The art of the bluff

Ask most people what poker, or for that matter, card games are all about, and most of them will tell you it’s all about bluffing. The trouble with bluffing though is that it is very difficult to repeatedly pull off and it is high risk.

On the other hand ask any poker player or those looking at Blackberry casinos what creates the biggest adrenaline rush at the tables and most, if not all will reply with an anecdote about how they managed to pull off a huge bluff. There is more to the bluff than first meets the eye though. It is almost never a random play forced through out of a macho sense of bravado (these bluffs tend to be the unsuccessful ones).

A bluff, when done properly, is actually not as risky as most people would assume. There are factors which you can use to your advantage to increase the chances of your bluff being successful.

To state the obvious, the best time to bluff is when you believe the entire table has weak hands. Position is important when considering a bluff. If you are under the gun (first to act after the blinds) then it is generally not considered a good move to bluff.

There are too many players who are yet to act; therefore you have no information on them. Therefore a later position will more often be a better one to try a bluff. But be warned; as this is common poker strategy, players may see straight through your play and your bluff might be snuffed out.

The style of the players on your table should factor into your attempted bluff. A tight player who has played a small number of pots will be easier to bluff than a player who is loose and free with his chips. But if you attempt a bluff on a tighter player and they come back at you with a re-raise, you can be fairly sure that they have you beat. Or that they are good enough to have picked up on your bluff.

For a bluff to be successful, you need to have picked up a good read on your opponent’s range of hands. If you have no idea what you are facing, a bluff is virtually impossible, but if you are confident that you can narrow down your opponent’s hand then you are in with a shot.


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