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Poker Guide Part 5: The art of bluffing!

Now, now! If you’ve jumped ahead of the game and neglected the rest of the guide you’re only cheating yourself. Head back to the start and play fair!

Beginner tactics to improve your play!

At his point in the guide you should know the best hands to start with, the hands to aim for and finally and the types of player you need to look out for.

It’s now time to learn some tactics!

The first thing you’re going to learn is the art of bluffing!

Bluffing is rather easy to spot after a while! Do it a few too many times and you’ll end up giving away your game. Remember, use the techniques below sparingly and when you see fit!

How do you bluff online poker players?

Well, let’s get one thing clear – there’s very little bluffing in actual poker.

Sure, you’ll often see it movies such as Rounders and the occasional James Bond flick, but that’s all for the cameras.

Stay up late one night and watch the WSOP and you’ll easily see what I’m talking about. Bluffing is just as likely to occur as, say, England winning the World Cup.

Most newbies to the poker circuit think their opponent are as gullible as a young child believing in Santa Clause.

Well, unfortunately, that’s just not the case. Just as people rarely get a royal flush; bluffing is an incredibly rare way to win indeed and you’ll be caught out quickly.

So, instead of just throwing a million dollars down in one go and hoping for the best, let’s take a look at the three most common ways to bluff!

Common bluffing techniques:

The below are common bluffing techniques:

Stone-cold bluffing (Low Risk)
Semi-bluffing (Medium Risk)
Quick bluffing (High Risk)

Quick bluffing!

The most popular kind of bluffing in Texas Hold’em poker is quick bluffing.

Quick-bluffs are small bets with the intention to win small to medium sized pots.

The temptation here is that the risk of blowing you stack is low with a smaller reward in the long run.

Let’s take a look at an example:

Two players have checked (remember, nobody bets when checking) after K-6-4 has flopped and the betting is down to you.

Before you place your bet, think, why would two players check?

Well, there are two reasons why this might be the case:

Slow playingSomeone has a king and they’re hoping for you to call so they can instantly raise you.

Drop-outs: Nobody has a king and everybody is ready to drop out. They just need that final push!

If it’s the first scenario then you need to fold if they raise you, as the more than likely have a decent hand.

If it’s the second scenario and nobody holds a good hand, there’s a good chance your opponents will drop out and you’ll end up bagging the pot without anybody challenging you. That’s the plan when it comes to quick-bluffing; get everybody out of the hand!

Quick-bluffing is sometimes referred to as ‘small balling.’ Don’t be confused, they’re essentially the same thing!

Semi-bluffing

You’ve raised pre-flop with A-K suited, but unfortunately things haven’t gone your way!

On the table lies J-10-5, and quite frankly you have nothing of value apart from the fact that you could potentially land a straight.

Now, there’s a good chance that you could bluff you way through this and pretend you have a straight, or you could fold.

Of course, it all depends on your position on the table. If you’re first to bet you can set the precedent, but run the risk of someone following you with a good hand.

If you’re last and everybody has checked, you’re in the powerful position to place a grand bet to see if anyone follows.

Again, if they have a good hand there’s a good they’ll raise anyway.

This is the reason semi-bluffing is much more riskier tactic. You could potentially land that straight and bag the whole pot if someone follows. Then again, you might not!

Stone-cold bluffing

No, it’s not named after Stone Cold Steve Austin, although it probably should be because it’s just as reckless. Stone-cold bluffing is where a player chucks the majority of their chips down, or even goes all in, when they have absolutely nothing.

Loose aggressive players generally do this when they get a little bored. If you’ve spotted one beforehand and they go all in when you’ve got a great hand, then follow them as it’s likely they’re bluffing.

If you’re the one doing the manic bluffing. Well, you deserve to lose.

Basically, do not do this. Ever. It’s simply not worth it!

Just to make it perfectly clear: Stone-cold bluffing is an absolute no-go in the world of poker!techniques below sparingly and when you see fit!

That’s pretty much everything you need to know about bluffing! Remember, bluff when you have the advantage and for the chips on the table, not for the chips you could get! If someone follows you in, there’s a good chance that they’ll beat you!

>> Next: Part 6 – Check raising