The Bluff

One of the most sophisticated forms of illusion in poker is for sure the bluff, that is making your opponents believe that your cards are different from what they really are.

The bluff is probably one of the most popular strategy-moves in poker. Every rookie knows that you’re supposed to bluff your opponents, and that making someone fold the better hand is the ultimate victory at the green felt. This is exactly why you’ll find beginners bluffing left and right and being caught red-handed time and time again by the good players. Yes, the bluff is definitely a move that should be part of your poker weapons arsenal, but you should know this about it: the bluff can be a very efficient weapon, but it is extremely volatile, and if you don’t know how to handle it, it will blow up in your face. First of all, you need to know some basics facts about the bluff: there are two types of it, the pure bluff and the semi-bluff. The pure bluff is done on rags basically (you don’t have a hand and you do not even stand a realistic chance to hit a good hand). The pure bluff only offers you one possibility to win the pot: by making your opponent fold. The semi-bluff is a different breed, because unlike the pure bluff, it offers you two ways to win the pot: by making your opponent fold or by hitting your hand. Obviously, semi-bluffs are not made on rags. You need a nice drawing hand to fire out a semi bluff. Semi bluffs are extremely frequent in poker, and the 4-card flush on the flop is the most common example. Every preflop raise however is also a semi-bluff, and you may have semi-bluffed already without knowing that you were actually doing that.

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Timing a Bluff

Author: Jeff Walding

The best time to bluff in poker is when you think your opponent will fold. How do you know your opponent will fold? Easy, it’s called practice. The more you practice the better at guessing when the best time to bluff will be. One of the places I like to practice is at Ultimate Bet. Reading poker books will also help you to understand the game, and where bluffs can be successfully executed. Here are a few situations when it is more likely to run a successful bluff:

If you have a drawing hand and only needing one card to make your hand. You can make what is called a semi-bluff. It’s called a semi-bluff because you only need a card to make your hand and win the pot and if you have the best hand already it’s not a bluff. If you bluff it correctly and your opponent folds then you will just take the pot there. If you do get called you still may win the hand on the next card and it helps to build the pot. If you get re-raised you may be up against a pretty good hand so I would fold unless i’m getting the right pot odds.

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