Poker Bluffing – Do you Know Why It’s Not So Effective Online?
Author: Sacha Tarkovsky
There are significant differences between poker bluffing in a live game and online.
In fact, bluffing is much more effective offline due to the environment the game is played in.
A bluff can be defined simply as a bet or raise made with a hand that has no real chance of winning.
The purpose of course, is to win a pot when your hand is not strong enough to do so on it’s own. You are really trying to deceive your opponent you have a good hand when in reality you have junk.
Bluffing tends to be more effective in real games than online.
One of the biggest mistakes of online poker players is their eagerness to bluff too often.
Fact: Players tend to bluff more in online games.
In live games, bluffing needs a calm emotionless exterior and a willingness to look stupid in public if the bluff fails. On the other hand, online players do not have to face other players and can hide.
Many novice players in particular love the thrill of the bluff.
After all they have seen it in all the big movies and James Bond do it, so they want to try it out!
They therefore have more inclination and courage and bluff more often, than an experienced player.
It’s easier to place your chips
The internet makes it easier to commit chips to try a bluff.
If a player wants to bluff, he simply clicks the mouse and it’s done.
It’s not so simple in a live game, where a player has to move their chips under the watchful gaze of other players.
Many players online therefore commit “virtual” chips for bluffing easier than they would in a live game.
Players may not spot your bluff at all
Because players are in a virtual world, they may simply not see you bluffing at all.
Many players play multiple games, tend to be easily distracted as their not sat at a table (i.e they can be doing other things) and of course, they don’t see your face.
Finally, online games can have a higher turnover of players who know nothing about how you are playing the game.
The fact that online players are more likely to call your bluff affects your bluffing strategy online in two ways:
1. You can be more aggressive with good or even average hands, because there is a good chance that your opponent could be bluffing and you can use strong hands to wipe them out.
2. Your personal strategy should be to bluff less online than you would in a live game. Other opponents realize that there is more bluffing online and as consequence (and the fact they feel braver) are more inclined to call your bluffs.
This leads to an obvious conclusion in terms of games to play: online.
Avoid Low Limit Games.
For an extra dollar or two, there is someone who will want to call you as the risk is low.
Players on low limit tables also tend to stay in if they have caught even a piece of the flop such as a lowish pair. Trying to bluff here won’t work as they will call up to the river.
Focus on limit games
Bluffing works better in no limit games simply because there is more at stake and the size of your bankroll in relation to your opponents is more important.
While we know bluffing is more difficult online than in a live game, the above two factors make bluffing an effective strategy for experienced players, providing it is used wisely.
Poker psychology comes into play much more and with bigger pots.
Players tend to consider their options more and will tend to be more focused on the game and less inclined to keep calling your bluff for any reason, simply because it doesn’t cost them much.
Stick to no limit games and bluff sparingly only when the circumstances are right.
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