on the button and I raised pre flop. The small blind folded and the big blind called. The flop came a King and two low cards and I bet enough to practically put myself all in and he folded. I showed my hand again to set up for future hands.
At this point the table thinks I play A-X suited aggressively and A-J really aggressive. So my third hand I get pocket Queens. I played this hand just like I played my A-7 suited. Someone raised the pot pre-flop and I re-raised all in. It came back to him and he sat for awhile and said that he thought I was bluffing again and that he was atleast a coin flip. When he said that I figured he had like King high, maybe A-10, but in either case I was pretty sure he was dominated. He ends up calling my all in (Which was a significant over bet, 11,000 dollars into a 3,000 dollar pot, but this was the same over bet with my A-J so to speak), with King Queen off suit. Needless to say I have him dominated, basically a 3:1 favorite going into the flop. Sadly, my odds don’t hold up and I lose to a king on the turn.
This demonstrates that by showing bluffs you can give people false images of your table play. They weren’t insane bluffs betting out with A-J and A-7 suited, but they were good enough to show that I would play flops and pre flops aggressively. If you can convince people you do this with a lot of hands, then they might be more willing to pay you off when you have a monster pre flop or on the flop. I believe that if I didn’t show my bluffs or actually bluff those hands, he wouldnt have called any re-raise pre flop being afraid of A-Q or A-K, but because he saw I played weak hands aggressively, he convinced himself that his K-Q was a coin flip situation.
Hope this helps!