If there is one thing that the general public knows about pragmatic play, it probably is bluffing. Even the uninitiated has heard tales of great bluffing feats to win a game – how a poker player keeps his emotions in total control, without showing any hint in his body language and in his face. Where do you think the widely used expression “poker face” comes from?
Yet stop a moment and ask yourself, what do you know about bluffing? Aside from the general idea of misrepresenting yourself (or your hand for that matter), what do you really know about bluffing? What is presented in TV and movies can be quite misleading, actually. Because bluffing is exciting, it is what’s usually shown. As a result, there are those who think that bluffing can be done any time, all the time, with positive results. They couldn’t be more mistaken.
One of the most important things to remember about bluffing is this. In order for bluffing to be effective, it must be done on specific occasions and used sparingly. Thus you should know how to identify certain situations wherein you can use the bluff or not.
Knowing how your opponent plays is vital to bluffing. If you are familiar with your opponent’s strategy, then you have better chances of predicting how he makes his moves and thus you can bluff your way around him. Again, focus and observation is very important for you to figure out your opponent’s strategy.
A good time to bluff would be when the cards as such that “someone” probably has a good hand. An example would be if there are 3 suited cards on the board. Someone in the table might have a flush. If you bluff and pretend (by betting) that you have a flush, they will likely fall for your bluff.
Another good time to bluff would be when you are playing against someone who seems like he wants to quit already. The thing to do here would be to bet really big and bluff that you have a really good hand. That would give them the chance to remove themselves from the game, as they were looking to quit in the first place.
Is it a good idea to bluff right after your first bluff? A lot really depends on different factors but the chances of someone calling your second successive bluff are quite high actually. So if you find yourself with a good hand after a bluff, use it to your advantage. Of course, if you don’t have anything, then you’re dead.
Again, I cannot emphasize enough the need to use bluffing sparingly. The death of poker players can usually be blamed on their being too predictable. Other players around the table figure out their playing pattern and go for the kill. If you use bluffing regularly, it will not work. Instead, the other players will use it against you. You will get hit hard and see your stack of chips dwindling right in front of your very eyes.