When playing poker, it is important to develop game strategies that increase your chances of winning.

In fact, when you play cards, you can not just rely on your luck or some innate talent. These two elements need a little boost that can only come from you and your study.

You must learn poker strategy to increase your chances of winning, first and foremost, you should learn the most popular of all poker strategies: the bluff.

The Principle of Bluffing

Even if the bluff does not really need a precise definition, we would like to review its first and main meaning.

Bluffing is a playing strategy, widely used in poker, the purpose of which is to lead one's opponent to believe that the strength of a player's hand is different to what it actually is, that is to say that they have a different hand than the one they have in reality. The goal is to make opponents "fold" so that you can win the game without even having to show down the best hand.

The bluff may be psychological: it turns on one main point, that the irrational way of playing will induce opponents to make errors of judgement and push them to make a mistake. The slow play, which is part of psychological bluffing strategy, aims to make an opponent believe that a player's hand is weaker than the one they actually have.

The bluff may be rational: in this case, it is not a single, specific move, a piece of play-acting, but the play of a whole hand. This bluff keeps opponents in the dark, preventing them from reading your game because you have used plays which do not allow analysis.

Bluffing in Texas Hold'em

When you play Texas Hold'em for example, there are three main variants of the bluff:

  • The semi-bluff: the semi-bluff is used when there you do not have a great hand, but do have a good opportunity to make one. Then you must bet big for your opponents fold.
  • The total bluff or bluff is a risky technique in which a player represents a very good hand in order to make opponents fold and win the game. Unlike the semi-bluff, there is no possibility of improvement and the bluffer can only win if they can persuade their opponents to fold. This type of bluff requires consistency throughout the play of the hand and requires a mastery of oneself.
  • Slowplaying: as we have seen before, the slow play is a reverse bluff to make the enemy believe that we have a weak hand when actually we have exactly the opposite. Therefore your opponent will believe that they have the power and will continue to raise their hand (or their bluff) until you reraise over them and win the hand.

The practice of bluffing

It is important to master the art of bluffing and to understand that this is a strategy that takes work and technique.

Do not keep bluffing all the time and remember that it is also important to know how to balance your bluffs. When a player bluffs too often it is quickly exposed, so you have to wait for the right time and do not overdo it.

In addition, the position you hold in the game is crucial to correct bluffing strategy. Bluffing is optimal when there are many more players in contention and you are last to act after the small and the big blind is the time to try to reach a stimulus to the blinds.

The bluff on your part requires a lot of attention and analysis of the game and the players, the players create a profile lets you know if the bluff may be effective on them (do not bluff against an aggressive player, you follow up at the end and you do not necessarily earn it).

You must be responsive and you must keep asking the right questions. The bluff is a playing technique, a strategy that is learned and can improve with each hand you play, experience will help you develop your strategy and understand how to deploy the bluff.